Import Car Insurance

Find out more about car insurance for imported vehicles and compare your options today.

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, updated on February 15th, 2024       

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Car Insurance Banner - Older man polishing the front of his classic convertible car.

If you own an imported car in Australia, you may be wondering what type of insurance you need to protect your vehicle. Cover for an imported car can be more complicated than regular car insurance, as it may require special coverage for specific components or modifications to the vehicle.

It's important to find an insurer that offers car insurance for imports and understands your unique needs as an owner. You can compare your options online to see whether you can secure the cover you’re looking for. 

What is an imported car for insurance purposes in Australia?

While the vast majority of cars in Australia today have been built and imported overseas by their manufacturer, an imported vehicle for insurance purposes is one which is purchased from a seller based in another country and shipped to Australia specifically for the buyer. Because of the nature of their importation into the country, these vehicles typically have their own specific needs when it comes to car insurance.

How does car insurance for imported vehicles work?

If you're looking to insure an imported vehicle in Australia, such as one bought in Japan, you may find that it can be a bit more difficult and expensive than insuring a locally manufactured car. This is because imported cars often have different specifications and may not meet Australian safety standards.

To get car insurance for an imported vehicle, you’ll need to provide details about the car's make, model and year, as well as any modifications which have been made to meet Australian requirements. Insurers will typically assess the risk associated with insuring the vehicle based on factors like its age, performance capabilities, and safety features.

It's important to note that not all insurers offer coverage for imported vehicles, so you may need to shop around to find a provider which is willing to insure your car. In many cases, this may be a specialist insurer, but some standard car insurers may also be able to offer protection for imported vehicles.

To help you find the best deal, it's a good idea to compare quotes from different insurers and consider factors like the cost, excess and optional extras offered by each policy. 

How much does car insurance for an imported vehicle cost in Australia?

There are many factors which go into calculating the cost of car insurance for your imported vehicle. These include:

  • Car value: the value of your imported car will have a significant impact on your insurance premium, as more expensive cars and performance models generally cost more to repair or replace in the event of an accident.
  • Age of the car: the age of the imported car will also affect the cost of insurance, as older vehicles may require more maintenance or may not have the same safety features as newer models. However, newer models may be more expensive to repair, so it depends on your vehicle and insurer how its age impacts your premiums.
  • Modifications and customisations: import car owners often make modifications or customise their vehicles, such as adding aftermarket parts, upgrading the engine or simply updating them to meet Australian road safety standards. These changes can increase the car's value, which can raise the insurance premium.
  • Repair costs: the cost of repairs for an imported vehicle can be more expensive compared to local models, as finding the necessary parts and skilled mechanics may be more difficult. This can lead to higher insurance premiums to cover the increased cost of repairs.
  • Insurance history: your previous insurance history and driving record will also be considered when determining the cost of your car insurance. A history of previous accidents or claims can result in higher premiums.
  • Coverage options: because there are fewer options to choose from for imported car insurance, you may have to pay more based on the limited standard or specialist insurers who may be able to offer the cover you’re looking for.
  • Insurance excess: the excess selected, or the amount the policyholder pays out of pocket in the event of a claim, can affect the insurance premium. Higher excesses can lower the premium but may result in higher out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a claim.
  • Driving experience: your age and experience can also impact the cost of insurance. Younger or less experienced drivers may face higher premiums.
  • Usage of the car: the frequency and amount of car usage will also impact the cost of insurance. Cars that are driven more often or for longer distances may be at a higher risk of accidents or damage, resulting in higher premiums. Additionally, the location of where the car is driven (such as whether you’re in Perth or rural WA) and parked can also be a factor in the insurance premium.

Types of car insurance you can choose from

Top tips for comparing import car insurance

Look for insurers that offer the cover you need

When comparing import car insurance, it’s important to look for insurers which are able to offer the cover you need. Some insurers may offer more comprehensive and appropriate cover for imported cars than others, so it is important to review the policy details to ensure you have the necessary coverage.

Compare policy premiums

Another important factor to consider when comparing car insurance is policy premiums. The cost of insurance can vary greatly between insurers, so it’s important to obtain quotes from multiple providers to compare prices and pick out the most affordable deal which offers the coverage you’re looking for with more confidence.

Consider modification limits

If you’ve modified your imported car, it’s important to consider whether there are any limits on the policies you’re comparing. Some insurers may not cover certain modifications, while others may have strict limits on the amount of coverage available for modifications. This can help you pick out suitable cover.

Get a range of quotes

Comparing car insurance quotes will give you an idea of the cover available for your imported car and help you more accurately determine which is the best suited for your needs before you buy your policy.

Frequently asked questions about import car insurance

What is a grey import in car insurance?

A grey import refers to a vehicle which is imported from another country legally but not through a manufacturer’s official supply channels. Many such imports are from Japanese manufacturers. Not all specialist insurers will cover grey imports, so if you’re looking to insure one, it’s important to consider your options carefully.

Can I get insurance for a classic car?

You may be able to get insurance for a classic car. Depending on the age and condition of the car, you may need to take out specialised classic car insurance. The definition of what a classic car is can vary between insurers, with some setting this at 15 years old while others raising it to 30. 

Will I be able to cover my imported car if I don’t drive it?

You may still be able to cover your imported car even if you don’t drive it and store it in a garage or safe location. Comprehensive car insurance can cover your car while it’s stored or parked, protecting it from theft, fire and other covered types of damage.

What types of car insurance can I take out for an imported car?

You can take out the same types of car insurance for an imported car as you would for an Australian-made car, including comprehensive, third party fire and theft and third party property damage. However, many specialist insurers will only offer comprehensive cover for a high-value import car.

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