Insuring an imported car in the UK
A question you're asked when looking for car insurance is, “is your car imported?” But how do you define an imported car, and how does it affect your premium?
The most basic definition of an imported car is one built in a different country for a non UK market. Imports are then divided into two further categories: parallel imports and grey imports. Parallel imports are built in EU countries to EU standards. Grey imports are cars built for non-EU countries.
Parallel imports, and cars built for the UK, meet standards set by the European Whole Vehicle Type Approval. This sets minimum standards for things like emissions, steering, crash protection, lighting, and brakes. Whether you buy your car from Germany, Spain or the UK, it will meet the same safety standards. A Fiat bought directly from Italy and built for the Italian market would have the same components, safety and manufacturing standards as one built for the UK market. Extras like blue tooth, sunroofs and trim may be different, and the vehicle's warranty may be shorter than one from a UK dealer.
Grey imports come from outside the EU, often from Japan, and are not necessarily manufactured to European standards. They need a “Minister's Approval Certificate” for use on roads in the UK, showing they meet the requirements of the Single Vehicle Approval Scheme. The SVA ensures grey imports meet UK safety and environmental standards through testing and modifications. The Mazda Eunos, the Japanese version of the MX-5, is a popular grey import.