Japanese Import Car Insurance

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How to insure your imported Japanese car

Imported car insurance relates to a used car that has been individually imported from Japan, USA or Europe without going through the established main dealer network and therefore not ordinarily available in the UK - this is often referred to as a 'grey import'; a personal import car is a new or used car or bike that usually is available in the UK but has been individually imported from overseas without going through the typical manufacturer's import process. Because of the unusual nature of these imported vehicles, most insurance companies are unable or unwilling to provide insurance for imported cars.

Fortunately, QuoteRack enables owners of 'grey' or personal import cars to get specialist Japanese import car insurance quotes for their imported vehicle insurance from brokers who understand each insurance companies particular requirements when it comes to insuring this type of imported car.

What are 'grey imports'?

Grey imports are cars that come from outside of the EU, much like most imports. Grey imports are often a different spec from standard vehicles built to UK safety regulations, often manufactured in Japan or the US. Many grey imports will require adjustments to ensure they align with UK safety standards. Holding sufficient grey import car insurance is crucial to protecting your car in the event of an accident or theft.

Why use Japanese import car insurance?

Japanese import cars will often come with more modifications than a standard vehicle, including body kits, spoilers, modified bumpers, engine tunes, or exhaust changes. Heavily modified cars are more expensive to insure for various reasons, such as:

  • Theft: Modified cars are at a higher risk of theft
  • Accidents: Due to the increased performance, you are at a higher risk of an accident
  • Value: Modifications will often increase the overall value of the car. For cars worth over £50,000, please visit our high-value car insurance page.
  • Parts: Because imported cars specification might differ from their UK equivalents, the availability of spare parts can be an issue, and an additional cost, for UK insurers.

Because of these changes, many standard insurers may not insure your imported vehicle. Specialist Japanese import insurance providers are well equipped to provide reasonable quotes for these cars.

What does Japanese import car insurance cover?

  • Comprehensive: This covers the driver, the car, its passengers, property, damage to third parties, vandalism and theft
  • Third-party, fire and theft: This covers third parties in the event of an accident, as well as fire or theft. It does not cover your vehicle in the event of an accident or vandalism.
  • Third party only: The most basic, cheapest and legal minimum level of cover in the UK. This covers third parties injury and damage to third party property.

Additional types of cover available

Additionally, you may opt to extend your insurance cover, usually for a slightly higher premium. Common insurance policy 'add-ons' include:

  • Breakdown cover: In the event your company car breaks down and needs recovering or repairing at the roadside
  • Lost car key cover: To cover the cost of replacing your car keys if they are lost or stolen
  • Courtesy car: A replacement vehicle so you’re not left stranded in the event of repairs to your company car, following an accident
  • Windscreen cover: Usually included in comprehensive car insurance, cover can often be purchased for TPF&T policies, to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your car windscreen
  • No claims bonus protection: In the event of an at-fault claim, your no claims discount would not be lost or reduced

What does import car insurance not cover?

Common events not included with Japanese import car insurance policies include:

  • Others driving your car, unless also named and insured on the vehicle
  • Regular repairs and routine maintenance
  • Any damage or claim covered under the excess applicable, if any, to your insurance policy

Please check with your Japanese import car insurance provider what they can and can’t cover.

Left hand drive vehicles

Although it is legal to drive imported left-hand drive (LHD) cars in the UK, some insurance providers will not cover this. Please refer to our left hand drive car insurance category for further details and to obtain a quotation.

Parallel import car insurance

Parallel imports are cars imported from EU countries. These typically won’t cost much more to insure than models bought here in the UK as these cars will already meet UK safety standards.

Frequently asked questions

How much is Japanese import car insurance?

As with any insurance policy, this depends on your individual case. Your details will have a part to play in your insurance quote, such as your age, location, where you leave your car during day and night and your driving experience, as well as the actual value of the vehicle.

There are, however, some ways in which you can reduce your imported car insurance quote:

  • Garage your car overnight
  • Choose a Japanese import car with fewer modifications
  • Pay your car insurance premium annually rather than on instalments
  • Adding an experienced, older second driver to the policy
  • Restrict your annual mileage
  • Restrict the use and number of drivers of the vehicle
  • Increase your insurance policy excess
  • Consider a telematics insurance policy, requiring the installation of a black box recorder that monitors how you drive
  • Install a tracking device in your car
  • Install a Thatcham-approved alarm and/or immobiliser in your car

How do I import a Japanese car to the UK?

There are specialist car importers who make all necessary import arrangements, including liaising with the exporters in the car's country of origin and who deal with the relevant HMRC VAT and car import duty, plus import and DVLA paperwork.

While most people buy their imported car from such companies that specialise in importing cars from Japan or elsewhere, importing a car in to the UK yourself is relatively straightforward. However, there are fees to be paid and other overheads, such as changes to the car's specification to ensure compliance with UK safety standards.

If you wish to import your car yourself, the steps include:

  • Inform HMRC: Let them know the car is coming within 14 days of its arrival
  • Pay any taxes: You will often need to pay VAT, import duties or customs fees
  • Get your vehicle type-approved: To show it complies with UK regulations
  • Register the car with DVLA: To obtain the relevant documentation and to get the car taxed
  • Find appropriate insurance: Through QuoteRack's approved insurance brokers

How can QuoteRack help?

QuoteRack works closely with insurance brokers who can offer you access to specialised schemes offered by niche insurance companies looking to provide Japanese import car insurance.

Enquire through us for Japanese import car insurance

If you own an imported car and you are looking to insure it, QuoteRack's specialist insurance brokers will help you - just hit the 'Get a Quote' link to complete your details online.

Important update for owners of Japanese imported cars

Details of the new scheme introduced by VOSA called the 'Individual Vehicle Approval Scheme' - is now available to download.


"My Subaru RSK is one of very few in the UK - and a QuoteRack broker still got me a Japanese import car insurance quote less than my previous car."

"I saved a lot of money personally importing my Toyota and despite what everyone says, the main dealers will service it. The car insurance was sorted out easily, even though it's a parallel import you wouldn't know it was anything other than a normal car insurance policy."

Japanese Import Car Insurance