If you’re tempted by a classic Ford Mustang or a plush Lincoln Navigator SUV, the American car scene is certainly appealing for car enthusiasts.
- Can I Insure an American Car in the UK?
- Is it More Expensive to Insure American Cars?
- What Should I Consider When Looking for American Car Insurance?
- What’s a Laid-Up Policy for an American Car?
- Wedding Hire Cover
- How Can I Cut The Cost of American Car Insurance?
- Frequently asked questions
However, what does bringing an American car to the UK mean for your car insurance? This guide covers everything you need to understand about securing American car insurance.
Can I Insure an American Car in the UK?
Owning an American car in the UK, be it a lavish Cadillac or a mighty Mustang, is often a significant investment. Naturally, you’d want to safeguard your investment with a motor insurance policy that caters specifically to your distinctive car.
However, insuring an American car in the UK can be more challenging. Many mainstream insurance providers are hesitant to cover imported left-hand drive cars, especially those not originally designed for the UK market. These cars are often perceived as higher risk compared to standard UK cars, making insurance harder to find, but not impossible.
Aside from some mainstream insurers, there are numerous providers specialising in insurance for American cars. These specialists often understand the unique requirements and risks associated with these cars.
When selecting an insurance provider for your American car, be aware of potential age and driving experience limitations. For instance, you might need to be over 25 years old to qualify for insurance.
Additionally, requirements such as holding a driving licence for at least two years and possessing a minimum of one year’s no-claims bonus are common. These criteria might be stricter for particularly powerful American cars that fall into higher insurance groups.
Each insurer has its own set of criteria, so it’s important to keep this in mind while comparing quotes.
Moreover, if you’ve imported your American car, you might need to get it tested under the Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) scheme. This ensures your car complies with UK legal standards for road use.
Is it More Expensive to Insure American Cars?
Yes, insuring an American car in the UK often comes with a higher price tag compared to standard UK cars.
This is primarily due to the limited number of insurers willing to cover these unique cars, resulting in less competitive pricing.
There are several reasons why insurance for American cars tends to be more costly:
Size and Power: American cars are typically larger and more powerful than their UK counterparts, which can lead to higher insurance costs due to increased potential damage in accidents.
Cost of Parts: Replacement parts for American cars can be expensive, especially for classic models. These parts often need to be imported, increasing their cost and, consequently, the insurance premium.
Specialist Repairs: American cars might require specialist mechanics for repairs, adding to the overall insurance cost due to the specialised skills and parts needed.
Risk of Theft and Vandalism: American cars, being relatively rare in the UK, are at a higher risk of theft and vandalism. Their rarity makes them attractive targets, thereby increasing the perceived risk for insurers.
Additionally, the insurance group of the vehicle plays a significant role. American cars, especially performance or luxury models, often fall into higher insurance groups due to their value, performance capabilities, and cost of repairs. This further drives up insurance costs.
Moreover, if you modify your American car, this can also impact your insurance. Modifications, especially those that enhance performance or significantly alter the appearance, can increase insurance premiums as they may increase the risk of accidents or theft.
It’s important to shop around and compare car insurance quotes from different insurers, including those specialising in American cars, to find the most competitive rates that match your specific needs.
Be prepared to provide detailed information about your car, including make, model, age, any modifications, and intended use, to get the most accurate quote.
What Should I Consider When Looking for American Car Insurance?
When searching for the right insurance policy for your American car, it’s crucial to consider various factors to ensure you have comprehensive coverage. Like any car insurance, it should include protection against theft and damage.
You have options between fully comprehensive insurance, third party only, or third party, fire and theft cover. Each offers different levels of protection, so choose according to your needs and the level of risk you’re willing to accept.
Agreed Value Cover
This cover is particularly important for American cars, especially if you’ve invested significantly in restoration and maintenance. Here, you and your insurer agree upon your car’s valuation at the policy’s inception. This agreed amount is what you’ll receive if your car is written off or stolen.
Without this cover, you’d only get the market value, which might not reflect your car’s actual worth, considering its rarity and restoration expenses. With an agreed value, you’re more likely to replace your car with another of similar quality.
To establish this value, you’ll need to provide your insurer with detailed information and photographs of your car, and sometimes even a professional valuation.
Your Choice of Repairer
If you have a preferred garage or mechanic experienced with your American car, you might want assurance that they can handle any necessary repairs. Some insurers allow you to choose your repairer instead of using the insurer’s approved mechanic. This choice can be crucial for maintaining your car’s integrity and value.
Classic Car Rates
If your American car is a classic model, you might be eligible for a classic car insurance policy. Insurers often offer favourable rates for classic cars, recognising that they are usually well-maintained and driven less frequently, reducing the risk of accidents.
Modified Car Cover
If your American car has been modified or you plan to modify it, you’ll need to inform your insurer. Modifications can be anything from engine upgrades, suspension changes and seat replacements, to specialised paint jobs. Declaring these changes is essential for ensuring they are covered under your policy. Failure to do so can lead to issues in the event of a claim.
When insuring your American car, it’s vital to consider the specific needs and characteristics of your vehicle. This includes its value, any modifications, your preferred repair options, and whether it qualifies for classic car rates.
Thoroughly evaluating these aspects will help you find the most suitable and comprehensive insurance cover.
What’s a Laid-Up Policy for an American Car?
A laid-up policy is an ideal insurance option for your American car if you’re not using it on public roads for an extended period. This type of policy is particularly beneficial if you’re undertaking restoration work or if you prefer to store your car safely and only bring it out for specific occasions, such as car shows, exhibitions, or competitions.
Under a laid-up policy, your car is protected against various risks while it remains off the road. This includes coverage for:
Accidental Damage: If your car gets accidentally damaged while it’s stored, the policy will cover the repair costs.
Malicious Damage: Protection against vandalism or intentional harm to your car.
Fire and Theft: In the unfortunate event of a fire or if your car is stolen (or an attempt is made), the policy provides financial protection.
However, it’s important to note that a laid-up policy does not cover you for actually driving the car. This means you can’t use your car on public roads under this insurance. It’s purely designed for cars that are kept in storage and not in active use.
This type of policy can be more cost-effective than standard car insurance because it reflects the reduced risk associated with a car that is not being driven. However, you must ensure that your car is kept in a secure location, as the insurer will likely require this.
If you decide to start using your American car on the road again, you’ll need to switch to a standard car insurance policy. It’s crucial to inform your insurer about this change to ensure you’re legally covered for road use.
In summary, a laid-up policy is an excellent choice for American car owners who have their cars off the road for significant periods, especially during restoration or safekeeping for special events. It offers essential protection against a range of risks while reflecting the reduced usage of the vehicle.
Wedding Hire Cover
When you hire out your American car for weddings, it’s essential to have an extended car insurance cover known as ‘hire and reward’. This type of policy is specifically designed for vehicles used in a commercial capacity, like being hired out for special occasions such as weddings.
Key aspects of wedding hire cover include:
Hire and Reward Insurance: This covers you for the business aspect of hiring out your car. It’s different from standard personal car insurance as it acknowledges that your vehicle is being used for commercial purposes.
Public Liability Cover: Often included as standard in wedding hire policies, public liability insurance protects you in case of damage or injury claims made against you by third parties. For instance, if a wedding guest is injured while interacting with your car, this cover can help protect you financially.
Optional Extras: Depending on the insurer, you may have to add public liability cover as an extra. Other additional options might include coverage for damage to the vehicle while at the wedding venue, breakdown cover, and even cover for decorative elements used on the car during weddings.
It’s important to note that this type of insurance tends to be more expensive than standard car insurance due to the increased risks associated with transporting passengers for a fee and the public nature of the events. The value and unique features of American cars can further add to the cost.
When arranging wedding hire cover, be transparent with your insurer about how often the car will be used, the nature of its use, and any additional services you provide. This will ensure you get a policy that accurately reflects your needs and offers adequate protection.
How Can I Cut The Cost of American Car Insurance?
Insuring an American car in the UK generally costs more than a standard car insurance policy. However, several strategies can help you reduce your quote:
Value Your Car Accurately
Ensuring your car is valued correctly is crucial. Overvaluing it can increase premiums unnecessarily, while undervaluing might lead to insufficient cover. Agree on your car’s value with your insurer to ensure a fair payout in case of a claim.
Choose a Newer Car
Opting for a newer American car can be more cost-effective in terms of insurance. Newer models typically have advanced safety features and better security systems, which insurers view favourably.
Limit Your Mileage
If you use your American car infrequently, consider a low mileage cover. This is based on the principle that less time on the road means a lower risk of accidents, which can significantly reduce your premiums.
Avoid Certain Modifications
Modifications, especially those that enhance performance or change the car’s appearance, can increase insurance costs. Stick to the original specifications where possible to keep premiums lower.
Add Security Features
Investing in approved security devices like alarms, trackers, and dashcams can decrease the risk of theft, leading to lower insurance costs.
Join an Official Car Club
Membership in a specialist American car club often brings the benefit of discounted insurance rates. Insurers recognize that club members are generally more careful and passionate about their vehicles.
Build Up Your No-Claims Bonus
If you own multiple American cars, insuring them under a single multi-car policy can often be more economical than separate policies. Insurers typically offer discounts for multiple vehicles.
Other factors to consider include:
Higher Excess: Opting for a higher voluntary excess can lower your premium, but ensure it’s an amount you can comfortably afford in the event of a claim.
Paying Annually: Sometimes, paying for your insurance in a single annual payment can be cheaper than monthly instalments, as it may save on interest and administrative fees.
Shop Around: Always compare car insurance quotes from different insurers, including those specialising in American cars, to ensure you get the best deal.
Driver Profile: Ensure all drivers on the policy have a good driving record and consider limiting the number of drivers to those who need to be included.
By carefully considering these factors and making informed choices, you can effectively reduce the cost of insuring your American car without compromising on the necessary coverage.
Frequently asked questions
To find a great value insurance cover for your American car, the best approach is to compare policies through a reliable comparison service like ours. This enables you to explore a range of insurers who are willing to offer policies for American cars.
By comparing different options, you can identify the right cover that meets both your needs and budget for your American car. This comparison process helps ensure you get comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.
Yes, being a member of an American car club in the UK can lead to cheaper insurance.
Many insurers acknowledge that members of enthusiast car clubs often take exceptional care of their cars and show a strong commitment to maintenance and safety.
As a result, they sometimes offer discounts to club members. This is because club members are perceived as lower-risk customers, which can be reflected in reduced insurance premiums.