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Imported Car Insurance

Importing a car from overseas may need specialist insurance.

Now that you've managed to get your dream car JDM Nissan Skyline GTR R34 or classic Chevy Camaro into Australia, you've already done most of the hard work. All you need now is the right imported car insurance to ensure your rare import doesn't end up as a pile of scrap on the side of the road.

Luckily, you can obtain cover for your imported car from either standard insurers for an extra fee or from specialist insurers who know how to treat imported cars right. Find out the best option for you and your vehicle below.

Want to cover your imported car with a standard insurer?

1 - 4 of 7
Name Product Roadside assistance Accidental damage Storm Choice of repairer Agreed or Market Value
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary: Our data shows it’s the cheapest comprehensive policy. It just covers the basics such as damage to your car, theft and storms – it doesn’t go in for add-ons and extras.

Who it might be good for: Those wanting a low-cost, no-frills policy.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: The 2023 winner of our Best Features Car Insurance award. Plus, it's one of the only insurers to automatically include roadside assistance.

Who it might be good for: Those who want good customer service with lots of inclusions.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Covers a little more than other insurers. You don’t need to pay an excess for windscreen repairs and cover applies to anyone who uses your car.

⭐ Current offer: Get $100 off your first year's comprehensive car insurance premium when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Multiple people using one car.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Our best-rated Car Insurer for Customer Satisfaction in 2021/2022 and Green Insurer for the last 3 years.

⭐ Current offer: Save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those who want a trustworthy insurer and more cover than other brands, such as 3-year new car replacement (e.g. they'll give you money for a new car for up to 3 years if yours is written off).
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Getting insurance for imported cars in Australia

If you've brought a car into Australia and are eager to insure it, there are two main ways to obtain cover, depending on the type of vehicle you've shipped in. Most commonly, imported vehicles will either be "grey" imports (from locations outside a manufacturer's supply chain) or prestige vehicles.

Car

Standard car insurers

Some standard car insurers will agree to cover imported vehicles with a normal comprehensive car policy, assuming the vehicle meets their specifications. Certain standard insurers, like NRMA, will offer vintage and classic car insurance policies if you've imported a prestige vehicle.

Imported car

Specialist car insurers

There are a range of insurers who cater specifically to people who have imported cars.They know if you've done all the paperwork and bureaucratic box ticking, never mind the expense of shipping - you're hardly going to go hooning around. They also tend to be more experienced with covering unusual or specialised vehicles.

Regardless of the provider you go with, the only thing you can be reasonably sure of is that your premiums will be higher than for a domestic market.

Who covers it?

InsurerCover provided
Shannons Logo Image: Supplied

Shannons

  • All imports
  • Classic and vintage vehicles
  • Modified cars
Enthusiast logo Image: Supplied

Enthusiast

  • All imports
  • Vintage and classic cars
  • Exotic, rare and prestige cars
  • Modified vehicles
Lumley logo Image: Supplied

Lumley

  • Imported classics
  • Vintage cars and motorcycles
  • Modern classics
Ryno logo Image: Supplied

Ryno

  • American imports
  • Classic and prestige cars and motorcycles
RACQ Logo Image: Supplied

RACQ (Queensland)

  • Grey imports
  • Vintage and classic cars
  • Modified and performance cars
RAA Logo Image: Supplied

RAA (SA)

  • Grey imports
  • Modified and high performance cars

Choosing the right provider: specialist or standard?

When looking for a provider to cover your car, it might be tempting to go for a well-known standard car insurer, perhaps one you've used in the past. But quite apart from the biggest problem you'll likely face - that standard insurers will straight up refuse to cover a wide range of imported cars - there are a number of benefits that going with a specialist insurer could provide:

IssueStandard insurerSpecialist insurer
Choice of repairer
  • Usually nominate which repairer you must use
  • Usually allow driver's choice of repairer
  • Know which workshops are best for specialised or imported cars
Salvage rights
  • Often lay claim to damaged parts and vehicles
  • Usually allow driver to retain damaged and potentially expensive/rare parts after a crash
Modification limits
  • Limits on the number of modifications they'll cover
  • Charge very high premiums for extensive modifications
  • Recognise many grey imports need extensive modifications to be legally driven
  • Likely to cover extensive or unusual modifications
Lay-up period
  • Usually very limited period of time, or not available
  • Vintage and classic car specialists may offer reduced price lay-up periods for cars that don't see much use
Insured value
  • Mostly offer market value
  • Agreed value cover costs more
  • Agreed value by default
  • Important for vintage cars with widely fluctuating and high market values
Cover for racing or high-speed use
  • Rarely offer this kind of cover
  • More likely to cover high risk recreational use like: rallies, time trials and motorsport events/li>
Lifetime repair guarantee
  • Commonly offered, but not usually for imported cars with rare or non-standard components.
  • Offered for imports even with difficult to find parts

Difficulties to be prepared for when getting cover for your imported car

As discussed above, getting cover for your imported car will likely end up being more expensive than for a regular domestic vehicle. But even after you've surveyed the market and settled on an insurer, there are a few particulars you should run past them to ensure that your vehicle is covered. If they're not, it's time to consider a specialist insurer.

  • Non-standard parts. Some cars have parts that are almost impossible to find in Australia, whether from age, market of origin, or rarity. Check that your car can be realistically repaired in the event of a crash.
  • Performance differences. High-end cars may be deemed too dangerous or likely to end up in an accident because of their sheer speed and horsepower. $200k+ Sports cars like Porsches and McLarens will likely attract an exorbitant premium from a standard insurer.
  • Roadworthiness modifications. Australia's road rules are different to other countries'. Getting insurance for grey imports can be hard because they often need a heap of modifications installed to be deemed roadworthy, and standard insurers balk at covering this.
  • Simply hard to insure. This could be because they have a soft-top roof (easier to break into), are particularly desirable for thieves, or are just outright expensive vehicles. Getting standard insurance will be difficult.

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Written by

Alexandra Koster

Alexandra Koster is Finder's publisher for car, home and pet insurance. She has a Tier 1 certification in General Insurance, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Cultural Studies from the University of Sydney. Her hobbies include reading Product Disclosure Statements and deciphering complicated insurance lingo to help people save on their insurance so that they can spend their money on better things – like dogs. See full profile

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