The Key to Imported Car Insurance

The Japanese really do have it all.

Creative? Absolutely.

Great engineers? Undoubtedly.

Savvy businessmen? Hard to disagree.

From 4WD off roaders to stunning road eaters, from luxury saloons to muscle bound motorcycles and a hell of a lot in between, they have as a manufacturing nation surpassed even their own expectations and achieved it economically, by building cars.

And they’re great cars too – they trump every review and every poll for reliability, performance, aesthetic design and to a large extent, even price.

But here’s another thing.

Why are they cheaper and worth so much less in Japan after covering only a moderate mileage?

These are questions that have been asked for several years now. Some have clear answers. Home built cars for example are bound to be cheaper, currency exchange rates can also have a favourable influence on value, the population and therefore the traffic congestion in Japan (on such a relatively small land mass), dictates that engine efficiency and control of emissions are both serious and pressing issues.

All of the above have however, resulted in a phenomenon. Over the past decade or so, personally imported Japanese vehicles have become a prolifically common sight on our roads. Sidebars, tints, spoilers, alloys, windshields, lowered suspension, grabber tyres, metallic paints – the list goes on and on – and the cars have all looked great.

Unfortunately, here in the UK the insurance companies didn’t quite see it that way and at first they were not slow to make their displeasure known, reflected of course in the quotes, disproportionate policy limitations and the dearth of companies that would cover these ‘imposter’ vehicles at all.

In short, imported car insurance had the industry in a kneejerk state of panic, import became a dirty word and you could sense the scorn within the pregnant pause when the very word was uttered on the telephone. Imported car insurance was the realm of the motoring pariah.

But why was this?

Well, excuses were given about the expense of parts due to differing specifications and limited availability – it is more costly to repair an import due to none UK standard paints and extraneous body parts – even an increase in the perceived ‘nick-ability factor’ was cited. Customers with life-long loyalties to specific companies were simply turned away – left out in the cold to search for an insurer who would take pity on them for daring to be different.

And all of this mostly on the basis of ill-informed and poorly researched nonsense. Imported car insurance today has become something akin to the phrase ‘much ado about nothing’. But it serves to remember that we can thank the rise of the Internet and the increasing sophistication of what has become the consumers’ champion – the online car insurance comparison site, for what has essentially freed the industry of its prejudices.

Because now, if the big boys won’t supply the product, somebody else will and imported car insurance is now generally the preserve of people who know what they are talking about and do not make you pay for silly conjecture. Cover is frequently no more than that of our own comparatively bland Brit models and some companies even offer a healthy discount.