Insuring an imported Car

What You Should Check


Have you recently imported a car into the country or are you thinking of doing so in the future? If this is the case then you should be aware of the small bit of additional work that you should do when it comes to researching the vehicle.

Although there can be potential savings made due to the perceived lower cost of the vehicle compared to what you are seeing in Ireland this might not always be the case. There are a number of pitfalls that you might encounter during the process that you might not be aware off when starting off.

Here’s a quick guide to what you need to know about the car and to arrange car insurance.

Importing A Car

Do you really know the history of the car?

People are attracted to the savings associated with buying a car and importing it. However they can sometimes forget to check with the importer about other important issues which they would otherwise ask a dealer about such as:

  • Is there finance outstanding on the car? If you buy the car and there is finance outstanding, then the debt becomes your debt!
  • Was the car ever in an accident? There are numerous instances of where vehicles have been rebuilt (badly) and/or cut and shunt – this is where literally one half of the car is from a different vehicle and it’s been welded on and re-sprayed. Beauty is sometimes – literally skin deep. Check with reputable vehicle checking services e.g.
  • Has the car been clocked? This is where the mileage has been deliberately tampered with to give a better reading. This is something you need to check before you buy but if you are importing from another country this might not be possible until the vehicle arrives.

Do you know what the VRT will be?

  • Vehicle registration tax is the tax that you pay when a vehicle is imported into the country. This is usually covered by the car dealer as part of the Irish vehicle registration process but if you are importing the vehicle yourself then it’s important that you arrange for this to be paid. Don’t assume that the dealer you are working with has included this as part of their service. The tax can be calculated in 3 different ways with the most commonly used method based on the sale price locally (not where the vehicle originated from).
  • Get a better understanding of what the VRT will be by going to to find out how much you will be expected to pay for the vehicle. It is important to do the VRT check before committing to any sale as it might make you change your mind about importing if any perceived purchase price savings could be negated by the additional tax you have to pay.

Has The Car Been Re-Registered?

If you have purchased, or plan to purchase, a foreign registered car you should be aware that legally you have 30 days to re-register the car in Ireland. This is also important from an insurance perspective as many insurers require that re-registration is completed within 30 days of the vehicle importation or they will not continue cover on the vehicle.

Once re-registered you then receive the new registration number and will need to organise new registration plates for the car. Remember it’s an offence not to display the correct vehicle registration in the correct format.

Insurance for Imported Cars

Most importantly, and this may sound silly to have to say, but you need to tell your insurer if the car is imported. Some imported cars like Japanese imports usually require specific parts when being repaired following an accident. Many of these may not be standard production line parts or may have only been mass produced/distributed in certain parts of the world so insurers rate these vehicles differently or may prefer not to insure them to begin with.

If you know of something which you believe may impact the insurer’s decision to provide a policy to you then you need to advise them at time of purchase. Failure to inform your insurer that your vehicle is imported could negate your cover. If you are in any doubt, or think there is something that may impact a current/new policy, then talk to your broker/insurer when getting your quote. Falling back on "you weren't sure so didn't say" won’t prevent an insurer from not paying out on a claim due to non disclosure.

Because Chill Insurance deal with a number of different insurers we know what insurers require from you when you are looking for cover for your imported car. To help you get your cover in place, with the minimal amount of fuss, why not call us on 01 4003400 to speak to one of our helpful team