Whether you drive a Japanese domestic market or European collector car, you’ll want the right coverage for your imported car.
There isn’t a specific type of import car insurance. Once you purchase and register an import car in your name, it’s like insuring any other car. But there is one big difference. Your car will appreciate in value over time. That means you want to find a policy that covers agreed value, and not book value.
While import car insurance isn’t hard to obtain, you do need to know what to look for. If your insurance agent tells you to add your 1992 Mazda RX-7 to your standard policy, chances are it won’t cover the car’s full value.
We’ll get into the specifics of insurance for imported cars below. We’ll also recommend a few companies that stood out in our research of the best car insurance providers. Many providers offer coverage for imported cars, but some are better than others. In the end, you should get a few auto insurance quotes so you can compare coverage and pricing.
Use our tool below or call (855) 518-0148 to start comparing car insurance quotes:
In this article:
- What Is Import Car Insurance?
- Our Recommendations For Import Car Insurance
- Import Cars Vs Domestic Cars
- What Kind Of Car Insurance Coverage Should You Get?
- What Does Import Car Insurance Cover?
- FAQ About Import Car Insurance
What Is Import Car Insurance?
Import car insurance is fairly similar to standard car insurance. The main difference is that import car insurance takes this into account that imported cars increase with value over time, instead of loosing value like everyday cars. On top of standard car insurance coverage, import car insurance also includes coverage for replacement or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.
Our Recommendations For Import Car Insurance
To make it easy for you, we took a look at the best car insurance providers to see who offers agreed value coverage for imported cars. Based on our research, these are the best import car insurance providers:
|Import Car Insurance Provider||Overall Rating||Spare Parts||Mileage Max|
Geico Car Insurance
USAA car insurance, Geico auto insurance, and Progressive auto insurance sell import car insurance plans that are backed by specialty companies. In our view, this is the best of both worlds: You get the track record and customer service of a larger company combined with the expertise of a specialty insurance agency.
The best thing to do is to compare car insurance quotes from multiple companies. For import car insurance in particular, we recommend Hagerty auto insurance through Progressive and American Modern through Geico.
Import Car Insurance With Progressive And Hagerty
Hagerty gives you an unlimited mileage budget and a good allowance for spare parts when it comes to insurance for an imported car. However, the company does require you to have another car insured in your name that you use on a daily basis.
One perk of working with Hagerty is the company’s Carcierge. This service available to Hagerty Driver’s Club members can help you track down hard-to-find parts for your car. Hagerty specializes in finding new old stock and OEM parts.
Hagerty’s underwriting partners all have financial strength ratings of A or better from AM Best. Progressive has a financial strength rating of A+, along with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Import Car Insurance With Geico And American Modern
Geico’s American Modern is another great choice for import car enthusiasts. Geico has an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best and an A+ rating from the BBB.
American Modern offers an unlimited mileage plan and a high spare parts coverage amount of $2,000. The company knows that agreed value coverage can be expensive, so it allows drivers to choose deductibles of up to $10,000. Choosing a higher deductible can help you save money on monthly rates for an import car insurance policy.
Import Cars Vs Domestic Cars
For the purposes of this article, an import car is a car that isn’t meant for the United States market. It has been imported by a specialty seller or buyer, but it hasn’t been sent to the U.S. by the brand officially.
Import cars can be gray market cars, like when a BMW model designed for Europe is imported into the United States instead. A gray market car isn’t illegal to import, but it’s not what the brand desires. It also might not meet federal regulations without modifications.
When talking about the car market in general, import can also refer to any car produced outside the U.S., like cars made by Subaru or Acura. But these cars are distributed into the domestic market by authorized retailers, and they don’t need any special type of car insurance unless they are collectible.
Today, we’re only focusing on vehicles not meant for the market that import car insurance could benefit.
What Kind Of Car Insurance Coverage Should You Get?
When you’re shopping for import car insurance it’s important to know what coverage is available to you. There are six standard types of car insurance:
- Liability insurance (BI/PD)
- Comprehensive insurance
- Medical payments (MedPay)
- Personal injury protection (PIP)
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM)
Liability coverage pays for medical bills and repairs for other people in accidents that you cause. Whether you are driving a specialty import or a standard car, you need this coverage. However, you’ll need a large amount of liability car insurance if you drive around other expensive vehicles – for example, at auto shows. Liability plans with limits of $1M aren’t uncommon for import or exotic car owners.
Collision and comprehensive total payments are based on the value of your car. Once that value is maxed out, the insurance company won’t pay for more damages. That’s why an agreed value plan is so important. Deductibles can range from $100 to $10,000 for import car insurance.
What limits you choose for MedPay, PIP, and UM/UIM are up to you. Some states require these coverage types, but all insurance companies will let you know what’s required when you request a quote.
On top of standard car insurance, there are a few extra coverage options that are unique to import car insurance:
- Agreed value
- Spare parts
- Rising value protection
- Mileage limits
Most import car insurance providers offer regular opportunities to raise the agreed value. Some automatically raise it by a certain percentage per year, while others involve drivers in the process.
What Does Import Car Insurance Cover?
Import car insurance can seem a little overwhelming when you don't know what exactly is covered. Here is a breakdown of what the extra coverage options include:
What Is Agreed Value?
It's important to find a policy that covers agreed value, and not book value. These kinds of policies are often called collector or classic car insurance policies, but can cover a variety of vehicles including exotics, imports, and even historic war vehicles. When you begin a policy, you’ll come to an agreement with your insurance carrier on what your car is worth.
If you had put $15,000 of upgrades into the car, you can include that in the value. You can also adjust the agreed value year after year for appreciation. That means you can have the entire actual value of the car covered.
If your car is totaled, you can get out what you had put into it. But there’s another benefit of agreed value insurance for imported cars. It also raises the maximum limit that the company will pay out for repairs, since that limit is the value of the car.
Are Your Spare Parts Covered?
After an accident, you don’t want to take your car to just any shop and have them slap on some generic aftermarket parts. The good thing is that many collector car plans come with a specific coverage to pay for the right spare parts. If you have to get specific parts sent to the repair shop, that’s totally OK. Some import car insurance plans also cover the spare parts that you already have.
What Is Value Protection?
In contrast, a book value or stated value policy will only pay you what the market value is on your car at the time of the accident. Let’s say you have a 1989 Nissan Skyline R32 that you paid $40,000 to obtain. A standard insurance company doesn’t care about what you paid – it cares about what the market value is on that car in your area.
The auto insurance company would look at other Nissans from around 1989 to determine its value. Chances are, there aren’t any other 1989 Skylines around you, so the company might look at a Nissan Sentra from ‘90. The underwriter might not understand that a Sentra and a Skyline are worlds apart. Needless to say, the number the company comes up with would be a fraction of what your car is actually worth.
Now, some drivers might just want to get coverage. They might be fine adding a Skyline to a standard policy if they have other cars too. But what if the insurance company assigned a value of $5,000 to a $40,000 car? That $5,000 is the maximum the insurance company would pay out for repairs over the life of the vehicle. After that, it would be totaled. And any single accident that caused over $5,000 in repairs would total the car as well.
What Are Mileage Limits?
Mileage limits can impact how much you end up paying for your car insurance. Import car insurance may seem expensive, but it depends on how much you drive. Car insurance companies expect that you’d drive an exotic or imported car less frequently than your daily driver. When that’s the case, your insurance plan will have a yearly mileage limit. If you stay under the limit, import car insurance is usually cheaper compared to standard car insurance.
However, if you want to drive your import car every day, you’ll have to have an agreed value plan that also covers unlimited mileage. In this case, your import car insurance can be more expensive than a standard car insurance plan. That’s partly because it costs more to repair an imported car with the right equipment than a standard car.
FAQ About Import Car Insurance
Is it more expensive to insure an imported car?
If you use agreed value coverage, it is more expensive to get insurance for imported cars that you drive regularly. But if you drive a vehicle infrequently, it can be less expensive to insure. Remember, auto insurance quotes are influenced by many things, like the kind of car you drive, your age, and your zip code.
Is it hard to insure an imported car?
It is not hard to insure an imported car. The hard part is importing the car, paying taxes, and registering the vehicle (if you’re doing that yourself). Many companies including Geico, State Farm, and Progressive offer agreed value plans to cover cars that grow in value.
What is an imported car?
There are two ways to think about imported vehicles. In the broad sense, imported cars are simply made on foreign soil and transported to the U.S. for sale. This includes cars made by Toyota and Kia, for example.
However, if someone wants to specifically buy an imported car, they are usually looking at cars that were not meant for the U.S. market. These cars either have to be modified to meet federal regulations, or they have to be 25 years of age or older. At that age, the federal regulations no longer apply.
What is total loss buyback?
One nice thing about agreed value car insurance policies is that many of them allow you to buy back your car after a total loss. Your car might be totaled in the eyes of the insurance company, but you could still salvage and restore it on your own time (and dime).
How much is insurance for a Nissan Skyline?
This depends on the way you insure the car. If you choose special coverage for imported and vintage cars – called agreed value coverage – you’ll pay more for insurance if you also drive the car regularly. If you drive it infrequently, agreed value coverage could be cheaper than standard insurance.
Finally, you could insure it with a standard insurance plan and pay around the same price as you would to insure another old Nissan, but the full value of your car would not be covered.
Whenever you shop for car insurance, we recommend getting quotes from multiple providers so you can compare coverage and rates. In addition to the insurance company you choose, factors such as your age, vehicle make and model, and driving history can affect your premium, so what’s best for your neighbor might not be best for you.
Use our tool below or call (855) 518-0148 to start comparing personalized car insurance quotes:
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