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American car insurance

Whether you have your eye on an iconic Ford Mustang or a luxury Lincoln Navigator SUV, the American car market is an attractive one for petrolheads.

But what will importing an American car mean for your car insurance? Here’s everything you need to know about finding the right American car insurance cover.

Whether you have your eye on an iconic Ford Mustang or a luxury Lincoln Navigator SUV, the American car market is an attractive one for petrolheads.

But what will importing an American car mean for your car insurance? Here’s everything you need to know about finding the right American car insurance cover.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
26 JUNE 2023
6 min read
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Can I insure an American car in the UK?

Yes, you can insure an imported American car, but it won’t be quite as straightforward as insuring a car built in the UK.

You’ll probably find you have fewer insurance providers to choose from, because some might not cover left-hand drive cars. Those that do may add restrictions, like only insuring drivers over a certain age or those who’ve held a licence for several years.

Other factors that could affect finding cover for American car imports include the availability of parts, technology and the extent of any car modifications.

Is it more expensive to insure American car imports?

Yes, car insurance for an imported American car is usually more expensive than for cars made for the UK.

That’s partly because you’ll have less choice when comparing cover for an imported left-hand drive vehicle. But it’s also down to the price tag of your American car. If you’ve gone to the effort of importing a classic Cadillac, an iconic muscle car or a unique luxury SUV, it’s likely set you back a fair bit.

Additionally, American cars tend to be bigger and more powerful than cars on the UK market. That means they might be considered more of a risk by insurance providers. And with potentially obscure parts to source, they could also be more costly to repair.

The exact cost of cover will depend on the car model and your driving history, but American car insurance providers will typically look at:

  • The purchase price of your American car
  • Your age – depending on the car and insurance provider, you might need to be at least 25 years old to get American car insurance
  • The size and performance of the engine
  • Cost of replacement parts – if your car is damaged, some components may need to be imported if they’re hard to find in the UK
  • If your American car will need to go to a specialist mechanic for repairs
  • The car’s ability to conform to UK specifications.

Imported US cars that weren’t intended for the EU market won’t be assigned a UK car insurance group so it could be harder for insurance providers to calculate the risk of covering you. You might want to look for a specialist provider that focuses on imported American cars, although this could be a more expensive option.

Providers may also require an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) test to make sure your car meets UK environmental and safety regulations.

What should I consider when looking for American car insurance?

As with other types of car insurance, there are three levels of American car insurance cover to choose from:

  • Third-party – covers you for any injury or damage you cause to other people and their property. You’ll need third-party cover as a minimum to drive on UK roads.
  • Third-party, fire and theft – on top of third-party cover, these policies will also cover you if your American car is stolen or damaged by fire.
  • Comprehensive – covers everything you’d expect from a third-party fire and theft policy, as well as damage caused to your car in an accident.

Here are some other factors you might want to bear in mind when choosing insurance cover for your American car, depending on your circumstances:

Agreed value cover

If you’ve spent a lot of time and money restoring an American car or you’re importing a rare model, your car may be worth more than its market value. In that case, you’ll want to make sure you can get a replacement of equal value if yours is stolen or written off.

With agreed value cover, you and your insurance provider come to an agreement upfront on how much your car is worth and then insure it for that amount. You’ll need to provide evidence that your car is worth what you say it is, and in some cases, you might need to get a professional valuation.

Your choice of repairer

If you have a particular mechanic that you trust more than anyone else to work on your pride and joy, look for a policy that allows you to choose the repairer. This means you’ll be able to take your car to your chosen garage for repairs, rather than use the insurance provider’s standard approved repairer.

American classic car insurance

If you own an older model of an American car, you could qualify for classic car insurance. This could actually save you money because insurance providers tend to see classic cars as less risky. That’s because classic cars are often driven less than regular cars and tend to be well looked after by their owners.

Modified car insurance

Are you the proud owner of an American hot rod? If your car has been altered in any way from the American manufacturer’s factory standards, you’ll need insurance that covers car modifications. This type of cover can be more expensive than standard car insurance.

As well as potentially increasing your car’s value, performance modifications – such as altering the car’s suspension or adding bigger wheels – might make your car riskier to insure or harder to repair. Even cosmetic changes, like a custom paint job or a new stereo system, could make it more valuable and attractive to thieves.

Limited mileage car insurance

If you’re only planning on using your imported American car for the odd weekend drive in the countryside, rather than for the daily commute, you may be able to save on your cover by opting for low mileage car insurance.

In general, the less you drive your American car, the less chance of you getting in an accident.

Business car insurance

If you’re planning to make an income from your American car – for example, hiring it out for weddings or exhibitions – you’ll need business car insurance that covers you for hire and reward.

Laid-up car insurance

If you’re in the process of restoring an American classic and it’ll be up on blocks for a while, you can have your car officially declared as off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) through the DVLA.

Although car insurance is not a legal requirement for cars that are declared as SORN, you may still want to make sure your pride and joy is covered for theft, fire and malicious damage.

How can I reduce the cost of my American car insurance?

Keep in mind that the cheapest policy might not be the best American car insurance option for you. When comparing quotes with us, make sure you check the policy details as well as the price to see which best suits your needs.

To get cheaper imported car insurance, you could:

  • Park securely – American cars are considered high-value targets for car theft.
  • Be a safe and careful driver – building up your no-claims discount could reduce your premiums.
  • Investigate whether you can remove any non-UK modifications – as these could increase the cost of your premium.
  • Increase your car insurance excess – offering to pay more towards a claim could lower your premiums, but make sure you can afford to pay both the voluntary and compulsory excess.
  • Join a car club – insurance providers might offer you a discount if you’re a member of an accredited club for owners of American cars.

Where can I find cover for an American car?

Right here at Compare the Market. While some insurance providers may be reluctant to quote for an American car, use our comparison service and we’ll show you which providers will offer you a policy.

Compare car insurance quotes with us to find the right policy for you.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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