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Own a car with left hand drive?

Getting insurance for a car which is left hand drive may be more difficult than insuring one which is driven from the right. Part of the reason for this is that UK roads are designed in such a way that people who are approaching a major road from a slip road, or a roundabout, have a better view of oncoming traffic from the right-hand seat than from the other side of the car.

Another problem however is that the car is probably imported. If it is what is called a parallel import, in other words one from an EU country that has the same basic specifications as cars available in the UK, then spares can be expected to be reasonably available and the cost of repairs should be acceptable.

Insuring a left-hand drive parallel import should not normally cost a great deal more than insuring the equivalent right-hand drive car, but it could be slightly more expensive because of the different driving technique which would be necessary.

If, on the other hand, the vehicle originated from a country outside the European Union, such as the United States or Japan, and there was no equivalent model manufactured for the UK market, it would be classed as a 'grey import'. This would matters more complicated.

This would not necessarily have been built in accordance with the same safety and emission standards as those specified by Britain and the EEC. If this was the case the car may well need extensive modifications before it was legal to drive it on the UK roads. Any insurer would want to be certain that the vehicle was street legal in Britain before considering whether or not to cover it.

Another problem associated with grey imports is that spare parts would probably not be readily available in the UK, meaning that repairs could be expensive and could take a long time to complete if components had to be specially imported.

Mainstream insurers tend to fight shy of left hand drive vehicles because of the difficulties involved in completing all the necessary paperwork, the likely expense of repairing them in the event of an accident, and also the fact that they only have a limited number of vehicles on their database which they are prepared to insure.

To obtain cover you would probably need to discuss it with a specialist broker.


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