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Insurance of foreign registered vehicles

20 June 2017

Over the years this question has caused a lot of confusion with motor traders going abroad and bringing back foreign registered vehicles. For many years the situation was that you couldn’t drive a car in its country of registration i.e. an Italian registered car in Italy or a German registered car in Germany but once outside the home territory the Motor Trade policy covered you in other European countries.

In September 2007 a piece of legislation was passed to allow the 5th European Directive on Motor Insurance to be implemented and part of this related specifically to the purchase of vehicles. A UK insurer is not allowed to cover foreign registered vehicles in Europe. If there is an existing insurance policy on the vehicle it may be possible to extend it to cover the purchaser to drive it across Europe to the UK. If that cannot be done the option is to have it transported to the UK or alternatively obtain temporary transit cover in the country of purchase. We have the addresses in each country where the transit cover can be purchased. Cover is very cheap, lasts for 30 days and provides the basic Third Party Injury cover. We can provide the damage cover in these instances from the time the vehicle is acquired.

A UK insurer can provide this damage cover on the vehicle in these particular circumstances but in all other cases it is illegal for them to cover a foreign registered vehicle and so the Motor Trade policy would not operate. When the vehicle arrives in the UK the car can be covered whilst driven under trade plates or when it becomes UK registered. If the car is for a UK resident or a foreigner intending to stay in the UK for more than 6 months the car must be taxed and registered within 14 days.

We are very conscious that some traders may be operating outside these rules and it is important to adhere to them to ensure that insurance cover is in force.

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