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How to save on insurance for American cars
A Cadillac or a Chevrolet, a Mustang or a Dodge, the number of cars imported from the US to the UK grows each year as more motorists try to live the American dream on the streets of Great Britain.
Sadly, the dream can turn into a nightmare when you try to buy insurance for an imported American car. Many mainstream insurers steer clear of cars that were not manufactured in the UK. A number of specialist firms can help, but the premiums are often higher for American imports than for cars that were made in Britain.
Why are American car insurance premiums so high?
The higher premiums partly reflect the potentially higher cost of claims. For example, it can be more expensive to repair an American car because you might have to import spare parts and find a specialist mechanic. Classic American car insurance prices can be particularly pricey as parts for classic American vehicles are often rare. It could therefore pay dividends to compare premiums available through classic car insurance companies or more specialist insurers who offer classic American car insurance cover.
Insurers are also wary of cars built to overseas specifications because they often have bigger engines than vehicles that are manufactured to European standards. And with fewer insurers willing to quote for American car cover, competition in the market is less fierce, so the cost rises.
Of course, it's all a bit tiresome for owners of American cars. Enthusiasts tend to take better care of their cherished vehicles than the average motorist, yet they still have to pay more for specialist American car insurance companies.
Check the policy exclusions
It's not even as if American car insurance cover is much different from conventional policies. Cover is usually broadly similar, though you should always check any exclusions, particularly if you want to take your car abroad, or use the vehicle as a wedding car.
It's also worth finding out whether the insurer will pay an agreed value for your car if it is written off in an accident. If not, you could end up with a payout that falls way below your expectations.
How to cut the cost of American car insurance
There are a number of ways to cut the cost of cover for an American car. You can often negotiate a lower premium if you agree to drive only a limited number of miles in a year, sometimes as few as 1,500. Many firms offer limited mileage policies, which can be ideal if your car is more of a hobby than a runabout. Perhaps you drive your car only at weekends or only during the summer months. If so, you will cover fewer miles and so are statistically less likely to be involved in an accident. Just make sure you don't breach the limit - at least not without telling the insurer.
It can pay to join a members club, with some firms offering premium discounts of up to 15% to motorists who join a recognised club for owners of American cars. Membership of a club is also a great way to get to know other car enthusiasts and find out about local events and activities.
American cars are popular targets for thieves and vandals, so you can reduce the cost of insurance if your car is secure. You should keep the car in a locked garage when it is not in use. And fit an approved alarm, immobiliser, or tracking device to deter thieves.
Try not to modify your car in any way as insurers tend to load premiums for modified cars.
Finally, MoneySupermarket's online comparison service is a quick and easy way to find cheap American car insurance quotes. It can help you find the right policy at the right price.