We’ve all watched American movies, listened to pop stars from the US and even followed political developments across the pond, so it’s perhaps no surprise that American cars are proving popular with British motorists.
Models such as the Ford Mustang, Lincoln Continental or even the iconic pink Cadillac allow us to live a little bit of the American dream right here in the UK.
Of course, you need to insure your American car, just as you would a British vehicle – and that’s when the dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Cost of repairs
Many mainstream insurers steer clear of imported cars because they are wary of vehicles that are not built to UK specifications. A number of specialist firms can arrange American car insurance cover, but the premiums are likely to be more expensive than for a standard vehicle – for two reasons.
First, the car might have greater performance potential than a UK model. Second, the cost of any repairs is likely to be high.
Think about it. If you have an accident in a Ford Mondeo, any parts are easy to source and quick to fit. But if you have a prang in a Pontiac Firebird, you might need to ship replacement parts from the US and seek out a specialist mechanic to carry out the repairs. The cost of any American car insurance claim would therefore likely turn out to be far higher.
Classic American car insurance
Some American cars are considered classic – usually older models such as a Chevrolet Corvette or a Dodge Charger –and owners of classic American cars might be able to negotiate a slightly better deal on their premiums.
Why? Because if you own a classic car, you are more likely to cherish and care for your vehicle as you would a member of the family.
You might also drive it infrequently, so reducing the risk of an accident. This is why classic American car insurance deals often work out to be far cheaper.
Agree the value
Insurance for an American car is broadly the same as insurance for a UK vehicle, though there might be a minimum age limit of 25.
You should also make sure the policy for your imported model will pay out an agreed value if the car is written off in an accident. If you don’t agree the value with the insurer at the outset, you could end up in a dispute over the true worth of the car, which could leave you with an insurance shortfall in the event of a claim.
Insurance for an American car is broadly the same as insurance for a UK vehicle, though there might be a minimum age limit of 25
Some owners hire out their American cars for weddings or other special events. If so, you should always check your American car insurance policy covers such ‘business’ use.
The same applies if you take your American car to Europe. Many insurers will cover you to drive on the Continent, though you will probably have to pay an extra premium.
Whether you are limiting your driving to the UK or heading overseas, you should consider breakdown cover. Again, you might have to pay extra because your car is unusual, but having access to a recovery service could prove extremely useful should you run into difficulties on the road.
Cut the cost of American car insurance
There are various ways to drive down the cost of your American car insurance. For example, resist making any modifications to your car as they can bump up premiums. And try to keep it in a locked garage when it’s not in use to minimise the risk of theft and vandalism.
You might also want to opt for a limited mileage American car insurance policy, especially if you drive the car infrequently, perhaps only at the weekend or during the summer months. If you agree to stick to a limited number of miles per year, the insurer should offer a lower premium because there is less chance of an accident.
Join the club
Members of an accredited club for owners of American cars are often given a discount on their premiums, which can be worth up to 15%. Joining a club is also a good way to find out about car events and swap tips on car maintenance and upkeep, and where to find garages and mechanics willing and able to look after your vehicle properly.
Compare American car insurance quotes
It’s not always easy to get quotes for American car insurance, but MoneySuperMarket’s online comparison service can save you time and money. You can find details of a range of policies and competitive premiums all at the click of a mouse.