How To Insure A Foreign Car In South Africa

Most countries have their own specific laws when it comes to car insurance. Let's take a look at the laws which govern the insuring of foreign cars in South Africa.
Jason Snyman
2018-08-03

Most countries, all around the world, have their own specific laws when it comes to car insurance. As a car owner looking to have your car insured, it's always a good idea to familiarise yourself with these laws before taking that leap. After all, ending up on the wrong side of any law – no matter where you are – has unfavourable repercussions. With regards to car insurance, you could be slapped with substantial fines, see your claims rejected or even end up with your policy cancelled or voided. 

So, today we'll be looking at the laws which govern the insuring of foreign cars. Most people don't know too much about the subject. But, as you'll soon find out, it's not that confusing at all.

Insuring A Foreign Car

Many motorists move to SA from other countries, such as Namibia, Botswana or even further abroad, and bring their cars with them. After all, if you're an American who owns a great muscle car which you've spent a lifetime fixing up and taking care of, why wouldn't you want to bring it with you when moving to South Africa?

Unfortunately, South African law makes it tricky to insure these cars – especially if they're registered in other countries or if they're left-hand drive. When it comes to importing vehicles, even popular Japanese cars – such as the Toyota which we already see in abundance on our own roads – can cause insurance headaches. 

With the car having been registered in another country, there are strict limitations which would hinder you from taking out an insurance policy for it here, in South Africa. You might find it entirely impossible. 

Luckily, there are some insurance companies which specifically cater to foreign car owners, but it's always better to speak with them before attempting to bring your car over. 

If your vehicle isn't registered in South Africa, MiWay, for example, will offer you third party liability cover, but nothing else. 

With a little luck and a lot of perseverance, you might be able to transfer the registration of your vehicle. If this all sounds like too much effort, and you could bear to part with your vehicle – it's a lot easier to just purchase a new car here in SA through a registered dealer. 

Why Are Foreign Cars More Expensive To Insure?

Whether shipped over by the dealership or imported yourself, foreign cars are often a little more expensive to insure. There are a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, foreign cars often require special parts. If something ever goes wrong with your car, you'll need to have those parts imported from overseas in order to repair it. This is time consuming and expensive – a combination most insurers aren't too fond of.

Second, in South Africa most people already drive foreign cars without even knowing it. These could include Toyota, VW, Nissan or Honda models which have been imported by dealerships. To replace one of these vehicles after an unfortunate write off is also expensive and time-consuming. 

Third, these cars are at higher risk. Imported cars which are left-hand drives are far more dangerous on South African roads. So, they offer an increased risk of being involved in an accident or collision. Furthermore, foreign cars are popular targets for theft and hijackings.

Speak to your insurance provider before forking over your money on costly import costs. With the skyrocketing crime rate and rate of road accidents these days, you definitely don't want to put that foreign beauty at risk.