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Taking the Grey out of Grey Imports

Friday 13th August 2010

If your car is considered a grey import insuring it doesn’t have to give you headaches, even if you decide to go through an import broker.

I always thought it was ironic that there are a lot of grey areas when it came to grey imports. At first it seems a bit daunting, as grey imports can involve buying from an auction, shipping, arranging the necessary paperwork, getting a compliance plate and finding someone to insure you. A couple of years ago I decided to buy such a car. However by doing my research beforehand, the entire process was actually stress‐free.

While we do get desirable cars here in Australia (you have to feel for our American counterparts, who didn’t even get the SR20DET S14 or S15 200SX), performance enthusiasts like you and I can’t help be tempted by the seemingly endless options available through grey importing.

It’s understandable as there are many obvious positives that make grey imports so attractive. The first is the mouth‐watering array of cars that were never brought to Australian dealerships. On the performance front there are the heroes like the R34 GT‐R, AE86 Trueno and the Series VIII FD RX‐7. While for those who want to stand out from the crowd with something quirky and unique, there are options like Nissan’s unusual Cube and the Toyota Alphard; both fantastic alternatives to traditional vanilla‐flavoured offerings.

Many people are also turning to grey imports as they can still get maximum bang for their buck without having to sacrifice four‐door practicality. A couple of great examples of these ‘useable sports’ cars are the Toyota Caldina (4cyl AWD turbo) and the Mitsubishi Galant (6cyl AWD turbo).

After doing a lot of careful planning, I eventually found my own dream car at a Japanese auction that ticked all the right boxes: a late‐model 1996 Nissan 180SX that was Grade 4 and immaculate. In my short time of ownership I’ve already modified it with a BN Sports wide‐body kit and resprayed in a custom mix of Kawasaki Orange and a pearl from DNA Paints.

For those who are interested in buying a grey import there’s a need to consider which company you choose to obtain car insurance with, especially if you decide to modify it further like I have. While you may consider grey imports as being affordable because of their purchase price, many are later caught out by the high costs for parts and repairs (usually because spares and replacement components will need to be imported from overseas).

And this is why it is important to not only do your research when choosing a car from an overseas auction, but to also investigate your options when it comes to insuring it. I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories of those driving uninsured grey imports, so hopefully I can help shed some light on what your options are.

Many insurers won’t even want to hear from you if you drive a grey import, no matter how old you are. Things get even worse if it’s of a performance variety. My colleagues here at Just Car Insurance are car enthusiasts just like I am, and the policies we’ve developed meant I was protected from the moment my 180SX arrived into Australia.

You see, unlike many other insurance companies, Just Car is familiar with the unique circumstances involved with grey importing. For those buying through a grey import broker, Just Car may be able to offer you third party property insurance the moment your car arrives into the country, which gives you peace of mind as you go through the whole compliance process. And as soon as your ride has been complied and registered, Just Car can cover you with full comprehensive insurance.

Sara, Just Car Insurance

Because I work for Just Car, here’s the legal bit I need to tell you about – Just Car Insurance Agency Pty Ltd (Just Car) is an authorised representative of Australian Associated Motor Insurers Ltd (AAMI – AFSL 238173), who is the issuer of the insurance. In writing this piece, I haven’t taken into account your specific needs or financial situation, so before contacting Just Car, you should read our PDS for the Just Car product you’re interested in – view a copy online at Just Car Insurance or call us on 13 13 26 for a free copy.

For media queries only, please contact:

Duncan Bone
02 8122 0277
Mobile: 0402 895 592