How to Get Japanese Import Car Insurance

Last Updated on October 5, 2023

If you’re importing a car from Japan, then you have different car insurance requirements than the average American driver.

Fortunately, you’re not the first person to import a Japanese vehicle. There are several insurance options available to protect your imported vehicle.

In fact, insuring a Japanese import car is no different than insuring a standard vehicle in the United States. You contact insurers, compare quotes, and choose the right coverage for your unique needs.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about getting Japanese import car insurance.

Key Takeaways:

  • You can insure a Japanese import car similar to a domestic car if it passes state inspection and meets safety and emissions standards.
  • You can choose from different types of coverage, such as liability, collision, comprehensive, or specialty insurance, depending on your vehicle’s value and condition.
  • You can compare quotes from major insurers or specialty insurers with import car experience, such as Grundy and Hagerty.
  • You can save money on insurance by opting for low mileage plans, antique car coverage, agreed value or stated value policies, or bundling discounts.

How to Insure a Japanese Import Car

If you have imported a car from Japan, then getting insurance may be easier than you think.

There’s no such thing as special “Japanese import car insurance.”

Instead, for many drivers of Japanese domestic market (JDM) vehicles, insuring an imported car is as easy as insuring a standard vehicle.

First, your Japanese import must pass safety and emissions standards in your state. You should be able to take your vehicle to a local inspection shop to receive paperwork verifying it meets your state’s safety and emissions standards.

Assuming your vehicle passed the inspection, you then contact insurers to add the vehicle to your insurance policy. Most major insurers have no issue insuring a Japanese import vehicle that passed inspection and is eligible for registration in the United States.

GEICO, USAA, State Farm, Progressive, and other major insurance companies, for example, insure thousands of Japanese import vehicles. These companies insure Japanese import vehicles similar to how they would insure domestic vehicles.

How Japanese Import Car Insurance Works

Japanese import car insurance works no differently than insurance for domestic vehicles in the United States.

If you are leasing or financing the vehicle (which is less likely with an import car than a domestic car), then you must carry full coverage car insurance. Lenders require you to carry full coverage car insurance, which typically includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage.

If you own the vehicle outright, then you can buy as much or as little insurance as you like. Your insurance needs to meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements at the absolute minimum. Or, for added protection for your vehicle, you can buy collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and other coverages.

Like other types of car insurance, Japanese import car insurance can be adjusted for your unique needs and budget. If it’s an older vehicle that isn’t worth much, then you might only carry liability insurance. If it’s a valuable vehicle, then most drivers carry full coverage car insurance with collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.

Consider Specialty Insurers

When shopping for quotes from large insurers, you may encounter high quotes – especially if it’s an exotic or high-end Japanese import vehicle.

If you’re finding prices surprisingly high, then consider working with a specialty insurer. Some insurers specialize in insuring import vehicles or foreign cars.

Working with these insurers may be preferable – even if pricing is the same. These insurers could cover the special parts needed to repair your car after an accident, for example. They’re also more familiar with the unique challenges, components, and modifications of a foreign car.

Some of the most popular JDM specialty insurers include Grundy and Hagerty.

Major Insurers Have Specialty Import Car Divisions

GEICO, USAA, and other major car insurance companies have specialty divisions for import vehicles. Depending on your type of Japanese import vehicle, this division may be the right option.

Consider requesting quotes from the following major insurers and specialty divisions for your Japanese domestic market (JDM) vehicle:

Progressive offers import car insurance through Hagerty.

  • GEICO offers import car insurance through American Modern. American Modern covers vintage vehicles (1995 and older), new exotic vehicles, replica cars, classic military vehicles, and hearses, among other unique options.
  • USAA offers import car insurance through American Collectors. Via American Collectors, USAA offers agreed value coverage, low mileage discounts, and automatic coverage for 30 days after import, among other perks.
  • State Farm offers classic car insurance through its main insurance division. If your car is 10 to 24 years old and imported from Japan, then it could qualify. Alternatively, it could qualify if it’s more than 25 years old and has historic interest.

If you already have insurance through GEICO, USAA, State Farm, or another major insurer, then consider getting your Japanese import vehicle insurance through the same company. You could save money through bundling discounts.

Other Things to Know About Japanese Import Car Insurance

In most cases, Japanese import car insurance works similar to domestic car insurance. However, there are certain other factors you need to consider when insuring your Japanese car in the United States, including:

Modifications: Many Japanese vehicles have extensive modifications. These modifications can extend the lifespan of a vehicle or change its aesthetics. Your insurer needs to know about these modifications. Otherwise, your insurer may not cover certain damage to your vehicle after a loss. If your Japanese import vehicle has aftermarket modifications, then tell your insurer about these modifications upfront.

Ask About OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts Coverage: If your Japanese import vehicle is damaged in an accident, then you may need costly replacement parts. Some insurance policies cover parts from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Other policies cover aftermarket parts. If you have a Japanese import vehicle, then shops may not have OEM parts available for speedy repairs. Some insurers may also charge higher premiums for OEM coverage on Japanese import vehicles.

Ask About Antique Coverage, Low Mileage Plans, & Other Unique Policies: If you’re having trouble finding affordable insurance for your Japanese import vehicle, then ask your insurer about low mileage plans, antique car coverage, and other unique coverages. Many large insurers – including State Farm – allow you to insure older vehicles under antique class coverage for an affordable price. Or, you could save money on insurance by driving fewer than 2,500 miles per year. If your Japanese import car is not your daily driver, then you may have alternative insurance options to save money.

Consider Specialty Insurers like Hagerty or Grundy: Hagerty and other collector car insurance companies may be the right choice for your Japanese import car, depending on the make, model, and year. Hagerty specializes in insuring unique vehicles and may be able to provide cheaper premiums for your Japanese import car.

Be Aware of VIN Issues on JDM Vehicles: Japanese domestic market (JDM) vehicles have different VINs than the 17-digit VINs used in North America. When applying for car insurance, you may encounter this VIN issue. Some insurers know how to get around it, while others do not. If a weird VIN issue is scaring away regular insurers from your JDM vehicle, then consider a specialty insurer like Grundy or Hagerty.

Consider Agreed Value or Stated Value Policies: Many specialty insurers offer agreed value or stated value policies. This may be common on vehicles that remain stable or increase in value – like a Nissan Skyline GT-R. With an agreed value or stated value policy, you and your insurer agree on a specific amount of coverage for your vehicle. For Japanese import vehicles with unusual valuations, an agreed value or stated value may be preferable.

You May Be Surprised by How Affordable Insurance Can Be: Many Japanese import car drivers are surprised by how affordable insurance can be. Yes, your car is unique and exotic and may have right-side driving. However, your insurance needs are not overly different from an ordinary domestic vehicle. Don’t be surprised to see insurance premiums quoted in the $50 to $200 per month range – similar to what you would pay for a standard vehicle in the United States.

Final Word

There’s no specific type of “import car insurance” for Japanese vehicles in the United States.

Once your Japanese domestic market (JDM) vehicle has arrived in the United States and passed state inspection, it’s eligible to be insured, similar to any domestic vehicle.

You can buy minimum liability insurance, full coverage car insurance, or whatever coverage you like – often from the same major insurance companies.

Alternatively, you can work with specialty insurers like Grundy and Hagerty, both of which have extensive experience insuring Japanese import vehicles. Or, you can work with the specialty divisions of major insurers – like American Collectors (from USAA) and American Modern (from GEICO).

Contact insurers and shop around for quotes today to find the best Japanese import car insurance for your unique needs.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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