I know that I will be as popular as a fart in a spacesuit but after reading yet more misleading posts concerning UK registered cars being used here & being asked by some customers about importing I thought I would do some more research. This was my original post on another site:-
With regard to the latter a couple of people had been offered a UK reg car with the seller's assurance that if the purchaser gets a French CT & French insurance, both of which are denoted by a sticker in the windscreen for all to see, they may continue to use the car on its UK plate quite legally. This is COMPLETE BULL!!! It is also very irresponsible & dishonest of the seller to mislead buyers in this way. The problem is that there are many Brits who actually do this but due to the lack of ANPR cameras in rural France some have been getting away with it for years (but check out the new gantries on the motorways leading into Bordeaux!). Although I do not condone the practice my only real concern is the validity of the insurance.
My local Axa agent is able to provide cover for up to 6 months on a UK car which is generous as French law states that a French resident (i.e. those of us who live here) has ONE MONTH to re-register an imported car. 6 months is the maximum time allowed by Axa Group.
Now someone will tell me that if I go to a certain Axa agent ( a good 150 km drive from me) they will give me cover for as long as I need it on a UK reg car. My trip will involve passing 25 other Axa agents who cannot do this, prompting the question of how this ONE agent IS allowed to?
There is, of course, a fundamental flaw in any argument regarding French insurance companies insuring UK cars and that is the matter of UK reg cars can only be insured by a UK based "authorised insurer" - “authorised insurer” means a person or body of persons carrying on insurance business within Group 2 in Part II of Schedule 2 to the [1982 c. 50.] Insurance Companies Act 1982 and being a member of the Motor Insurers' Bureau (a company limited by guarantee and incorporated under the [1929 c. 23.] Companies Act 1929 on 14th June 1946). Axa France, a different company from Axa PLC, is NOT a member, so, apart from the EU allowance to provide temporary cover to allow importation, Axa France cannot legally insure a UK registered vehicle.
If you have such "cover" at the moment, the time to find out that it is invalid is not when you have just been involved in a serious accident!
Importing your car is no real problem provided you get the correct advice - The French Government give you a step-by-step guide (in French) online. The only extra expenses are the need in most cases to change the headlights & get a Certificate of European Conformity, the cost of which can be as much as 170 euros which, despite the wailing & wringing of hands displayed by some tightwad Brits, most of us were paying EVERY YEAR for a little round piece of coloured paper to put in our windscreens in the Old Country! At least here it is a one-off payment & makes the rest of the process sooo much easier.
So, to sum up, if you are still driving a UK reg car despite being a French resident, man up & be responsible, make sure that your car is PROPERLY insured because the next accident you have could cost you dear & you owe it to every other road user to be correct.
Somebody else then posted that, under EEC Directive 2009/103/EC, it is possible for an EU insurer to insure a car from anywhere in the EU. I have not found anything to that effect so I added this:-
I cannot find any reference in the directive about foreign insurance companies being allowed to provide unlimited cover to UK reg cars, just the paragraph about temporary insurance for the purposes of import,
(27) Steps should be taken to make it easier to obtain
insurance cover for vehicles imported from one
Member State into another, even though the vehicle is
not yet registered in the Member State of destination. A
temporary derogation from the general rule determining
the Member State where the risk is situated should be
made available. For a period of 30 days from the date
when the vehicle is delivered, made available or
dispatched to the purchaser, the Member State of destination
should be considered to be the Member State
where the risk is situated.
The Motor Insurers Bureau also says
"A vehicle with UK plates must have insurance according to UK Law, which means it must be insured with an authorised insurer who is a member of the MIB."
(it must also be taxed & have a UK mot!)
The important thing is that a UK car cannot be owned by a French resident who therefore cannot legally use that car after a month here.
The times are slightly flexible but I cannot see how an insurance agent here can claim tobe able to cover UK reg cars here permanently, as an Axa agent in South East France claims. An email to them elicited this reply - "Thanks for your email regarding French car insurance for UK registered cars. Our office has a special mandate from AXA Head Office that allows us to insure cars on UK plates in France for an unspecified period of time."I thought that under EU rules a French company can only insure on a temporary basis for the purposes of importation?