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Insurance and registration of a U.S. car

Posted by glubsch - Created: 14 years ago
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Hello,I've been living in the U.S.A. for six years and want to come back to Europe. I found a great job opportunity in Villeneuve-Loubet but soon I will have to deal with car insurance and registration. I own a 1998 Ford Mustang convertible.I read many threads in this forum talking about registering cars from the European Union, but has anyone gone through the actual process of registering a U.S. car? I very much doubt that my U.S. insurer will provide me any insurance in France. Is there a chance that I can use my car from the first day it has arrived in France? Who would provide me with a reasonably priced insurance?Biggest trouble is that I don't speak French at all and I'm sure it's going to take me a while to learn it but I want to register the car as soon as possible so that I don't need to rent a car.Stephan

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6 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 6)

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Posted by garage victoria - 14 years ago


We recently went through that process with one of our customer who move from L.A with severals collectors cars.

The main thing is to make sure with Ford France that your car model Mustang 1998 has been imported and registered with UTTAC ( French car registration); You may be able to find that from Ford USA, if it is not the case I strongly recommend you abandon the idea of bringing back your car. Should it be sold in France u need to have from Ford France the French Identification n° of their registration in Europe, they usually charge a fee of about € 150.

You will have in anycase to change headlights to EC standard, Seat belts, Parking lights and so on to match their specifications. It is a long process and can be costly.

Concerning insurance I suggest you get a report from your actual insurance company stating how long u have been insured with them and of course free of accident. This document may entitle you to a bonus with a French insurance company.

Good luck


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Posted by glubsch - 14 years ago

Abas, Charlie,Both your feedback is very helpful to me. My decision is now firm that we'll bring our Mustang to France. Since we will move beginning of April, I haven't contacted the insurance companies yet.Charlie, would you please give me the contact information of your specialist in Cannes? What I don't understand is why you had to pay 18% tax. I thought tax is only due if you owned the car less than six months. Or did this regulation change only recently?Stephan

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Posted by ChB-184121 - 14 years ago

I imported my Mustang some 5 years ago, I took it to a specialist in Cannes who "knew a man" who could get a clean CT and ignore the bits that do not comply, (Brake lights/indicators combined, for instance) which cost about 1500Euros, plus any other works that needed doing (mine needed a couple of tyres and a rear brake drum) then he got it through the Mines and I received a french carte gris.

as for importation tax, I had to pay 18% of the value plus the shipping before it could leave customs.

good luck,  Charlie

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Posted by abas - 14 years ago

In regards to your Insurance, most Insurance companies will accept your previous 'no-claims bonus' if you have any. You will need to provide a certificate to prove how many years you have.

I had 5 years no-claims from the UK. I moved over to France and obtained 50% bonus from my Insurers.

If you are looking for insurance, then I would reccomend you contact Westerzee France on 0493 77 17 10

They offer good rates and speak perfect English and accept your previous driving experience, outside of France.

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Posted by glubsch - 14 years ago

Hi Chuck,Thank you very much for your reply. My company will take care of the shipping but I don't know the shipper yet. I found out that if I shipped the car to Germany that the shipping would be somewhere between $500 and $800. The German registration is EUR590. I'll be shipping from San Francisco.The last information that you provided is very helpful for me. I contacted my insurance and indeed will they cover me during the first months in France. The premium will double but I think this will still be much cheaper than the premium in France as I would need to find an insurer first that covers me with no driver history in France. It's probably also associated with much less hassle.Stephan

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Posted by Chuck-188355 - 14 years ago

Hi Stephan,

I haven't done this yet but am also thinking about it.  There's an American car garage near Nice that will do it for you for around $2000. Or you can try to do it yourself.  You would need to make any necessary changes to bring it to EU specs then take it to the "Bureau des Mines" where they will check it out and issue a "certificate of conformite" which has the necessary info for the Carte grise(title) and insurance. Not sure how much this would cost but I may go there one day to see what is involved.

I want to bring over a Firebird for my wife. I'm concerned about shipping and taxes.  I think if you own the car in USA for at least 6months you dont have to pay tax.  Have you found a shipper? Where are you shipping from?

The other alternative is to ship to England, once it is on English plates it will be much easier to put on French plates.  Anyway once you get it here you can drive it on USA plates/insurance for a while.