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Old 14.09.2006, 17:01
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Car insurance issues (focus on UK cars in Switzerland)

[Moderate note: This thread was originally born from one about selling a car. The original thread is here]

Hi Esther

I'm not interested in buying your car I'm afraid as I have also brought mine from the UK! Am having trouble getting insurance though, can you tell me who you used.

Thanks
Polly

Last edited by mark; 15.09.2006 at 10:53.
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Old 14.09.2006, 17:27
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Re: “English” car for sale

If you have Brit plates, try The AA who should if things are as they were 10 years ago give you an annual green card.

If you convert to Swiss plates, no problem.
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Old 14.09.2006, 17:40
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Re: “English” car for sale

Many UK insurance companies give you a limited duration insurance. It may be limited duration driven in Switzerland, so if you are "driving to and from UK". Check your policy.

dave

Quote:
If you have Brit plates, try The AA who should if things are as they were 10 years ago give you an annual green card.

If you convert to Swiss plates, no problem.
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Old 14.09.2006, 17:51
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Re: “English” car for sale

Thanks for that Lob.

One question though, how do you actually go about converting to swiss plates?

Thanks
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Old 14.09.2006, 17:55
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Re: “English” car for sale

oh that's easy. You go to a garage who specialise in your car make, get them to do the work and then get papers from the STVA (Swiss-German traffic licencing authority) to check the car and make it legal in Swizterland.

And then realise that you can't sell the car for love nor money
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Old 14.09.2006, 17:59
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Re: “English” car for sale

Thanks, there is so much conflicting advice on this all over the internet.
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Old 14.09.2006, 18:00
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Re: “English” car for sale

Ummm, maybe I'm missing something obvious here, but if cars in the UK are much more expensive and have their steering wheels on the wrong side wouldn't it be better not to bring a UK car here. Surely selling it for a higher price in the UK and then buying the same model here for a lower price would make more sense? It would also mean you'd have no paperwork or insurance hassles?

Maybe I've missing something, in which case I'm putting on my hard hat and waiting for a torrent of abuse By the way, my comments are not aimed at the original poster, but anyone who is driving around or contemplating driving around a UK car over here.
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Old 14.09.2006, 18:09
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Re: “English” car for sale

Hey Mark

To answer your question (in my case anyway), we had two cars in the UK and sold one but brought the other one over here with loads of our stuff in it. It's old (97) so not worth much anyway and we figured might as well keep it till we get a new one.

You're right though, if we had known in advance how much we had to do we would never have brought it. We were advised by my husbands relocators that it would be no problem, but we should have checked up on that ourselves!

Only other option is to sell it here or trade it in, but in the meantime need to sort out insurance as my UK cover runs out soon!!
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Old 14.09.2006, 18:11
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Re: “English” car for sale

With the steering wheel on the wrong side, you find:
  • car park ticket machines to be "a challenge"
  • overtaking to be "different" as you can't see as well
  • speed cameras to be "ineffective" as they need raised numbers if what I see is correct
  • value of said car zero so plan to keep it for life
  • conversion costs reasonable-to-high
  • warranty .... works with BMW
  • eventually either the car or you and the car will go home
You can drag it out with a Brit car over here, I managed 18 months, some people years, without converting. I figured it was time to sell the car in the UK and get a local one when they caught up with me
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Old 14.09.2006, 18:23
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Re: “English” car for sale

Zurich will insure a UK car.
I asked a broker recommended to me by HR.

They insured my UK car while I moved us and for a month or 3 over here.
You know, the Ikea runs to stock up of furniture etc

I felt it was better to have insurance with a green card from my Swiss address.
Greencards are expensive in the UK, and I no longer had a UK address which would invalidate insurance there...
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Old 14.09.2006, 23:53
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Re: “English” car for sale

we have our UK car over here, we also drove over with it piled high with our belongings, we have driven back and forth a few times since and are still insured with a UK insurance company, unfortunately its only insured 3rd party whilst abroad at the moment and not insured for me to drive we are however looking into the AA to insure - we will eventually take it back to the UK and sell once we are fully settled here but in the meantime we hardly use it (only at weekends) and as long as I am a passenger we can get by with the car park ticket machines etc...

Quote:
Hey Mark

To answer your question (in my case anyway), we had two cars in the UK and sold one but brought the other one over here with loads of our stuff in it. It's old (97) so not worth much anyway and we figured might as well keep it till we get a new one.

You're right though, if we had known in advance how much we had to do we would never have brought it. We were advised by my husbands relocators that it would be no problem, but we should have checked up on that ourselves!

Only other option is to sell it here or trade it in, but in the meantime need to sort out insurance as my UK cover runs out soon!!
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Old 15.09.2006, 09:27
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Re: “English” car for sale

Quote:
are still insured with a UK insurance company, unfortunately its only insured 3rd party whilst abroad at the moment and not insured for me to drive
You'll be happy to know that once you switch over to Swiss insurance there will be none of that named driver business - anyone will be able to drive your car. So next time you have a few too many to drink on an evening out you can ask a friend to drive instead of either leaving your car or driving anyway. I always found that named driver stuff totally insane anyway!
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Old 15.09.2006, 09:31
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Re: “English” car for sale

yes indeed, my insurance guy still laughs at me now. "Can I ride my missus' bike?" - "Yes of course, here in Switzerland the car is insured not the driver".

Do watch out for caveats like over-25s only policies

If anyone wants a recommendation, I can put you in touch with him as he speaks excellent English (he's Mr "Okey Dokey") and will work hard to get you the best discount he possibly can
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Old 15.09.2006, 09:43
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Re: “English” car for sale

Quote:
yes indeed, my insurance guy still laughs at me now. "Can I ride my missus' bike?" - "Yes of course, here in Switzerland the car is insured not the driver".
The UK is the only country I know of so far that insures drivers not cars, but there may be others. The over-25 thing (as far as I know) is not something to worry about for casual drivers (i.e. one-offs). I remember in Australia that if someone drove a car more than 12 years per year then they had to be written into the policy (i.e. could make it more expensive if under 25), but for casual use any licensed driver could drive.

Nicky - if you do switch over to a Swiss car or Swiss insurance you might find that comprehensive is not worth it. Most people have 3rd party only once their car is more than a couple of years old (mine included). The reason is that the fully comprehensive insurance is a rip-off - they calculate your premium based on the new value, but only pay you the second hand value if you have to claim!

Damn - now this thread is turning into a useful insurance thread - might have to clip it off at the point where it stopped being about a car for sale and put it somewhere else
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Old 15.09.2006, 09:49
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Re: “English” car for sale

Quote:
yes indeed, my insurance guy still laughs at me now. "Can I ride my missus' bike?" - "Yes of course, here in Switzerland the car is insured not the driver".

Do watch out for caveats like over-25s only policies

If anyone wants a recommendation, I can put you in touch with him as he speaks excellent English (he's Mr "Okey Dokey") and will work hard to get you the best discount he possibly can
I wouldn't mind his details lob, we got some insurance quotes here and they were over double what we're paying in the UK hence not changing over yet. Plus we wanted to import it here and that was going to cost us a small fortune also!!
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Old 15.09.2006, 09:53
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Re: “English” car for sale

Quote:
Nicky - if you do switch over to a Swiss car or Swiss insurance you might find that comprehensive is not worth it. Most people have 3rd party only once their car is more than a couple of years old (mine included). The reason is that the fully comprehensive insurance is a rip-off - they calculate your premium based on the new value, but only pay you the second hand value if you have to claim!
Thats interesting Mark, maybe thats why we've had huge insurance quotes, although i can't imagine not insuring fully comp, I've only ever insured 3rd party when I was a student driving around old bangers. Also the way the Swiss drive i would be nervous not to be fully comp??
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Old 15.09.2006, 09:56
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Re: “English” car for sale

Interestingly, you lease a car and it's mandatory to have fully-comprehensive insurance.

You lease a car and afterwards, you need a statement from the leasing company to get the lease-code off your car papers so that you can cancel those papers (code IIRC is BH/1?).

Mark, I agree that this could be chopped into a useful information for car leasing and insurance.

Nicky - I'll PM you with his details.
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Old 15.09.2006, 10:01
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Re: “English” car for sale

Quote:
Thats interesting Mark, maybe thats why we've had huge insurance quotes, although i can't imagine not insuring fully comp, I've only ever insured 3rd party when I was a student driving around old bangers. Also the way the Swiss drive i would be nervous not to be fully comp??
Actually, I find the Swiss to be reasonable drivers, but I drive on the same side as they do when I'm in Switzerland

You have to make the choice about whether it is worth it for you or not and then decide whether you can take the risk. To give you an example my previous car was worth 9,000 when I finally sold it, and I was paying about 1,800 francs for the comprehensive part (2,500 total) per year. This is because they were calculating the premium as if the car was still worth 80-100k. So the way I saw it was that I was paying 20% of the value of the car per year - the odds were just way too high for my tastes!

Remember you only really need comprehensive when you are the driver at fault, so the question then is whether you feel confident as a driver or not - if not pay the extra money - it's just a risk/reward calculation, and it is heavily weighted in the favour of the insurer.
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Old 15.09.2006, 10:07
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Re: “English” car for sale

Quote:
Interestingly, you lease a car and it's mandatory to have fully-comprehensive insurance.
Correct - same in all the countries I've lived in though. The reason is that when there is finance on the car the bank wants to know that they have the ability to sell the car should you stop paying. If you write the car off in an accident, they no longer have any way to recover their money should you stop paying!

Also useful to point out that when the Swiss say "leasing" they actually mean "finance". I understand leasing to be a totally different arrangement to financing - when you lease another company owns the car, you just pay to use it - effectively paying the depreciation and the case of a fully-operating lease a fixed cost for maintenance and sometimes fuel. It's effectively like finance, but with 0%-10% deposit and you only pay off like 50% over 3-4 years and then give the car back.

When the Swiss say "lease" you have to pay a deposit and pay off the entire amount over the term (3-4 years). This sounds pretty much like a straight bank loan to me! When I tried (in 2000) to get a proper "lease" they just looked at me like I had landed from Mars, but maybe in the meantime such a product has arrived, I don't know.
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Old 15.09.2006, 10:14
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Re: “English” car for sale

Insurance - not sale:

Swiss drivers aside, I'd say the chances of you hitting an expensive car here are higher than, say, France or UK.
This means higher repair costs etc, which should surely reflect in premiums.

I decided on Swiss insurance for my (low value) UK car for my peace of mind.
Right hand drive car, my inexperience on the wrong side of the road...

This was also based on advice of my other half (12 years UK insurance work).
She said not to trust a UK insurer to cough up if something happened... also UK issued green card expense.

The Swiss vs UK cost was about the same but Swiss cover was better and had a green card, but then I was paying inner city premium in the UK.
If you're paying Scottish Highlands rates, you're in for a shock...
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