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Nicola-mod, Moderator
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9
Experience:  Moderator
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I am a resident of South Africa who travels to the UK and Europe

Customer Question

I am a resident of South Africa who travels to the UK and Europe often on holiday. I normally hire a Motor-Home from a rental company. To save money I want to buy my own Motor-Home in the UK. My research has shown that this is possible. However I am struggling on the internet, to find an Insurance Company that will insure me as a foreigner to own and drive a vehicle in the UK. So the crux is I need to know if I can legally get motor insurance in the UK as a foreigner living in another country and holidaying to the UK?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

I'm not sure what you wanted to know specifically about this?

Certainly there is no reason in law that you cannot be insured in the UK if you live elsewhere. You do need to be a resident of the UK to get a driving licence but thats different.

However, insurance companies are private companies and can refuse to insure you for any reason they choose unless it actually offends against something like equal opportunities. If they are refusing you on the basis or you are struggling to find one that will insure you then that is a view they are entitled to take.

Yes, though, in principle, you can be insured if you live elsewhere.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,


Thanks for the quick answer.


I think let us look at the root of the issue. I am not a UK resident and I do not hold a UK licence. I hold a South African drivers licence which is always recognised in the UK when I am there on holiday.


I want to buy a UK vehicle to use there when I am on holiday but the authorities will not register it without insurance. Wherever I apply I get asked the same question, "Am I a resident of the UK and do I hold a full UK drivers licence"


Based on that I was getting the impression that it was possibly againnst the law for a "Non UK Resident" to own a vehicle in the UK.


If I can legally own a vehicle in the UK then surely I must be permitted to buy insurance? let us accept that there is no other reason such as driving history and so on to offend the insurer.


Can you comment on whether I am legally allowed to purchase a vehicle and secondly as to whether I can be refused insurance on the grounds that I am a foreigner?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I suspected you might get that response.

No, there is no law upon the point per se. But obviously that is a view they are entitled to take and I had thought that might well be their policy.

Yes, they can refuse on that basis. The issue is not that you are a foreigner as that would offend against the equal opportunities legislation. The issue is that you live abroad which does not.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

But when I hire a vehicle in the UK I get insurance even though I am a foreigner living abroad? Is that not an equal opportunity conflict?


Is there a law that says a foriegner living abroad may not own a vehicle in the UK?



Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No. There's no equal opportunities issue here.

No. You can own a vehicle in the UK although it needs to be registered to a UK address.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So I am permitted to own a vehicle in the UK which will be registered at a family members address in Canterbury but I will not be able to register it as I can't get the required insurance for MOT and Tax? This seems to be a catch 22 situation? Would you comment on this a a final one.


Is there anything else you could recommend?


If I ask "Just Answer" for the name of a Motor Insurance Company who will insure me do you think it is something they would be able to answer?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Yes, you can own a vehicle in the UK but you must keep it at a UK based address otherwise it isn't really owned in the UK.

They are able to refuse you insurance for this reason I'm afraid.

Its quite unlikely that anybody could find you an insurer who will cover it. Its really an application that you will have to make as all applications are considered upon the individual and that will demand information that only you will have.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,


Sorry I am not trying to labour this, but if I legally purchase the motorhome in the UK and register it at the address of my niece, then as per your answer above in line 2, is it owned in the UK.


if that is the case, then how do I register it if I cant get insurance.


Last question: If I want to continue my discussion with you in the same line, but changing the direction of my question altogether, how do I ask another paid question and ensure you answer it not someone else?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
1 Yes, but you must keep it at that address.

2 If you cannot get insurance then it cannot be kept I'm afraid. You need to look at it in stages - yes, you can own a vehicle and keep it in the UK but whether you can get insurance is a matter for the companies. If you cannot then it cannot be lawfully kept unfortunately.

3 You can post another question requesting me. Obviously it might not be my area but I can refer you onto somebody who will help.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.

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