Bringing a British car to Germany

39 posts in this topic

Posted

Given it's got quite so cold in Munich recently, I'm considering bringing my MR-2 over from the UK, as I've only been here for a few months, and really had no idea how cold it gets. The S-Bahn, now they've changed everything so nothing connects together anymore, now sucks.

Can I just tell my insurance company I'm going to be driving the car in Germany, and drive it over from the UK? The trips about about 650 miles according to Autoroute. My car is taxed and MOT'd over here, but is just sitting on my driveway, rotting away through lack of use.

I was wondering, as I'm sure many people will have already tried this, how easy is it to bring a car over to Germany on a tempory basis? I'm not really sure how long we'll be here, because I work on a six month rolling contract basis, so don't really want to lease a car, or buy one for that matter, as I'm uncertain how long my job out here might last. I'm told it will go on for two to three years, but's who's to say.

As a tourist you can drive where you like in Europe, but I read elsewhere there is a six month limit where you have to register the car under the German system. I may use the car for a trip home every now and then, so I could arrange for it to be here no more and five months and three weeks etc. I speak no German at the moment, so all of this is a real pain for me.

One thing I would need to do though, is to change my UK tires for some one that grip well in the snow. Is this a service provided by the local dealership? Can I get it done in the UK before I travel out to Germany, which, when I left to go home for Christmas, was covered in snow?

Kind Regards,

Shane Cook.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Fraid I can't help you that much, but I reckon that winter tyres are going to be a hell of a lot more expensive in the UK where nobody uses them than they are here, where you can get them changed at every garage, pit stop. Perhaps drive over (assuming everything else will be ok) and get them changed while you wait at the first garage across the border?

But then maybe I'm talking bollocks, because I really don't have a clue about cars...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Yes there is officially a six month limit, however nobody is counting the days (not unless you have really nosey neighbours). I'd just bring it over and worry about registering it or not if and when the time comes, not do it straight away just in case. But you ought of course to go back when your MOT expires, not that anyone will check that here either. The tax disc is a bit more obvious as it has the expiry date on it, but then you don't need to take the car back to renew that.

As for the tyres, well my info is about the same as Kathie's. I have no idea what decent winter or all-weather tyres cost in the UK. But if you want to bring the car over during the winter I would recommend changing the tyres beforehand, either that or driving very carefully! I know a Brit who came over on standard UK-issue tyres one Christmas and wrote the car off on the way home coz he lost it just trying to keep up with the speed of the traffic on the Autobahn.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I would bring it over on regular tyres - and if it happens to be cold at the time - i.e. anywhere near freezing then take it extra careful exactly as you would in the UK when it hits freezing! It does get cold in the UK as well sometimes! Main difference is that standard tyres have less grip at below 7 degrees (the rubber compound gets harder).

I would personally think INSURANCE will be the biggest drama for you. Your UK insurance will probably only cover you for a certain number of days overseas - like 30 or something per annum.

If you have a smack up then you will need to fill in insurance forms that will of course ask WHEN and WHY you brought the car over etc. Also they may figure out that you are not "living" as such in the UK etc.

Plan B would be to get the UK to extend your insurance (good luck!), or get German insurance (Bob hope and no hope on a UK car).

I brought my UK motorbike over last year and switched to German registration and insurance...what a game that was!!! But it can be done and I find insurance of all types cheaper over here...so actually could be cheaper than keeping UK insurance. The paperwork is a pain but you should have 30 days under UK insurance to complete the changeover.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

JE is right! How could I forget about insurance. UK insurers are paranoid about driving "on the continent". Yep, get that sorted before anything else!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Scook17 - If you want to use your car for any out-of-town driving (the only reason to have a car, really) between now and March you should get winter tyres fitted. They cost 40 to 80 euro each (165/70R14 size), and the fitting is usually pretty reasonable too. There was a thread a while back about where to get them fitted, and the ADAC mag gave the following good reviews:

Continental W.Con TS780

Michelin Alpin A2

Semperit Winter Grip

If you only want one season look for some used ones already mounted on wheels.

No experience with the insurance transfer but German companies will take over your UK no-claims, you just need a piece of paper saying how many years you've got. I imagine you'd have to re-register your car here before you'll get insurance but I'm not sure - that may be a pain in the arse as your car will probably have to go through the German MOT, called the TUV, similar to the MOT but they actually check your car over...

PP

EDIT: Forget all season tyres - worst of all worlds by most accounts.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

There is a car down just off Taxistrasse (Taxisgarten) been here ages with English plates.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I thought the 6 month rule was a 12 month rule. If your contract is rolling and you keep popping back to 'live' in UK then I imagine you could legally claim that the 12 month (or maybe it's 6) would start again after each time you 'lived' in the UK. Insurance will be the prob I guess. German insurers may not be that keen to insure a GB plated car. No idea how UK insurance works these days

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I also drove my car over here (6 months ago), took the overnight ferry from hawich to cuxhaven (north germany) and drove down the autobahns all the way, this is a longer journey in total but you spend less time driving (especially important if you are on your own and can't share the driving)

Anyway, legal stuff - you are allowed by UK to bring your car over here for 12 months without exporting it but german law states you must register the car in germany after 6 months (long complicated process) but don't think this is really enforced. Tax is no problem as if it does run out while you are here you can still renew via post. MOT is a must and you should not let this expire during your stay.

Insurance is the big setback - just about all UK insurance companies will only insure you for a 3 month period in one year in europe. After this period you will only be insured 3 party.

All german insurance companies insist you have a german number plate before they will insure your car (this means exporting from england by filling out section on V5) and then importing to germany, aswell as much paperwork this also requires that you modify your car to meet german specifications (e.g changes for driving on right (wrong) side of road). You should also contact your insurance company and tell them that you are cancalling your insurance as you are moving abroad and then they will give you a valid proof of no claims bonus.

My car has now been sitting in a garage for 3 months - parts now arrived to make it legal over here (in my case was new rear lights as mine only had one reverse and one fog light and they were on the wrong sides of the car but you may need more such as modifications / change of front lights) still to start the paperwork but not looking forward to it.

As people have said to me before, unless you really like your car, it is much easier to sell it over there and buy a new one here (they are also cheaper here).

For info most people don't really need a car in munich unless you are living on the outskirts or out of town as the public transport is excellent.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

When I first came to Munich I brought my car with me and drove it here for about 18months without re-registering it. I didn't have any problems.

I even got stopped a few times by the copy for speeding and they wern't too bothered. They were more interested in ensuring that I payed the speeding fines since I had UK plates. They even took me to a cash machine so that I could pay on the spot :angry:

I got the Green card from my UK insurance company which was for 6 months at a time.

I drove the car back a few times to reset the clock and just asked Direct Line to issue me with another Green Card. I even had a fairly major accident in Germany and Direct Line payed up without any problems.

Can't comment on the MOT situation since my car was new. I just made sure my Tax disc was upto date.

I've been here 6 years now so I sold it back in the UK and bought a German car.

Insurance for my German car is alot cheaper than my UK car was even though its in a higher insurance group :D

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The weather is nice again and it's not that cold outside anymore, so leave that car at home :P

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I had my car over here for about 9 months without any problems... i was even stopped a few times by the cops but had no problems. Insurance is the only headach... as mentioned earlier by someone, most UK insurance companies won't insure you for more than a month at a time. However, legally they all have to provide at least third party cover for the whole of EU, so you would be third party covered. Having said that, I know CIS insurance give full cover europwide as standard without any time limit.

Getting your registered over here is a headach, and probbaly not worth the effort if you're only here temporarily.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I've had my car here for 6 months with no problems. Been stopped a few times at night, and even once had the car towed, and there is no tax disk etc, but to be honest the police never seemed at all bothered. Every time I have been stopped I just speak english ( I can't speak german yet) and within a minute or so they just give up and leave me alone.(too much work for them) All my german mates wish they had an english car like mine!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I guess it depends if you wanna be legal or just "wing it". I would prefer to be 100% legal in case of worst case scenario like you hit a pedestrian.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi scook,

I brought my classic car over in April 2001. It wasn't easy. First I had to get it through the British MOT and then drove it here hoping that it wouldn't conk out, and it wouldn't rain. Amazingly, that part succeeded.

Once here my British insurance allowed me 90 days to drive on the continent. You can only get insured from a UK insurer if you are military or a government employee. I already investigated.

So, I had to get the car inspected for it's value (I suppose this is only because it is a classic and they would have to rebuild it). That cost time and money. Then I had to TüV it (German MOT). This is a hell of a lot more stringent than the MOT, and it only passed on the third attempt. The biggest nightmare was when the TüV claimed that the engine size did not exist. It took the factory in Italy to confirm that I had what I was claiming.

Insurance and tax is cheap, because the car has "H" plates (Historic), which means I can drive it all year on the one set of UK tyres. I was also fortunate that it is LHD to start with.

I highly recommend you find a specialist who can get the car through the TüV and register it with the KfZ. If you don't speak German you are going to have a bloody nightmare. I know one guy in Schwabing who speaks English and could do it, but he's more a specialist for 50's and 60's Italian sports cars. Maybe you should be trying to make contact with the local MR2 owners club and find an English speaker willing to help there?

There are some plus points though... My tip is that when you go to the KfZ to hand in your British number plates and get a German number, lie about the size of the recess for the rear plate. This will mean you get a shorter number. Take off 2cm all round when you measure it. Then be very, very charming to the nice lady who dishes out the number and ask for a personalised plate. This cost me an extra 22 Euros. Make sure you have options on the number sequence you want, because a lot are taken.

Good luck. You may want to consider floggin' the motor in the UK and using the dosh to get something here instead.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Just to add my experiences...

I have an old 405 that I've had for three years and have no wish to part with, as it is a good car and I don't think I would get anything as (touch wood) reliable as what I now have for the money I would get selling it.

I also don't know how long I'll be in Germany - could be a year, could be five years. So...

I'm insured with Endsleigh. They give "European Extensions" for up to two months -- and it took quite a while for them to admit that this wasn't actually a necessary thing. They told me that I would have to cancel my insurance after these two months and get insurance in germany. After more discussions and a careful reading of my policy, it turns out this is not the case, and that I am insured with them third party only for ANY european country ALL the time. They indicated that they would not be happy to continue my cover after my renewal if I remained in Germany. Fair enough.

In the meantime I found that ADAC will offer cover to foreign plates in germany for up to a year -- but at about 100E/month (email head office and then apply through a local branch). I didn't pursue this further as I couldn't afford this. A further alternative is a policy from a company in swansea called stuart collins - an "extended foreign use scheme" with AXA Insurance. This was going to be about twice what I pay now though... again not really an option.

So in the end I am continuing with my Endsleigh insurance.

Regarding the 6 month thing -- I think someone told me this was down to 3 months. As a precaution I'm making sure that I drive to another country at least every two months and get some friends to come with me as witnesses. I have no idea if this really is a loop hole, but just in case I get into trouble and it might help it seems worth it.

I have no idea what I will do in the summer when my renewal comes up.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi ,

a couple of points I've picked up through doing something similar:

If you are going to have the car registered here in Germany you will have to:

Swap out the headlight units as the prism setup is not correct for driving on german roads ( can't usually be adjusted and the temporary patches that you can buy on ferries etc. when coming over will not let you get through the MOT that you need to register).

If you have ONLY miles displayed on the speedo , you'll also need to get this swapped for one showing kms.

If you have a private plate in the UK, make sure you de-register the car in the UK and get a normal one before re-registering in Germany - otherwise you'll lose the private plate !

You'll find it next to impossible to get winter tires in the UK so only option is really in Germany / Europe - but its not illegal to drive without winter tires here - just you may get problems is you have an accident with the insurance.

Hope this helps

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

actually it is now illegal to drive in Germany without winter tyres when the roads are effected by snow or ice. read the winter tyre thread for details. You can be fined by the police, your insurance is invalid, which also means you cab be done by the police for driving without insurance. And if you get into an accident (your fault or not) you will sit on a tidy sum of debt for the near future.

If it snows, people without winter tyres are required by law NOT TO DRIVE.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I brought over my car and had to change the headlights. peugoet 306 1.9. that was all it seems. had its TUV done at the peugoet garage on berg am laim where there is a nice english man.

relocation lady did export docs for me so dont know about that.

insurance (in fiance's name as second car) is only third party and costs about 800é. not cheap. but that was also because we used up the no claims discount on other car.

i think it was definitely worth it though as i love my little car and have no plans of getting rid of it until it passes away!!

one thing though, EVERYONE stares at you!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

on a slightly different note, I was contemplating on going back to blighty to ship some of my gear over here and had the bright idea of buying a banger in the UK and then ditching it once I've driven back here with my stuff.

would anybody know a good german scrap-dealer where I could dump the car?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Define 'good'. What constitutes a bad scrap dealer, and why would only a good one work for your purpose?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Well, I'd guess a bad scrap dealer is one who'd tell you it's going to cost you 50 euro to get your wreck towed away. A good one will tell you your car is worth a couple of hundred scrap.

Phone the garage Stimmer & Sohn, Car repair garages and auto mechanics, and ask them for the scrappy they use who is their neighbour (a KFZ gutachter). I'm using them to scrap my car and found them helpful so they may be able to help you - they're at least friendly but I think they speak only German.

PP

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I was thinking it would be nice to bring this post up to date. I am considering buying a UK registered car and will going over to pick it up. I can change the front lights myself. Buying Winter tyres online and having them sent to the UK, is an option which could have helped when the post was originally posted. I saved 200 Euros on German prices for ADAC test winner tyres by doing that, so it must pay, even when postal charges are high to the UK. It is now illegal to drive in winter conditions, with summer tyres fitted, in Germany. In the event of an accident, as previously mentioned, the insurance companies might not pay. There could be serious consequences and court cases in the event of an accident and a death, if the accident could have been avoided by using winter tyres. I don't personally believe in all-weather tyres, but that's another story.

I would like to see this post start moving again, just to find out the moves required, from buying the vehicle to driving the vehicle from the point of sale to a ferry and on to Germany. Any tips would be helpful. Thanks

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Even tips on how to save when driving a vehicle with a car transporter trailer attached, on to a ferry, without being clobbered with freight charges. Sounds odd, but I might be taking a car bought in Germany over and will then pick the UK based car up and take it back. The person in the UK has bought a German classic car near my location (1977) to restore it (can't be driven) and he lives near where one car I want is located; just a coincidence!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The other thing you might need if you are reregistering depending on the age of your car is the EU Certificate of Conformance. Your manufacturer has to provide it - some are quicker than others. BMW in the UK were very quick but I've heard others can take 4/6 weeks to produce it. We reregistered last year - changed the front lights, got a TUV, turned up at the vehicle registration office with lots of papers and there you go.

If you don't reregister, don't forget you still need an environmental number disk to drive in towns, there's no exemption for foreigners and EUR 40 fine I think if you don't have one. Can get one of those from the Cologne vehical office by post for EUR 5 for a UK registered car

Good luck...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now