Car insurance in France for American tourist

Is there a way for an American citizen (living in the US but visiting France) to purchase a 25 year old car in France and get the vehicle insured long enough to get it to a port for export to the US? I’ve had no luck with the major American insurance companies. Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

Have you tried a French insurance agency? Another thing to consider is to check and see if the 25 year old vehicle can be imported to the United States. Not all foreign vehicles can be imported.

Unless it’s a very special car, importing it to the US may be more trouble than it’s worth. Find US based used car importers who specialize in this service. They may be able to help with insurance as well. There may also be DOT and EPA issues to deal with. I brought several cars to the US from Germany back in the 1980’s, but it was 3DM to the USD back then. There were a number of importers and compliance companies in Houston at the time.

Check with American Express office in France, check with the US Embassy, and if you are a AAA member back in the states see if they can advise you.

To my knowledge, any vehicle 25 years old or older is exempt from DOT and EPA issues. French insurance companies won’t help either.

Years ago I spent a month in France with a Dutch registered car. I had to buy special French insurance available through the Tourist Bureau, no big deal and also got discount gas coupons available only to tourists.

I’m sure you can get French insurance, but you may need to buy 3 months worth. Try the French touris bureau first. It’s similar to getting Mexican insurance for your car at the border.

@brownjeff - you are mistaken. While safety regs (DOT) don’t apply to cars older than 25 years, EPA regs do. It must be a 1968 or older model for EPA certification not to be needed.

More info here:

What year/model are you considering?

@texases - 1987 Citroen CX ambulance, 2.5l diesel.

So it sounds like you won’t be able to import it. There are lots of EPA regs that apply to an '87.

OK, thanks a bunch. Lots more to think about now!

Thanks texases for the clarification on the EPA regs. I ran into this problem years ago. I “bought” a Porsche 944 from an Air Force friend of mine who was stationed in Germany. I waited for 3 months and then found out that the car could not be imported because of various regulations including the EPA. I was already at my next assignment before I ever got my refund.

It’s almost impossible for an individual to import ANY non-US model car into the United States no matter how old it is…

@Caddyman The only exception might be Canadian built vehicles, which are very close in specs with US non-California models. The last time I checked Canadian models differed in their metric speedometers and odometers, a stronger back seat anchor hook for child seats, daytime running lights and slightly stronger bumpers. Emissions were the same as 49 state regs.

Some years ago a colleague working in Venzuela wanted to bring back his wife’s 1994 Mazda 323, which was made in Colombia. It had virtually no emission comntrols, only seat belts in the front, weak bumpers, etc. It took me a while to convince him that there was no economic way to bring this car up to US standards.

Importing “grey market” cars (usually from Europe or Canada) was once a profitable business…The FEDS shut it down. Individuals could import NOTHING…No “European Delivery” plans, nothing…When you go to register and title the car, the DMV enters the VIN and it must be from a legal U.S. specification model…

@texases I guess you just need to know the right people…