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I have recently relocated to a different EU country, and as a resident I will have to register my overseas car here. After that, will I have to notify my home country that the car has been registered here or is it done automatically?

Further on, if I fail to notify my home country, will both registrations be valid at the same time?

Not that I plan on doing it, but it has occurred to me that this could be a loophole if insurance is far cheaper in one of the countries involved.

I know that in the case of UK/Ireland there might be further implications as you need to modify the car to make it road legal of you bring it from the continent and viceversa.

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    Why would you give your insurance company any reason to deny coverage after an accident? – magma Jun 22 '15 at 22:07
  • I've taken an Italian-registered car to Germany and registered it there. The Germans registered the car, gave me German papers and plates and kept the Italian ones, but I had to go back to Italy to actually unregister the car there (and pay a fee in the neighborhood of € 100). During that time, my car was effectively registered in both places – with all the downsides (such as paying tax twice) but none of the benefits, as I could no longer take any real advantage of the Italian registration. – user149408 Dec 16 '16 at 23:42
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Communication between countries are not really good, so yes, if you register your car anywhere, you have to tell your old country to remove their car from their registry. Otherwise you'd have to pay the taxes and insurance in both countries, which you probably don't want to do, right?

But this would also mean it is entirelly possible to have a car registered in two countries. This won't really help you in any way tough. Let's imagine you have a car that is registered in both Hungary and the UK:

  • In the UK, road tax and (3rd party) insurance is expensive, in Hungary it's comparatively really really cheap (for me for example it's around 5% of the UK cost).
  • In the UK your insurance company will only insure you as the possible driver, so your car won't be driveable by anyone else (unless they also have their own insurance), in Hungary the insurance actually covers the car, so it doesn't matter who drives it.
  • In the UK you usually only get a handful of days worth of coverage (usually 90) if you go to other EU countries, in Hungary your insurance covers you completely in the EU for any amount of days.

So based on this list it would be really-really beneficial as a UK resident to drive your car there with the Hungarian tax and insurance right?.

Yes, but it won't work, as your car could only show only one licence plate. In the UK, you would probably use your UK licence plates, as otherwise you'll be driving it there illegally. But if you show the UK licence plate while driving and you happen to be in an accident you'll have to be insured against that particular licence plate, as UK insurers will only insure cars with a UK licence pate, and Hungarian insurers would only insure a car that is driven with a Hungarian licence plate.

Even if you are not in an accident and you are just pulled over by the police you would get fined in either case. If you run with the UK licence plates, it would be uninsured. If you run with the Hungarian one you would be driving it illegally (they would consider it uninsured driving as well)

The only case I can think where this scheme would work is, if you are driving a lot around in Europe, and your home insurance company is giving you a full EU cover really expensively. In this case it's possible that you could replace your licence plates at the border and drive your car in the EU with the cheap insurance, while you drive it in your resident country with the local insurance.

You'd still have to pay both countries' road tax and insurance so this would really-really only give you a slight advantage if you drive around in the EU a lot. And considering this is actually illegal (you can only be resident in one country, and you can only own a street-legal car in the country you are resident in), I don't think this slight advantage would be worth it: if you are driving around in Europe a lot it's much more beneficial to be resident in the country where the car costs are the cheapest anyway.

  • Actually, my main concern is paying taxes in both countries, the insurance thing came as an afterthought. – Diego Sánchez Jun 22 '15 at 21:26
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    if you're not a resident of your home country anymore I don't see how you can keep a car registered there, unless you also forgot to unregister yourself as a resident. Or maybe they don't care because you're paying car taxes in their country even though you don't live there. Still, you'd be paying double taxes for nothing. The bureaucracies across countries don't communicate and if by oversight you create an ambiguity, stubborn sticking to the rules will ensue, so it's better to just come clean as you never know what they come up with. – Formagella Jun 22 '15 at 21:49
  • There are ways to be a resident of multipe states at the same time. I was on a secondment from Germany to Italy for four years, and both states considered me a resident during that time as I had an apartment and a registered address in both. I actually did get pulled over once during that time in Germany, with Italian plates and insurance (which is legal to do in Germany but you may have to pay German taxes on the car – which I hadn't). After explaining my residence situation, the police let me go. – user149408 Jun 6 '16 at 21:10
  • @Formagella Italy lets citizens from other EU states register their car there even if they're not residents – the only requirement is a postal address. Given that registration and motor vehicle taxes are relatively expensive in Italy, I guess they hope it will pay off... – user149408 Jun 6 '16 at 21:12
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if you insure an imported car in the UK you have to prove to the insurance company within a certain time period, usually 6 weeks that you have cancelled insurance for that vehicle in the country you imported it from, else your Uk insurance is invalid!!! telling fibs to any insurance company is not a good thing to do. the prrof of cancellation will have to come from your ex insurance company with all the driving history and relevant references that insurance companies ue to swop and register information ....

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