Are JDM Cars More Expensive To Insure?

The topic of insurance costs for Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars is one of great interest and importance for car enthusiasts and potential owners. JDM vehicles, celebrated for their performance, craftsmanship, and uniqueness, often come with different considerations than standard domestic cars when it comes to insurance. While they are prized for their distinctiveness and performance, these very factors can influence their insurance premiums. In this article, we will explore various aspects that contribute to the cost of insuring JDM cars.

JDM cars encompass a wide range of vehicles, from high-performance sports cars like the Subaru Impreza WRX STI and the Mazda RX-7 to more practical and everyday vehicles like the Honda Fit. While many people often think of the performance-oriented models when discussing JDM cars, it’s important to remember that the term ‘JDM’ covers a broad spectrum of vehicles, each with its unique attributes and appeal.

One common thread among these cars is their intended market – Japan. This origin can lead to differences in specifications and designs compared to models intended for other markets. For instance, many JDM cars are right-hand drive (RHD), as opposed to the left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles more common in countries like the United States. This difference alone can be a significant factor in insurance costs, as we will discuss further in this article.

In the following sections, we will delve into the reasons why JDM cars can be more expensive to insure. We’ll explore aspects such as rarity, risk factors associated with right-hand drive vehicles in left-hand drive markets, and the impact of different specifications and modifications on insurance premiums. By understanding these factors, owners and potential buyers can better prepare for the costs associated with owning these distinctive vehicles.

Why JDM Cars Can Be More Expensive to Insure

Rarity and Value

One of the primary reasons JDM cars can be expensive to insure is their rarity and value. Many JDM models were produced in limited quantities or have become highly sought-after collector’s items over the years. This rarity often translates to higher value, and consequently, higher insurance premiums. Insurers consider the cost of replacement parts and potential repairs, which can be significant for rare vehicles. In some cases, the parts may need to be sourced directly from Japan, adding to the cost and complexity of repairs.

Furthermore, certain classic JDM cars have appreciated in value, making them more expensive to replace in the event of an accident or theft. Insurance companies take this into consideration when setting premiums, leading to higher costs for the owner.

Right-Hand Drive in Left-Hand Drive Markets

The fact that many JDM cars are right-hand drive while being driven in predominantly left-hand drive markets like the United States adds another layer of complexity to their insurance. RHD vehicles can be perceived as having a higher risk profile due to the differences in visibility and driver position relative to standard traffic patterns. This can lead to a higher probability of accidents, at least in the perception of insurance providers, and subsequently, higher insurance premiums.

Insurance companies assess risk based on a variety of factors, including how the vehicle’s design might affect driving safety in the local context. For RHD vehicles in LHD regions, this assessment might result in a determination of increased risk.

Different Specifications and Modifications

JDM cars often come with different specifications from their international counterparts. These differences can range from engine configurations to suspension setups and unique body kits. While these features are part of the appeal of JDM cars, they can also impact insurance costs. Modified vehicles, in particular, are often viewed as higher risk by insurance companies. Modifications can affect the vehicle’s performance, safety, and reliability, leading insurers to increase premiums to account for this increased risk.

Additionally, modifications can sometimes obscure a vehicle’s history or introduce elements that are not standard, making it more challenging for insurance companies to assess risk accurately. This uncertainty often results in higher premiums as insurers err on the side of caution.


In summary, while owning a JDM car can be a source of pride and joy for enthusiasts, it’s important to be aware of the potential for higher insurance costs. Factors such as the vehicle’s rarity, the challenges of insuring a right-hand drive car in a left-hand drive market, and the impact of different specifications and modifications all play a role in determining insurance premiums. By understanding these factors, JDM car owners and potential buyers can make more informed decisions about their vehicles and prepare for the associated costs of insurance.


  • Sam

    Sam focuses mainly on researching and writing the growing database of Car Facts articles on Garage Dreams, as well as creating interesting list content. He is particularly enthusiastic about JDM cars, although has also owned numerous European vehicles in the past. Currently drives a 3rd generation Suzuki Swift Sport, and a Volkswagen Touareg (mainly kept for taking his border collie out to the hills to go walking)

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