Car import with customs plate and fully comprehensive import car insurance.

Car import with customs plate and fully comprehensive import car insurance.

How to get a customs plate and fully comprehensive import car insurance to import a car to Switzerland.

There are two options available to transport a car to Switzerland from abroad: the German export plate for driving it into the country or HGV transport.

In this article we explain what you need to be aware of when importing a car with export plate and how to organise this. Important details have to be observed during transport to ensure that you do not end up shouldering all the costs yourself in the event of damage during import.

What is a German export plate?

The German export plate is an international plate that allows you to drive the car in Switzerland for a limited period. Its validity ranges from 5 to 360 days. Afterwards the registration expires, even if the car does not have a Swiss registration yet. So bear in mind how long it takes to get a Swiss Vehicle Licensing Authority appointment, you can wait 3 to weeks in some cantons. It is therefore recommended that you accept the higher costs for an export plate validity of 30 days.

The first step to obtain a German export plate to import a car to Switzerland is to take out valid German liability insurance.

Export plate and insurance gap

The German export plate requires valid liability insurance coverage of over 3 million euro. If there should be any resulting damage to third-party vehicles while importing the car, the German liability insurance covers this. However, damage to the new imported car is not covered by the insurance. This insurance gap can cause costly subsequent expenses that you are left with. We have established partnerships with major Swiss car insurance companies to plug this insurance gap and can offer you the fully comprehensive import car insurance product to cover the risk on the way home.

Fully comprehensive import car insurance

The fully comprehensive import car insurance already covers any damage to the vehicle on the way from the dealership to a foreign country. If damage should be caused to your own car while importing it to Switzerland, the fully comprehensive import car insurance covers this in full. Even if the export plate is no longer valid, there is still the stationary risk which the fully comprehensive import car insurance also covers. A summary of the fully comprehensive import car insurance advantages:

Die Vorteile der Import Kasko in der Übersicht:

  • No financial risk with your new vehicle
  • Plugs the insurance gap in the import process
  • Mobility, breakdown and towing service throughout Europe
  • Simple and efficient claims settlement
  • CO2 discount for low CO2 vehicles
  • Crash recorder – drivers aged up to 25 save another 15% premium
  • Third party, fire and theft insurance excess CHF 0 per claim, without reservation
  • Enhanced cover, for example glass breakage including front and rear lights
  • Unlimited parking damage cover, excess CHF 0
  • Current replacement value compensation in the first year 100% of the vehicle’s new value
  • Part of basic cover: in addition to the vehicle value listed in the policy, additional equipment and accessories that are added after the agreement has been taken out are also covered without an extra premium, but overall up to a maximum amount of 10% of the vehicle value.
  • Replacement value supplement insurance of the vehicle up to the 8th year on the road
  • Excess of CHF 500 possible from 25 years of age with fully comprehensive insurance

The only prerequisite for taking out the fully comprehensive import car insurance:

  • Receipt of the signed insurance application (at least 1 day before importing the car).
  • The inclusion of liability insurance after Swiss registration.

Due to the high demand for fully comprehensive import car insurance, insurance companies are offering a discount off the annual premiums over the entire term when you take out the policy through Corbié GmbH. As a car buyer you can choose between the various companies yourself.

Registration with the German road traffic authorities

The next step is to head for the German licensing office (the same as the Swiss road traffic authorities). The export plate is registered there. You will be asked to present all the required documents. You need the following documents to register successfully:

  • Registration document and registration certificate or foreign vehicle papers including COC.
  • Official vehicle licence plate (if the vehicle is still registered) or the cancellation note on the registration certificate
  • Valid personal ID or passport
  • Written power of attorney if the vehicle owner is not applying for the export plate themselves
  • Insurance certificate (yellow card in triplicate)
  • Valid MOT up to the last month of export (the MOT must be valid for at least as long as the insurance)
  • Extract from the Commercial Register or business registration if the export plate is being applied for by a company

The vehicle tax is generally collected by direct debit. As we don’t have a German account as a Swiss car buyer, the vehicle tax is due immediately in Germany. So make sure you have enough cash (euro) on you.

Export plate: licence plate store

Once you have successfully registered with the licensing office and receive the new vehicle papers your last visit is to the licence plate store. The export plate is handed to you at the store.


Before you buy a car abroad ask to what extent the car dealership can assist you with the export plate. Some German car dealers organise German export plates as standard for Swiss customers.


You can apply for a German export plate for import without much effort if you take several details into account. To avoid any unpleasant surprises in the event of damage you should take out Swiss fully comprehensive import car insurance alongside German liability insurance. The export plate should be valid for at least 30 days.

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