I am UK Resident. My wife is PRC (Chinese) Resident. She comes to UK on 10 year visitor visa. We travel the world together all the time. In most countries, she can drive my car under my insurance. But in UK, where insurance is obligatory, she cannot because we cant find an insurance company to accept risk. Can anyone help? Advise an insurance company? Advise a procedure (besides seeking UK residence which takes too many years and we are already in our twilight years!)
The definition of "resident" is a bit uncertain in the insurance world. It doesn’t seem to mean "Resident" in the immigration sense, but rather "living here" in the colloquial sense. So you will probably find that some insurance proposals invite you to say how long you/she has been resident, and some will accept as little as "today" and others seem to figure some other time period (Kwikfit say 9 months – strange!). But, as someone else said, under EU law, your wife is "resident" under the Family Rights legislation, so you can probably claim she is resident anyway! I think you might have to get a resident permit though (free and should be simple if you are genuinely married) which is a bit like an identity card.
As for the licence – I think you will find that although there is a 12 month rule during which she can drive on her PRC licence, if you reset the clock by leaving the country within the 12 months, she will be able to drive on her PRC licence indefinitely (but I am not 100% about that – maybe "residence" sets the start of the 12 month count down). But in any case, she can then apply to sit a UK driving test – might be difficult for someone accustomed to driving in China – I’ve been there and see how they drive!!!!
Insurance companies. Well, I tried a dummy run on a "QuoteyQuotey.com" and could get insurance with a few companies by stating PRC licence and residence "today". The cheapest was Admiral and the price was almost the same as for me alone! So try them. But dont phone to ask them! I tried phoning Kwikfit and after some faffing about then consulting her supervisor, the agent said they figured "residence" had to be 9 months (even though the proposal let me state residence "less than 12 months" – and one day, or even zero, is less than 12 – yes?) If you phone and ask, then take on a policy having been expressly told some figure for acceptable residence, then you might be knowingly misrepresenting the situation – otherwise – how do you know what they mean by "residence"?
Another thought – Hong Kong licences are convertible to UK licences without sitting a test, so if she can get a Hong Kong licence converted from a Chinese licence, then that might work too! (but beware – the government are tightening up on "converted licences" which have been double converted (eg Indian to Hong Knog, then Hong Kong to UK but Indian to UK directly is impossible)
My fiancee is also Chinese and I figure I will have to go down this road some day too so it has been interesting to research the matter.