Classic Car Insurance for Automotive Enthusiasts
It might be a Ferrari 512M that lists for north of half a million dollars. Perhaps it's a rare Ford GT40. Or maybe a less exotic but highly nostalgic 1960s VW microbus.
If you have the type of car that stirs the soul and brings back memories, it's a prized possession. You keep it tuned and polished. You store it carefully and drive it with a combination of pride and caution. After all, it's your baby, and you take great care to protect it.
So do you have the right classic car insurance for it?
This article will cover some things any classic car owner should know about how to insure that beauty in your garage. Topics include:
Why Do You Need Collector Car Insurance?
Why do you own a classic vehicle in the first place? Because it's special.
The same things that make the car special also mean that it needs a different kind of insurance policy than the normal family car.
An ordinary car insurance policy is based on the risk involved in using a vehicle for everyday transportation and on the value of vehicles that are standard enough to be easily replaced.
For a collector car, you need a car insurance policy that looks at things a little differently:
Classic cars are more difficult to value. Classic cars are not standard commodities. They have often appreciated rather than depreciated in value. Even two classic cars of the same year, make and model will have important differences in features, condition and history that can greatly change their value. Differences in value affect how a car should be insured.
Classic cars are not as easily repaired or replaced. Parts can be hard to find and sell at a premium. Repairs may require special tools and craftsmanship. As for replacing a classic car, how do you replace something that may be one of a kind? Coverage for collector cars need to reflect the fact that you don't just send these to the nearest body shop if they are damaged.
Classic cars are generally used differently. You're probably not going to take that Lotus Elan to work on a winter's day or park it in the local supermarket lot. You take special care as to how your car is used and stored, and your insurance should reflect that. After all, if you used your classic like the family beater, it would be too expensive to insure.
What Does Classic Car Insurance Cover?
On top of that, some classic car policies make allowances for the value of spare parts you may keep on hand. Classic car collectors tend to stockpile these parts because they can be hard to find. Some classic car policies include spare parts coverage to protect against theft of these rare components.
A key aspect of classic vehicle insurance is that it covers cars based on the agreed-upon value of the car. This is set when you sign up for the policy and later reviewed when you renew it.
Insuring based on agreed value, rather than the insurance company assigning a value based on standard depreciation assumptions, acknowledges the fact that your car may be especially hard to repair or replace.
After all, when a 2019 Toyota is totaled, the insurance company can easily assign a value to it based on the hundreds of thousands of others that are still on the road. But how do you assign a value to something that may be one of a kind?
What Makes a Car Classic?
You may feel this question falls under the category of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." As a practical matter though, you need to find an insurer that agrees your car is a classic.
Does your vehicle qualify for classic car insurance?
This is a function of both the car itself and how it's used. Some characteristics of classic cars will be listed later in this article.
In terms of usage, classic car insurance generally places a strict limit on how much the vehicle can be driven each year. It may even stipulate that the car can only be used for exhibitions rather than for regular personal transportation.
Also, to qualify for classic car insurance coverage you may need to store your vehicle in a fully covered and securely locked enclosure.
Why should you consider collector car insurance?
You should consider collector car insurance because these vehicles are more difficult to value than ordinary cars. Also, you should get credit for the limited use and special storage of your car.
Characteristics of classic cars
To be considered a classic car, your vehicle will need to have one of the following characteristics:
Vintage - classic car insurance companies define this differently, but if your car is at least 15 years old it may be considered a classic
High-priced, exotic make - prestige brands like Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Rolls Royce, etc. would qualify
Automotive landmarks - things like Ford Model Ts, Chevy Camaros or anything else with a special place in automotive history
Custom replicas - an imitation of a pop culture classic like the Batmobile may qualify
Special utility vehicles - old fire engines, military jeeps and the like
How Is Classic Car Insurance Different from Regular Car Insurance?
So what is classic car insurance?
Classic car insurance may cover a car against misfortunes like collision or theft just like regular car insurance. However, there are two key differences:
Classic car insurance coverage is based on the unique value of your vehicle - and you get to agree with that valuation before you sign up for a policy.
Limits on how you use and store the vehicle should help keep your premiums reasonable.
Some classic car insurance companies specialize in this kind of coverage, while some conventional insurers also provide this kind of policy.
Does Classic Car Insurance Cover My Vehicle if It's Stolen?
Classic car insurance would cover your vehicle if it's been stolen as long as you have comprehensive coverage. Given the attractiveness and value of classic cars, this level of coverage is a good idea.
Also, you may need to demonstrate that you've met stipulations in the policy as to how your car must be secured to guard against theft.
How To Find the Best Classic Car Insurance
Classic car insurance is a specialized, customized form of insurance so shopping for it should take into account the specifics of your situation - the type and condition of your car, how you intend to use it, and how you store it.
Here are some tips for getting the best deal for this type of insurance:
Look for specialized policies. The insurance company doesn't have to specialize exclusively in classic car insurance, but it should offer it as a distinct type of policy.
Compare quotes from multiple classic car insurance companies. Though these policies are specialized, enough companies offer them that there is some competition. Take advantage of that competition by shopping around for quotes from different carriers.
Go over the coverage terms and stipulations carefully. Make sure you can live with any restrictions on how the car is to be used and stored. Failure to do so could invalidate your coverage.
Agree upon the valuation of your vehicle before you sign up. The valuation that coverage is based on is a key part of classic car insurance. Make sure you can see eye-to-eye on this with an insurer before you sign up for a policy.
Classic car insurance is available from some of the biggest names in the industry as well as firms that specialize in this type of coverage.
Here are some examples of classic car insurance companies:
Classic Car Insurance FAQs
How do I know if my car would be considered a classic?
One way to look at this is whether your car meets any of the characteristics of age, exotic status, or historical interest listed earlier. Another is whether the car is especially expensive or hard to value. The best way to find out is to talk to an insurance agent about what you own and how you use it.
Does classic car insurance meet legal minimum insurance requirements?
Yes, but because these mandatory minimums generally focus on liability to others, you should consider a higher level of coverage for your precious vehicle.
I consider my car a classic, but I also use it for regular transportation. Would it qualify for classic car insurance?
That may depend on what type of annual mileage is involved. Limitations and exceptions vary from one insurance company to another, so this should be an important part of your comparison shopping. You need to be able to live with some usage restrictions in order to make sure your car is covered.
Compare Quotes on Classic Car Insurance
Classic car insurance should be customized to reflect the special nature of your vehicle and its true value. There are car companies that specialize in classic car insurance, so start comparing prices and usage restrictions on the vehicle. Better yet, enter your zip code below and answer a few questions to get some free quotes for classic car insurance.
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