If you’re the proud owner of a Chevy Apache, 1979 Porsche or 1956 Ford Thunderbird, you’ll do everything you can to keep it clean, sheltered and protected. This is where classic or vintage car insurance comes in. It protects older cars that need special protection by providing agreed value coverage, special event insurance and enhanced roadside assistance, among other benefits.
Although the exact level of coverage available differs between insurers, classic car insurance will generally cover the following:
Damage in an accident
Loss or damage to your car by fire
Modifications, options or accessories to your car
Storm, fire or flood damage
Vandalism or theft
Window glass damage
What if I have a classic car loan?
If you paid for your ride with a classic car loan, consider getting gap insurance. Gap insurance covers the difference between the car’s value and how much you owe on the loan if your car is totaled, stolen or destroyed.
Say your precious restored DeLorean is stolen, or classic VW is totaled. You’ll get reimbursed for the car’s value by your insurance, but you might still owe money on your car loan. Gap coverage pays back the difference on your loan so you’re not stuck paying your bank back for a car that’s no longer fit to drive.
Benefits of classic car insurance
Classic car insurance is a lot like comprehensive car insurance, but with some special benefits and conditions that make it perfect for vintage vehicles.
Keep in mind that most bigger insurers will only recognize your car as a classic if it’s used for special events, or not driven too frequently. If you’re driving a classic car every day, your best option may be a specialty classic vehicle insurance company.
A policy with a specialty classic car insurer typically offers benefits including:
Agreed value. Market value is generally not a good choice for vintage vehicles. Agreed value will help determine your car’s actual worth and any claims payments will reflect it.
Choice of mechanic. If you have a classic car, you usually have a trusted mechanic who understands the needs of your car. You have the freedom to take your car to your preferred shop.
Lay-up periods. Many vintage cars spend a lot of time being laid up, maintained, cleaned or otherwise pampered. Many classic car insurance policies will factor this in to reduce your premiums.
Limited usage. In many cases, classic cars are driven infrequently. Many insurers are willing to accommodate this with mileage-based discounts.
Medical reimbursement. If someone injures themselves in or around your car at a show your car is featured in, their medical payments could be covered.
Modifications. Classic cars sometimes attract modifications and attachments over the years. While they can cause problems for standard car insurance, these are no problem for classic car insurance.
Salvage rights. If disaster strikes and your classic car is a write-off, you may choose the option of retaining the unrepaired vehicle as well as the insurance payout.
How much does classic car insurance cost?
There are a number of factors that can influence exactly how much your vintage or classic car insurance policy will cost. These include:
Your age. Younger drivers have less experience on the road than older drivers, and statistics show that they are involved in more crashes. This fact is reflected in higher insurance premiums for younger drivers.
The make and model of your vehicle. A classic Jaguar is obviously going to be worth more — and be more desirable to thieves — than a 1970’s Chevy truck, so this will affect the price of coverage.
How much you drive. Someone who drives 20,000 kilometres each year is going to have to pay more for their insurance than someone who occasionally hits the road.
Where your vehicle is kept. A car left parked on the street is much more likely to suffer loss or damage than one that is kept locked up in a secure garage.
Where you live. Certain areas of Candaa are prone to more claims, which can affect the cost of your premium.
Your driving record. If you have a long history of traffic offenses, involvement in accidents and insurance claims, you can expect to pay more.
Security devices. If your vintage car has an antitheft device, you’ll be less of a target for thieves, allowing you to pay less.
How to save on classic car insurance
Rates can run high when you’re protecting a classic. Luckily you can cut down some costs by doing a little extra work before you sign up for a policy, or when it comes time to renew.
Bundle other insurance policies. If you’re getting your classic car insured with a standard car insurance company, you may be able to save if you also have a homeowners, renters or life insurance policy with it.
Check with your car club. Belonging to a car club could score you discounts with any affiliated car insurance companies.
Combine car policies. If you have more than one classic car, see about insuring them under one policy to save on both.
Invest in better security. An antitheft system and updated security for your garage could make a dent in your premium costs.
Mind your kilometres. Not being on the road means having a lower claims risk, which can decrease your premiums.
Shop around. A loyalty bonus will only go so far for so long. If your rates aren’t where you’d like them, get quotes and compare coverage options with other carriers. You might even be able to negotiate a lower rate with your current insurer.
Store your car smartly. If you’re not going to be hitting the road or doing the show circuit for a while, make sure the place you’re storing your car is the safest it can be to reduce risk.
How is agreed value determined?
Classic car insurance policies generally insure your much-loved vehicle for an agreed value. The agreed value is the amount that you and your insurer agree the car is worth at the time of application, and therefore the amount you will be paid if your vehicle is written off.
The agreed upon figure will include any modifications that have been made and any accessories that have been fitted to your vehicle. Although agreed value policies generally cost more to take out than market value policies, they also offer a higher payout.
What am I covered for under an agreed value policy?
An agreed value policy will generally provide coverage for:
The agreed value that your insurer has recognized at the time of application
Any modification or accessories that are attached to your vehicle
The registration of your vehicle and any liability insurance
Any other on-road costs
How do I get my car valued?
There are a number of specialist car valuation services available that can provide you with a valuation of your vehicle to give to your insurer. Some valuation services are able to provide valuations entirely online for a small fee depending on the service.
Required details typically include:
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
You can also include photos of your vehicle and a ratified value documentation for an owners club. By providing this additional information you can potentially help with the valuation of your vehicle. For vintage vehicles, insurers will generally require additional information to provide an accurate price such as any modifications, accessories or damage to the vehicle.
What qualifies as a classic car?
Different policies can apply to both classic and vintage cars, so how do you know which category your vehicle fits into? Well, these classes are determined by your vehicle’s date of manufacture and uniqueness. Each insurance company and club will have there own definition of what qualifies as a classic car.
For example, the Antique and Classic Car Club of Canada defines classic cars as being 20 years of age or older, while the Vintage Car Club of Canada only allows cars that are a minimum of 25 years old.
Similarly, many insurance companies define classic cars as those that were manufactured at least 25 to 30 years ago. Another common definition for classic cars are those manufactured before 1948. However, a car could be an exception to the minimum age requirements if it was a limited edition or has historical significance.
Can I get classic motorcycle insurance?
Classic motorcycle insurance is usually available for bikes that are 25 to 30 years old. Some may also have special requirements concerning the frequency or purpose of use. This typically includes the benefits of comprehensive insurance alongside the usual advantages of classic vehicle insurance, such as choice of repairer, salvage rights and more.
One of the main things that makes classic motorcycle insurance different is that premiums tend to be lower than newer and more powerful bikes. Insurers recognize that classic bikes tend to be involved in fewer accidents than modern ones, and are generally used in a safer manner.
What’s not covered with classic car insurance?
A list of general exclusions applies to all classic car insurance policies. Your claim may not be paid for:
Loss or damage that occurs outside Canada or the US
Tire damage caused by braking, punctures, cuts or bursts
Mechanical, structural or electrical failures
Repairs to older damage
Deterioration, rust, corrosion or wear and tear
Loss that occurs because you can’t use your vehicle
Fixing faulty repairs, unless as part of a claim
Replacing lock barrels and coded keypads
Depreciation or the loss of value of your vehicle
Intentional loss or damage
Damage caused by the legal seizure of your vehicle
Damage caused by war, riot, civil unrest or nuclear activity
Any act of terrorism
Discharge of any pollutant or contaminant from your car
Failure to safely secure your vehicle after breakdown, collision or theft
How to make a claim
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to make a claim, follow these steps to make the process as easy as possible:
Safety first. Make sure that no one involved in an accident is injured. If anyone is hurt, call 911 right away. Once you confirm that everyone is safe, look out for any other potential dangers, including gas leaks and fires. Even if no one is injured, call the local police and inform them of what’s happened.
Exchange information. Write down the full names, car make and model and insurance information of the people involved in the accident. Don’t forget to include their addresses and driver’s license numbers in your notes, and even take a picture of their licence.
Notify your insurance agent. Before you’ve left the scene, call your insurance agent. Once they’re informed of what’s happened, they’ll be able to guide you and provide more specific advice.
Document the scene. Take pictures of the scene, paying special attention to capturing multiple angles of where the damage occurred. Take down the names of police officers and any potential witnesses to better protect your claim.
Case study: Ted’s classic car collection
Ted had been collecting cars for 20 years before deciding to consolidate them all under one insurance policy. Ted got collision coverage for each car while on the road, with comprehensive coverage for cars in the garage and full liability coverage for all his vehicles.
He got a discount for insuring all the cars under one policy and a discount for lay up periods. He could choose his own preferred mechanic, a classic car specialist, for each vehicle and used his car club membership for another discount on top of it all.
Common questions about classic car insurance
Most classic policies will not cover you to drive any other vehicles. You’ll need separate policies, even if it’s with the same insurer.
Possibly. Some insurers may only issue classic car insurance policies to drivers with at least 10 years of driving experience. If an insurer does offer coverage for younger drivers, it will generally come with higher premiums.
Laid up insurance provides coverage for vehicles that are in the process of restoration or are in storage, and are not currently being driven on public roads. This coverage is generally more affordable.
Yes, but it’s best to let your insurer know prior to the event.
Jing Jun Ma is an innovations expert at Finder. With a decade of experience in digital marketing and programming, Jing is a tech and data guy. He wrangles data to make it useful for consumers facing a decision.
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