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Classic car insurance

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Have a vintage car? Compare classic car insurance and get coverage for your pride and joy.

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 means getting it the proper insurance coverage to give you complete peace of mind when you hit the road. Vintage and classic cars are certainly fun to have, but can be quite expensive and require a lot of hard work to restore and maintain.

This is where classic or vintage car insurance comes in. These specialist insurance policies are specially designed to cover older vehicles against accidental damage, fire, theft, storm, hail and more. So if the love of your life has four wheels and needs an insurance policy designed to meet her specific needs, read on to find out more about classic and vintage car insurance.

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What category does my classic car fall under?

Different policies apply for both classic and vintage cars, so how do you know which category your vehicle fits into? Well, there are three categories available for older cars — classic, vintage and veteran — and these classes are determined by your vehicle’s date of manufacture.

ClassificationAge and specification
ClassicCars that are 19–24 years old. The Classic Car Club of America says those manufactured between 1925 and 1948.

In good working condition.

Greater than the average of other cars the same make and model year.

AntiqueAt least 25 years old, some states 20 years. The Antiques Automobile Club of America says 45 years or older.

Good working original or restored condition.

Kit carsAt least 24 years old.

Separate manufactured components or a reproduction of a vehicle at least 25 years old.

Other categories include:

  • Street rods made before 1949
  • Vintage cars made between 1919 and 1930
  • Veteran vehicles made before 1919
  • Rare motorsport, tractors, military, motorcycles and limited production vehicles

How is classic car insurance different?

Classic car insurance is a lot like comprehensive car insurance, but with some special benefits and conditions that make it perfect for vintage vehicles. 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. These specialists typically offer benefits including:

  • Choice of mechanic. If you have a classic car, you usually have a trusted mechanic that understands the needs of your car. You have the freedom to take your car to your trusted mechanic.
  • Agreed value only. Market value is generally unsuitable for vintage vehicles, so agreed value is used to determine worth.
  • 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.
  • Limited usage cover. In many cases, classic cars are driven infrequently. Many insurers are willing to accommodate this with mileage-based discounts.
  • 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.
  • Cover for 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.
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Classic car coverage

Although the exact level of coverage available differs between insurers, classic car insurance will generally cover the following:

  • Accidental damage caused to your car. If your vehicle is damaged in an accident, your insurer will cover the cost of repairing or replacing it.
  • Loss or damage to your car by fire. Cover is available when your vehicle suffers loss or damage caused by fire.
  • If you damage another vehicle/property. If your vehicle is involved in an incident that causes damage to someone else’s vehicle or property and you are at fault, your classic car insurance policy covers your legal liability. This includes cover for your legal costs. Insurers generally offer liability limits of $20 million or $30 million.
  • Modifications, options or accessories to your car. When accidental damage, fire, flood, storm, theft, attempted theft, vandalism or a malicious act cause loss or damage to any modifications, options or accessories fitted to your vehicle, this will be covered by your insurer.
  • Storm or flood damage your car suffers. Your classic car insurance policy covers repair or replacement of your vehicle when it is damaged by storms or flood.
  • Theft. If your car is stolen and later found damaged, or if your vehicle suffers damage when thieves try to steal it or something from inside it, the repair or replacement cost will be covered by your insurer.
  • Vandalism or malicious act. Cover is available for loss or damage resulting from vandalism or a malicious act.
  • Window glass damage. The cost of repairing your window glass when it suffers accidental or malicious damage is included in cover.
  • Emergency repairs to vehicle. The cost of emergency repairs following an insured event will typically be covered up to a specified limit.
  • Other features you have added. Other features included in many policies include cover for your legal representation costs, for personal items carried in your vehicle that are stolen by thieves or damaged in an accident, storage costs, towing and trailer damage.
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What if my vehicle has modifications or accessories?

Many classic cars feature modifications and accessories that are not original standard features. Thankfully, classic and vintage car insurance policies provide cover for the modifications and accessories.

When any of your modifications or accessories suffers loss or damage caused by accidental damage, fire, flood, storm, theft, attempted theft, vandalism or a malicious act, this will be covered under your insurance policy.

When will my vehicle not be covered?

A list of general exclusions applies to all classic car insurance policies. Your claim will usually not be paid for:

  • Loss or damage that occurs outside 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 the original repairs were authorized by your insurer and carried out in relation to a claim
  • Replacing lock barrels and coded keypads
  • Depreciation or the loss of value of your vehicle
  • Loss or damage caused intentionally by you, or by someone acting with your consent
  • Damage caused by the legal seizure of your vehicle
  • Damage caused by war, riot, civil unrest or the use of nuclear material
  • Any act of terrorism
  • Discharge or escape of any pollutant or contaminant from your vehicle
  • Damage caused by failure to secure your vehicle or leave it safe after it breaks down, is involved in an accident or is stolen and recovered
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How is the agreed value of the vehicle 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. This 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 exactly am I covered for under an agreed value policy?

An agreed value policy will generally provide cover 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 roughly $15 depending on the service. Details they will usually require include;

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Vehicle Version
  • Body Type
  • Miles

You can also include photos of your vehicle and a ratified value documentation for an owners club. By providing this additional information you can help with the valuation of your vehicle. For vintage vehicles, insures will generally require additional information to provide an accurate price such as any modifications, accessories or damage to the vehicle.

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.

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How much does vintage 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 also be more desirable to thieves than a 1970’s Chevy truck, so this will affect the price of cover.
  • How much you drive. Someone who drive 30,000 miles each year is going to have to pay more for their insurance than someone who occasionally hits the road.
  • Whether you’re male or female. Road accident statistics show that women are involved in fewer accidents than men, so often women cost less to cover.
  • 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 in a secure garage.
  • Where you live. Certain areas of the US are more prone to crime and serious storms, affecting 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 anti-theft device, you’ll be less of a target for thieves, causing you to pay less.
  • Other discounts. Qualifying for other discounts can help save you money, like buying online or being accident free.
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What about classic motorcycle insurance?

Classic motorcycle insurance is usually available for motorbikes more than 15 to 25 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.

Making a claim with classic car insurance

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:

  1. Safety first. Make sure that no one involved in the 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 to help you.
  4. 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.

Ted's classic car collection

Ted had been collecting cars for 20 years before deciding to consolidate them all under one insurance policy. He had five different classic cars, and drove them each occasionally. All were insured under different comprehensive insurance policies at considerable cost.

Ted wanted to save money on insurance for all of his classic cars, and started examining his options. He was pleasantly surprised to discover that several different classic car insurance specialists were able to offer similar coverage for all the cars in one policy, at a much better price.

Ted got comprehensive coverage for each car while on the road, with fire and theft cover for cars in the garage and full third party liability 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 for each vehicle and used his car club membership for another discount on top of it all.

The level of coverage was surprising, as was the price difference. He was particularly glad to have special classic car insurance when the keys to one of his vehicles was stolen, and the insurer quickly paid for its rekeying, a benefit which wouldn’t have been available with his previous insurance.

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