Compare classic car insurance

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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 to protect older cars that need special coverage for agreed value or car shows, for example.

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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
Classic
  • Cars 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.
Antique
  • At 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 cars
  • At least 24 years old.
  • Separate manufactured components or a replica or reproduction of a vehicle at least 25 years old.
Street rodsMust be made before 1949
Vintage carsMust be made between 1919 and 1930
Veteran vehiclesMust be made before 1919
Rare carsIncludes motorsport, tractors, military, motorcycles, modified classics and limited production vehicles

Classic car coverage

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. Cover is available when your vehicle suffers loss or damage caused by fire.
  • Modifications, options or accessories to your car
  • Storm, fire or flood damage
  • Vandalism or theft
  • Window glass damage
  • Emergency repairs

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. 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. Market value is generally not a good choice for vintage vehicles, so agreed value will help determine your car’s actual 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

What’s not covered with classic car insurance?

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 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

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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. 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 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.

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.

Can I get classic motorcycle insurance?

Classic motorcycle insurance is usually available for bikes 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.

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

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