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How to insure and store your car collection
Every car in your garage needs to be insured — but not necessarily under the same policy.
Being a passionate car collector has its perks, but it also comes with responsibility. Along with maintenance and proper storage, you’ll want to protect your assets by purchasing the right insurance policy that has the right balance of protection and value.
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How do I insure my car collection?
Think about the number of cars in your collection, and how much they’re worth. Then, weigh up these options.
How much coverage do I need?
Liability coverage is legally required in every state except Virginia and New Hampshire. If you’re at fault in an accident, this coverage pays for the other driver’s costs. But it doesn’t cover the costs of repairing your own car.
That’s where collision coverage comes in. It pays to repair or replace your car if you collide with another car or object, like a tree or telephone pole, regardless of who’s at fault.
Comprehensive coverage protects your car from factors that are out of your control, like vandalism, wild weather, flooding, falling objects or theft.
Full coverage car insurance refers to policies that include all three: liability, collision and comprehensive coverage. By bundling these types of coverage, you’ll be protected in case of an accident or incident.
What’s the best type of policy?
Beyond comprehensive and collision coverage, you can choose between these insurance policies:
- Multicar policy. With most insurers, you can put up to five cars on one policy. This is more cost-effective than taking out separate policies for each car, and you may score a discount. For many policyholders, the appeal of a multicar policy lies in the convenience: you pay one premium per month, and deal with one insurance company. You can also save with multicar discounts.
- Temporary car insurance. Have a convertible you only drive in the summer? If you only need short-term coverage, look into temporary car insurance. Most insurers cover you for up to a month, while a handful provide coverage for three to six months. To apply, you’ll typically need to be aged between 21 and 75 and have a good driving record.
- Pay-per-mile insurance. This coverage is usage-based, so you’ll only pay for the miles you drive. It’s also known as pay-as-you-go car insurance, and it’s a good option if you don’t drive enough to justify paying a full-priced premium. This could be a weekend sports car, summer convertible or car you only drive occasionally to car shows.
- Classic car insurance. Cover your vintage or collector car with classic car insurance. Since these cars are prized possessions, and in some cases, irreplaceable, insurers assume you’re going to drive them carefully or rarely. These policies typically have lower premiums and offer guaranteed value coverage, which means you’ll be paid the full valued amount of the vehicle in the event of a total covered loss.
- Luxury car insurance. Some insurers, like Hagerty, specialize in insurance for luxury cars and will insure your entire collection once it reaches a certain value.
- Lay-up car insurance. Not driving your car at the moment? Whether you’re retiring your convertible for the summer or starting a new restoration project, you can press pause on your car insurance with a lay-up policy.
What discounts are available for car collectors?
Ask your insurer about these discounts:
- Secondary vehicle discount. If you drive one car during the week, and only take the other out for a spin on weekends, your insurer may cut the cost of insuring that secondary car.
- Garage discount. Your car is safer in a secure garage than it is on the street. If you keep your car in an undercover garage overnight, you may score a discount.
- Antitheft discount. Is your car kitted out with security features, like an alarm, kill switch or steering wheel lock? You could drive down your rate by up to 25%.
- Multicar discount. To qualify for a discount, the cars must be standard passenger vehicles and parked or stored at the same place.
What’s the difference between agreed value and stated value coverage?
With an agreed value policy, you’ll receive the full insured amount of the vehicle in the event of a covered total loss. Think of this as a coverage cushion: it offsets the cost of losing a car that’s worth a lot of money. If you think your car has appreciated in value, ask your insurer for a re-evaluation.
A stated value policy doesn’t have the same guarantee. Also called an actual cash value policy, it works on a case-by-case basis. The insurer may cough up the car’s depreciated cash value, or cover the cost to replace your vehicle — whichever is cheaper.
Typically, classic car insurers offer agreed value policies, while regular carriers stick to stated value unless you request a special agreed value policy.
How much is car collection insurance?
Your insurance rates will depend on how many and which models of cars are in your collection. Compare a few examples of average car insurance rates for modern classics to get an idea of how much you might pay for each car in your collection.
|Make||Model||Monthly insurance rate|
What’s the best way to store my car collection?
The right storage will protect your car collection and qualify you for car insurance discounts. While you’re working through these storage solutions, consider the climate where you live, the age and value of your vehicles, and how long they’ll be in storage.
- Home garage. There are a few factors to consider: Is the garage large enough? Is it secure? A locked, alarmed garage reduces the risk of theft and vandalism and gives you peace of mind. Is the environment conducive to car storage?To keep your car in tip-top condition, your storage space should have an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity between 40% and 50%. A lower humidity can crack the upholstery in your car over time, and mold and mildew may be an issue with very humid garages. You can adjust your garage’s climate conditions by adding air conditioning and a humidifier (for dry, hot climates) or dehumidifier (for damp climates).
- Storage unit. If your home garage isn’t up to scratch, consider renting a climate-controlled storage space. Many storage units have drive-up storage spaces that are designed for cars.Do your research and make sure the facility has sophisticated security and a good reputation. For long-term storage, ask the facility if you’re allowed to put your car on jacks. This protects the suspension and prevents flat tires.
- On-street or outdoor storage. Does your area have low theft rates and good weather, year-round? If you’re comfortable with the risk, you could park your car on the street, or rent an outdoor car space at a storage facility. While it’s exposed to the elements, a storage facility will offer some level of security.
- Covered car storage. Striking a balance between indoor and outdoor storage, this refers to any storage situation with a roof — like a carport. It provides better protection against sun, snow, hail and rain. If you’re worried about harsh weather and strong storms, you’re better off storing your car indoors.
- Garage share app. Apps like GarageTime connect people who have a garage to those who need one. There are a range of garages on offer, from residential garages to shop bays with lifts and tools, which are great if you’re planning to do maintenance work on your car. You can hop online to search for a space and timeframe that suits you.
Are storage facilities safe for my car collection?
Yes — as long as they’re secure and insured.
If possible, visit the storage facility so you can answer these questions for yourself:
- Does the facility employ security and/or have 24/7 surveillance? To prevent theft and vandalism, look for a facility with tight security, and limited staff access to the garages.
- Is it well-lit and maintained?
- Is the garage locked and covered to protect the car from the elements?
- Is it climate-controlled? If you live in an extreme climate, or your car collection is valuable, a climate-controlled storage space important.
Typically, you’ll be responsible for the contents of your storage unit. You may be able to extend your homeowners or renters insurance to cover the belongings in your storage unit. If your provider can’t — or won’t — protect items stored off-site, you may be able to purchase a tenants policy from the storage facility, which covers the property in the event of burglary, damage or loss.
What should I do to prep my car for storage?
Once you’ve found a climate-controlled, secure storage space, prep your car with some basic maintenance.
- Fill up the tank with premium gas. An empty tank can collect moisture and cause condensation to build up in your car.
- Add a fuel stabilizer. If you’re storing the car for up to 12 months, this step will make the fuel last longer.
- Remove the battery. This will stop acids from escaping and damaging the car. Plus, all batteries discharge over time. While you’re at it, remove the spark plugs to prevent rusting.
- Change the oil, brake fluid and antifreeze. Fresh oil and fluids will keep your car in working condition.
- Jack the car. To prevent flatspotting, rest the car on blocks or jack stands.
- Remove the wiper blades. They can stick to the car, and become warped if they’re not used for a long period of time.
- Cover and clean your car. Don’t put a dirty car into storage. Protect the finish and deter pests by washing and waxing the car, vacuuming and dusting the interior, and applying a conditioner to any vinyl surfaces. When you reach the storage space, wipe down the car to remove dust and debris, and then cover it with a drop cloth.
What should I do after taking my car out of storage?
Make sure your car is ready for the road by following these tips:
- Update your insurance. Before hitting the road, make sure you have adequate, up-to-date coverage. For example, switch from a temporary policy to full coverage insurance.
- Air out the car. Lower the car off the blocks and open the windows to get rid of any musty odors.
- Check the battery. You don’t want to crank a cold car with a weak battery, so charge the battery and check the cables and posts for corrosion.
- Inspect the engine. Confirm there’s no damage to the belts and hoses, and change any dirty filters.
- Adjust the tires. Check the tire pressure, and look for cracks or bulges in the rubber.
- Assess the fluid levels. Inspect the oil, water, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid and coolant, and change or add as needed. If you’re running really low on any fluids, look under the car for leaks.
- Wash the car. No matter how careful you were, chances are your car collected some dust and debris. Give it a good clean, and put the windshield wipers back on.
- Start the engine. Let the engine run for 20 minutes to warm up. While you’re waiting, press the brake pedal and look for warning lights on the dashboard. Then, take the car for a slow drive, and be aware that it may make unusual noises.
Maintenance and proper storage are key to protecting your car collection. Whether you drive them or not, every car needs to be insured, too.
Find the best deal for you by comparing car insurance providers and policies.
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