Specialist car insurance

Find out how specialist car insurance works and what you can get cover for.

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What is specialist car insurance?

Specialist car insurers will provide cover for drivers and their cars that wouldn’t necessarily be able to obtain standard car insurance. While some popular insurance companies might offer a number of specialist car insurance policies, other policies may only be offered by companies that deal solely in specialist insurance.

Specialist car insurance can refer to any type of non-standard car insurance and appeal to a range of drivers and cars such as:

  • Learner, young, new or older drivers
  • Drivers of sports, classic, modified or imported cars
  • Infrequent drivers

What are the benefits of specialist car insurance policies?

There are several benefits to seeking out a specialist car insurance policy over a standard one. These can include:

  • Enhanced protection
  • An insurer with greater knowledge about you and your car
  • Extra benefits that might not be available through standard car insurance

Sports car insurance

Sports car insurance covers high-performance cars made specifically to go faster than standard modern cars. With greater speed comes a greater risk of being involved in accidents.

An insurer calculates premiums on a sports car based on many factors including the sports car’s value when purchased, its performance, how readily available car parts are, the cost of the car parts or the specialist labour to get the car repaired, and how likely it is for the car to be stolen.

An insurer will also look at whether the car has been imported or modified as well as the driver’s age, driving experience and location. All of these can result in much higher premiums.

However, as many insurers might be unwilling to even insure sports cars, choosing a specialist insurer may be the only option.

Imported car insurance

The cost to repair or replace a car that has been imported might be far higher than standard cover as the parts may not be as widely available compared to a car manufactured in the UK or Europe. Parts may need to be brought over from overseas, which costs more.

Getting a specialist car insurer to cover your imported car could provide the cover you need that other standard insurers won’t provide.

Performance car insurance

Performance car insurance is ideal for drivers of high-performance cars that are often built with more engine capacity to reach faster speeds. As standard insurers may choose not to insure the driver of a high performance car, you will likely need to seek out a specialist insurer.

Electric car insurance

Electric car insurance is calculated much the same as standard car cover and based on a number of factors such as the driver and the risk they pose on the road. The car’s value, age and performance, as well as the driver’s age, driving experience and location, amongst other factors, will also be considered.

But as electric cars work in a slightly different way to traditional cars that use fuel, insurers do look at other factors such as the repair costs. As electric cars rely heavily on new technology, the repair costs may be much higher than traditional fuel cars, which can drive premiums up. The repairs might also need to be carried out by specialist electric car mechanics.

The battery, which is an electric car’s most vital part tends to be much more expensive than standard cars so this is also factored into the insurance premiums. There’s also the fact that electric cars may pose a greater risk to pedestrians that may trip over power cables or worse, fail to hear the quiet engine of an electric car.

More and more drivers are doing their bit for the environment by choosing to drive electric cars but it’s still a relatively new concept. As a result, electric car insurance is a long way off from being mainstream so you’ll likely pay more for electric car insurance than a typical policy for a car that uses fuel.

You may also need to seek out a policy from a specialist provider. But as they gain popularity and more insurers begin offering cover for electric cars, costs should start to fall.

Modified car insurance

Modified car insurance protects cars that have been changed, often to enhance the look, performance or speed of a car. Essentially, it is any change made to a car once it leaves the factory.

Standard car insurance may cover more popular modifications as long as a driver declares the changes before obtaining insurance or if they contacted the insurer prior to making any modifications.

Classic car insurance

Classic car insurance works in much the same way as standard car insurance. However, insurers tend to make certain assumptions about drivers of classic cars. For example, a driver might take extra special care of their classic car to keep it in good working order. Their classic car might actually be a second car that they drive much less and only on weekends. All these factors can result in classic car insurance costing less than standard car insurance for a modern car.

With classic car insurance, the insurer is particularly interested in what the car is worth. Working out a classic car’s value is not as straightforward as deciding the value of a modern car. If a car insured under a standard car insurance policy was stolen or written off, the insurer is likely to pay the driver an amount that it believes is its current value, also known as the “market value”. This amount may be far less than what the driver initially paid for the car as a car tends to depreciate over time.

This tends not to suit classic car drivers who have spent a great deal of time and money restoring a vehicle to its former glory. The value of some classic cars can actually rise with time. As a result, several classic car insurers will allow the driver to agree on the value of the car and decide on the sum that would be paid out in the event of it being stolen or written off. This can mean insurance premiums increase but the driver may have added peace of mind that they’ll receive the agreed amount rather than the market value if the worst happens.

There may be some insurers that also allow a classic car driver to review this agreed value in the future, in order to maintain an accurate value of the car.

Business car insurance

Business car insurance is cover for your car when you use it for work purposes. It is different to the insurance needed for a company car and also to standard car insurance policies that will cover a driver when commuting to and from work.

Other types of specialised car insurance

Multi-car insurance

Multi-car insurance lets you insure more than one car under the same policy, just as long as they are registered to the same address. More discounts are applied to the policy if and when more cars are added.

However, insurance providers can typically cap the number of cars that can be added onto a multi-car policy.

Despite there only being one policy, each respective car will have its own level of cover, excess and no-claims discounts. This can help to minimise paperwork and administration. While additional cars can generally be added to a multi-car policy at any point, a policy renewal date will usually be 12 months after the last car was added to the policy.

Although multi-car insurance is mainly for private use, there are some insurance companies that may also allow a driver to insure their business vehicle under the same policy. The policy doesn’t automatically mean that every named driver is allowed to drive every car insured under the policy. A driver must be listed as a named driver on every car that they wish to drive.

Student car insurance

If you’re a student, you can save money by only paying for cover when you need it. For students spending most of their time at university, where driving a car isn’t necessary, a short term car insurance policy is better suited to them for the limited times when they might need to drive.

Black box insurance

Telematics or black box car insurance is designed to offer cheaper car insurance to careful and safe drivers. A black box device is fitted to a driver’s car in order to capture their driving performance, which is then used to determine their insurance premiums. The safer a driver is, the less they will pay for insurance. However, there’s no getting away with poor driving when a black box device is fitted to a car, as this could result in higher premiums.

Learner driver car insurance

Anyone learning to drive will need to have learner driver insurance in order to practice driving in a friend’s or family member’s car. This can be offered on a short term basis and is usually separate from the car owner’s own annual insurance policy.

Young driver car insurance

Young driver car insurance is any type of policy specifically offered to drivers aged between 17 and 25. Young drivers are disproportionately more likely to be involved in car accidents and because of this, insurers see this group of drivers as a much higher risk. This results in young drivers paying some of the highest premiums out there.

New driver car insurance

Similarly, new drivers, regardless of their age, may also find their premiums to be high. With little driving experience to speak of, insurers also tend to see this group of drivers as being more of a risk to protect.

Short term car insurance

Short term or temporary car insurance can cover a driver anywhere from 1 hour up to 28 days or more. This type of policy can be ideal for those wishing to borrow a car to run errands or visit friends. Most short term insurers will only offer comprehensive cover.

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