Classic Car Insurance
If you own a classic car like a 1965 Ford Mustang or a 1955 Chevrolet Cameo, you’re probably going to want classic car insurance. Traditional auto insurance policies are generally insufficient for classic vehicles. That’s because classic cars often rise in value over time, while regular cars depreciate.
Classic car insurance isn’t limited to old roadsters, antique pickup trucks and vintage muscle cars. What qualifies as a “classic car” varies by car insurance company, which might include “modern classics” and even replicas of classic cars.
While standard auto insurance can technically cover a classic car, a traditional policy typically won’t offer the full value of your car in the case of a total loss, and it won’t consider the special uses of a collector’s vehicle. Classic car insurance is dedicated specifically to the use of your classic vehicle. It helps cover your car’s agreed value and offers coverage options for showing, restoring, and exhibiting your vehicle.
The basic definition of a “classic vehicle,” according to Hagerty, is that it maintains or increases in value with time and it is primarily used for pleasure. The age of the car usually matters less than the fact that it is appreciating in value and used for hobby or “fun” purposes (not as a primary vehicle).
The “rules” of classic car insurance:
- You can only use the vehicle for pleasure driving or a hobby activity like parades, shows, and exhibitions. It cannot be a primary vehicle used for regular commuting. You’ll usually have to show proof that you own and use another vehicle as your primary mode of transportation.
- There are annual mileage restrictions (based on state and insurer). You typically can’t drive more than 7500 miles per year.
- You must store your car in a secure, enclosed garage, carport, or storage facility. You’ll have to show that you’ve taken measures to protect the vehicle from theft and weather elements.
- You must agree not to race the car or drive on a racetrack.
Qualifications for the driver:
- The driver usually needs to be at least 25 years of age or have a co-signer for the policy. In addition or instead, the driver may also need 5-10 years of experience driving. Due to the high value of the vehicle, insurers want to be sure the driver will be responsible with it.
- Have a good driving record with no or minimum infractions and accidents. Insurance companies may deny coverage for DUIs, multiple offenses, or large accidents where you are found at-fault.
Qualifications for the car:
There are a lot of different guidelines when it comes to classifying a classic car. There are also different subcategories, like classic, antique, modified, kit cars and replicas, and other subcategories. In general, the car is considered “classic” or qualifies for classic car insurance if:
- The car is at least 25 years old and it is appreciating in value
- If the car is newer than 25 years, it is appreciating in value and considered rare/unique in design or limited production
- The vehicle has been modified from original specifications in a way that adds value
- It is a replica or kit car of classic cars
- It has been restored to good, working condition or is in the restoration process
Other subcategories that often fall under classic car insurance:
- Street rods/hot rods, made before 1949 and have been modified
- Vintage automobiles, manufactured between 1919 and 1930
- Veteran vehicles made before 1919
- Vintage military vehicles
- Rare motorsport vehicles
- Classic motorcycles
- Antique tractors
- Modern limited production models
Exotic cars that are under 15 years in age but increasing in value often don’t qualify for classic car insurance. They may qualify in a few years, but they’re not yet “classic.” Exotics are usually best covered under their own rider under standard auto insurance.
“Old” cars that aren’t appreciating in value are also not considered classic cars. The value of the car must be increasing each year in order to qualify.
Classic car insurance helps cover the same basics as standard auto insurance. This includes bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision, comprehensive, medical payments, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. That means you likely have coverage if:
- Liability: You are found at fault for an accident that caused property damage and/or injury to the other party/parties
- Collision: You are in an accident (whether your fault or another party’s) and there is damage to your vehicle
- Comprehensive: Your vehicle is damaged or stolen due to non-collision
- Medical payments: You need to pay for your own medical bills due to an injury sustained in an accident in your classic car (works in conjunction with your health insurance)
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist: You get into an accident where the other party is found at-fault but they don’t have sufficient insurance to cover damages to you, your passengers, and/or your car
The basics are about the same but classic car insurance offers additional and optional coverage that directly address the needs of your collector’s car. This includes:
- “Agreed value” for comprehensive/collision (learn more about why agreed value is such an important benefit of classic car insurance here)
- Restoration coverage (coverage specific to car’s in the restoration process and not yet drivable)
- Spare parts coverage (covers tools and accessories stored separately from the vehicle itself)
- Memorabilia contents coverage (covers additional value pieces like old license plates, dashboard accessories, etc.; must be itemized on a contents list with the insurer)
- Traveling coverage (reimbursement for food, lodging, rental car, etc. if car breaks down while traveling to/from an auto event)
- Auto show medical reimbursement (if you or someone in your party are injured at an event where you are showing your car)
- No attendance required (coverage for your car while being displayed, even if you’re not there)
For most collector cars, it is recommended to have classic car insurance, that’s because you can often get an “agreed value” for your car, with even lower premiums than standard auto. Classic car insurance also offers supplemental collector-specific coverage that standard auto doesn’t. That means you have a lot of coverage a reduced monthly bill.
- Lower premiums
Classic cars are often less of a risk to insurance companies. Generally, owners drive with more caution and take care of their cars with extra TLC. Plus, classic car insurance often has mile restrictions; the less you drive, the less the risk of something happening.
Insurance premium costs are often correlated with the level of “risk” of the driver and the car. Since classic cars are typically lower risk than primary cars, the premiums are often lower as well. If you can prove you’re an even lower risk with your classic vehicle, you may be able to get an even bigger discount on your classic car insurance premiums
- Agreed value
Most standard auto insurance offers “actual cash value” in the case of a total loss of your car. Actual cash value takes depreciation into account. Since cars start depreciating the second they drive off the lot, the payout value is typically less than it would cost to replace the car.
This is problematic in the case of classic cars, which appreciate in value over time. That’s why classic car insurance offers “agreed value.” That means you and the insurer agree upon a fair valuation for your car, and that’s how much you would be paid in the case of a covered total loss. This treats your car as a valued asset, rather than just a standard commuting vehicle.
This agreed upon value is determined from a mixture of the following:
- Professional classic car appraisal
- Car valuation guides (Kelley Blue Book and/or Old Cars Price Guide, etc.)
- Research and experience of expert classic car underwriters (which is why you want to work with an insurance carrier that specializes in classic cars)
Document any and all valuations you receive to show your insurance company, so you can negotiate and come up with the most accurate valuation.
- Optional coverage
As we went through earlier, there are a lot of optional coverage options that are specific to classic cars. This includes roadside assistance, spare parts, special repair parts coverage, and event-specific coverage (like traveling coverage, auto show medical reimbursement, and no attendance required).
Standard auto insurance doesn’t take into account all the unique needs of owning, showing, and caring for a classic car.
Classic car insurance is often considerably less expensive than standard auto insurance, on average even 30% cheaper. Classic cars are considered a lower risk because their owners tend to “love” them a little more. You drive your classic car less, because it’s not your primary car for commuting. You work hard to keep it in good condition and restore it when necessary, and you store it away from the elements and potential hazards.
All together, this makes your classic car a lower risk. For insurance companies, the lower the risk, the lower the premium.
Classic car insurance arguably offers the most coverage and highest limits at the lowest price, compared to nearly every other type of insurance. You get the agreed upon value of your classic car at an even lower price than standard auto insurance.
Although classic car insurance is often less expensive than standard auto insurance, we’re always looking for ways to save. What are some ways you can get a discount on your classic car insurance policy? Follow these pointers:
- Store your car in a safe, secure, enclosed garage. Add anti-theft and weatherproofing elements to the storage area of your car to minimize potential hazards.
- Enhance the safety of your car with airbags, anti-lock brakes, automatic seatbelts, electronic safety controls, etc.
- Improve the security of your car with antitheft devices like dash cams, steering wheel locks, alarm systems, security tire clamps, and GPS trackers.
- Drive less than the mileage restrictions defined on your coverage. (You’ll have to prove to your insurer that you drive it less frequently if you want a discount.)
- Cover all of your classic vehicles with the same insurer.
- Join an auto club whose members get discounted rates with classic car insurance companies.
- Complete a defensive driving course.
- Ask about good driver discounts if you haven’t had accidents or claims in the past few years.
- Insure with a carrier that specializes in classic car insurance. Collector’s cars have unique needs, and you want to ensure you’re fully protected for your particular circumstances.
- If applicable and the insurance carrier knows classic cars well, consider bundling your classic car insurance with other forms like standard auto, home, and other insurance policies you have.
- Shop around to compare quotes. Make sure you’re looking at comparable policies, not just the price at face value
A standard auto insurance policy won’t necessarily cover a vehicle for its total value in the event that it is completely destroyed in an accident. On the other hand, a typical classic auto insurance policy will usually cover the vehicle for its full, guaranteed value. This value is usually mutually agreed upon by the vehicle owner and the insurance company at the time that the policy is purchased
As long as there are no restrictions stated in your contract, you should be able to allow other people to drive your classic car. Your current coverage should protect your guest from any mishaps they may have while driving your vehicle. There are certain restrictions but, as long as the state laws are followed, there should be no foreseeable issues.
The individual must be of age to drive and must have a valid license, with no suspensions or restrictions. Failure to ensure that the driver is eligible to drive can cause you problems if anything happens while the other person is behind the wheel.
A big part of the American automobile experience is independence. Classic cars let you show off your unique style and do things your own way
Classic cars can have special license plates. Here are the two specialty plates that you can request for your antique vehicle:
Antique Plates – These plates may only be used for vehicles that are over 25 years old. In addition, the vehicle must be used only for exhibitions, car club events, and similar activities. There is a cost of this plate which will increase to $80 annually if your antique plate is personalized.
Year of Manufacture (YOM) Plates – To keep your car as original as possible, states will allow you to use license plates from the vehicle’s year of manufacture. The vehicle must be over 25 years old and must have passed a state inspection. In addition, you will be required to acquire an authentic state license plate issued in the model year of your vehicle. The plates must be in good condition, and maybe no more than six characters. There is a fee for using Year of Manufacture Plates
How do I know if my car is “classic?”
Different insurance companies classify “classic” in their own ways. There is usually age range, like cars that are between 25-50 years old. Older than 50 years, the vehicle may be considered “antique” (and still qualify for classic car insurance, though it may be labeled differently). Newer than 25 years, the car can qualify if it is appreciating in value and is limited edition or considered rare or unique in design.
Hagerty, one of the classic car insurance companies we often refer to, defines classic cars as fun-to-drive vehicles that maintain/appreciate in value and are used primarily for pleasure.
If you’re not sure if your car is a classic, chat with CompareAquote. We’ll help you see if you meet the criteria and help come up with the perfect policy for your classic car.
Are there restrictions on how I use my car?
You’ll want to pay attention to the fine print of any insurance policy to understand what is and isn’t covered. With classic car coverage, you’ll want to especially review mileage restrictions and limited use provisions. Most insurance companies have maximums of how many miles you can drive your classic car in a year to qualify for coverage. This is to ensure you’re not using the car for primary use or non-collector’s use. Some policies have limited use provisions, which means you can only travel to car shows or club meet-ups and a few “joy rides” throughout the year.
You also want to ask about repairs and restorations. Since classic cars often require special parts and mechanics, it can be a lot costlier. Ask your insurance company if they have approved repair shops and/or coverage limits when it comes to replacing or repairing antique, vintage, or classic parts.
Don’t be disappointed when you’re reading the “restrictions” of classic car insurance. There are a lot of fun and novel ways to use your classic car—even through your insurance! For example, you can join the Hagerty Drivers Club to get discounts on restoration parts, track events, driving schools, exhibition events, parades, and more.
Does my driving record impact my insurance premiums?
Yes. Most classic car insurers want to see a clean driving record if they’re going to insure your high-value car. This means few or none accidents, DUIs, or major infractions (a speeding ticket once in the last five years isn’t going to be a huge deal for your insurance.) If your driving record is less than stellar, it might be more challenging to get classic car insurance.
Bundling is a great way to save on your insurance premiums. Some insurance companies offer classic car insurance along with other forms of insurance, but you want to ensure that these carriers know the lifestyle of classic cars fully.
How do I prove the value of my car?
Most insurers will work with you to come up with a fair and accurate value for your car. You’ll need to prove the value you’re negotiating with them, though. That means you’ll want to refer to Kelley Blue Book, Old Cars Price Guide, other car valuation guides, and professional appraisals you’ve had conducted. The insurer will likely conduct their own research and appraisal, and then you can work together to find the most precise valuation for your agreed-upon value.
How often should I shop around for classic car insurance?
We typically recommend revisiting your classic car insurance (as well as every type of insurance) annually. You want to know exactly what you’re being covered for in your policy and ensure the premium is fair. Since classic cars can change or appreciate in valuation quickly, annual “check ups” with your insurance policy can ensure your car appraisal and “agreed value” are always up to date
You love your classic car almost as much as you love your family (we won’t tell them). So help protect your car, your family, and your assets by insuring your dream vehicle with the right kind of insurance.
When was the last time you appraised your car? When did you last shop around for insurance to make sure you were getting the best deal? If it was more than 12 months ago (or never), it’s time to compare quotes