Many people dream of owning a classic car and taking it to enthusiast clubs, entering it in car shows, and restoring it to its original splendor. If you own a classic car, your #1 priority should be protecting it from damage or theft. You should be taking care to keep it clean and well looked after, which includes having the best insurance.
Regular car insurance doesn't have the scope to cover everything a classic car needs, which is why getting classic car insurance is essential for a classic car owner. It covers the special needs of a classic vehicle, such as protection at shows, special towing, and even replacement of old, hard-to-find parts. Read more about classic car insurance below.
What is Classic Car Insurance?
With standard car insurance, your vehicle is only covered up to the actual cash value (depreciation subtracted from the replacement cost). As an example, say you purchased a $23,000 vehicle in 2015. If that vehicle got totaled today, the owner would only receive compensation for what it's worth in 2020. This value is almost guaranteed to be far less than what you originally paid for it.
Classic car insurance is different than that for a regular vehicle. It's auto insurance that covers your classic vehicle for a guaranteed value mutually agreeable between you and the insurance company ("agreed value"). This value or worth of the vehicle is based on collectible vehicle evaluation guides or an appraisal by a classic car appraisal.
The regular vehicle depreciates in value over time. The collector car, however, will usually rise in value over time. You get your car professionally appraised, then you and your insurance company agree upon this monetary value for the vehicle to be covered for. If the vehicle gets in a wreck and is a total loss, you receive that full monetary value regardless of how long it's been since the agreement. This is what makes this type of insurance better for collector cars than regular car insurance.
Classic Car Insurance Eligibility
A classic or collectible vehicle needs to meet certain criteria before it is insured with classic car insurance. For instance, the vehicle should not be used as a primary driving vehicle. It can be driven to parades, shows, or exhibitions but the allotted annual mileage may be limited. Using your classic car to drive to work or other places is not allowed to prevent any unnecessary damage or accidents from occurring to the vehicle.
As an owner, you need to meet specific criteria as well. Many classic collector car insurance agencies will not provide coverage if you are not of the correct age. You need to be at least 25 years old or older. You must have a good driving record with no more than one at-fault accident in the previous three years, as well as a total of 5-10 years of driving experience.
You must take precautions to secure and protect your vehicle's value to receive coverage from a classic car insurance agency. For example, you must keep it sheltered in a secure and enclosed garage or storage unit while it is not being driven. You cannot use your classic vehicle to race or drive on a track, even if its original purpose was racing, as this is a major liability.
Finally, you must own and drive another vehicle to use as your regular automobile for commuting to work or other destinations. As stated before, your classic car may not be used to drive recreationally. It is common for classic car insurance agencies to ask for proof that you own and operate another vehicle and will not use the classic car to transport yourself regularly.
Some insurers will only cover classic vehicles that are located in certain states. Insurers may also refuse to cover certain classic cars if they are in poor shape or have been damaged. Ultimately, it is up to the company to decide which classic cars they choose to cover. Check with the company and get a quote to see what specific requirements they may have in your state or for your vehicle.
Classic Car Insurance Cost
Classic car insurance is almost always much cheaper (up to 1/3 less expensive) than regular car insurance. This is because classic cars are not meant to be driven recreationally, so an accident or damage to the vehicle is unlikely. Therefore, it's cheaper to maintain coverage because you're much more likely to keep the vehicle in a safe and secure location.
The cost of the policy depends on your vehicle and how you use it. Price can depend on how many years old the vehicle is, estimated cash value, how you store it, how it's been modified, how often and where you drive it, and several other factors. However, premiums and rates are calculated based on some of the same factors as regular auto insurance.
Most classic car insurance companies will offer several discounts, but this varies by the insurance company. These discounts can be applied in situations such as:
- Having multiple policies with the same insurance company
- Owning and insuring more than one classic car
- Having a good driving record
- Having a high deductible
- Using anti-theft devices, such as cameras or location trackers
- Being a member of a car club membership
- Taking a safe driving course
The final cost of the classic collector car insurance will vary depending on the insurance company. It is best to get a quote from your preferred company to know how much your car insurance policy will cost.
Classic Car Coverage
Just like regular car insurance, coverage insurance for classic cars varies. Classic collector car insurance coverage is typically for 12 months and includes liability, collision, comprehensive, medical, and motorists without insurance. However, there are coverage options that are offered only to classic cars:
- Specialized Towing - Classic cars require special care when towing. Classic car insurance policies ensure that cars are towed on a flatbed truck to prevent damage.
- Spare Parts - Classic cars also require special (and sometimes hard-to-find) parts. Your insurance policy will take this into account and align with the cost of replacing these vehicle components.
- Repairs and Restoration - Even if you're restoring or repairing your classic car yourself, you may run into some trouble and need some help. Insurance companies can offer specialized repairs and restoration for classic cars.
- Medical Reimbursement for Auto Shows - It's rare, but there have been cases of people getting injured at auto shows. Some classic car insurance companies offer you reimbursement should someone get injured at an event featuring your vehicle.
- Other Coverage for Auto Shows - Sometimes you'll need to take your vehicle to a car show, but you cannot be there in attendance to watch over it. Classic car insurance can include coverage for your vehicle while it is displayed at a car show.
You also have the option of increasing coverage and negotiating the agreed value if you believe that its worth has gone up. This is unique to classic cars and you simply have to provide a history of restoration or increased value.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Classic Car Insurance Company?
There are hundreds of classic car insurance companies in business. A lot of regular car insurance companies offer coverage for classic collector cars. The best place to start looking for classics insurance is through your current car insurance provider. They may even be able to give you a discount for having more than one vehicle insured by them.
However, don't limit yourself to your current insurance provider. Shopping around different companies allows you to get an insurance policy that gives you the best rate and coverage. Contact us today for a comprehensive quote for your vehicle.
How Can I Get My Classic Car Insured?
Getting an insurance policy for your classic vehicle is not extremely difficult to do, but it's not as easy as logging onto your family's insurance company website and adding a new vehicle. Standard auto insurers often won't issue online quotes for classic, antique, and collector cars and require you to go through a more lengthy process.
The best way to get started is to call your insurance company and ask them if you can get a quote. From there, you can look at other companies and shop around for the best rates and coverages.
How Can I Prepare to Get Classic Car Insurance?
First and foremost, you should ensure that your vehicle meets the criteria to be registered as a classic. It should be between 19 and 24 years old (if it's an antique, most states require it to be 25 years or older). You also need to qualify for a classic car insurance policy by meeting all the criteria mentioned above.
Next, you should prepare to back up or prove the value of your vehicle. Take photos, consult classic car experts, and get the KBB (Kelley Blue Book) price if you can't get the car professionally appraised. Getting an accurate value appraisal protects you from getting shortchanged in the case of a total loss.
You should choose a company that is experienced in the area of classic cars. Get a quote from several insurance companies first and review them to find which one is the best for you. When you select a company, pay attention to the contract and make sure to read the fine print so you know the exact scope of the coverage. Ask questions and take notes. Know what limits you have for the use of your vehicle; most classic cars' insurance restricts driving to a certain annual mileage.
Make sure you have the means to maintain the coverage. If you experience a lapse in coverage, you're at risk if your vehicle gets damaged and it's not insured. Finally, review the policy yearly; the agreed value holds unless you suspect that the actual value of the vehicle has increased over time. Then, you can appeal to increase the agreed value and increase reimbursement in case you experience a total loss.
Classic cars may be a bit more work than regular vehicles, but they're well worth it. Nothing can compare to restoring an old car to its former glory or taking it to car shows and sharing the experience with other passionate collectors. They're a big investment, which is why insurance that covers everything a classic car needs is essential.
Regardless of the type of car collector you are, you want to protect your investment. Looking into classic car insurance proves that you're a responsible car owner that is covered in the event of a disaster. If you're currently looking into classic car insurance, get a quote to determine what plan and level of coverage is right for you.
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