Insuring Your Classic Car: Do You Need Special Coverage?

How does antique car insurance work?

What Is Classic Car Insurance?

Classic car insurance differs from your average auto insurance policy. Though policies vary, the “agreed value” of its coverage is the top difference for most new customers. Instead of getting your car’s value from the insurance company alone, you reach an agreement after an appraisal — the insurance company’s professional estimate of your unique car’s worth. 

This makes much more sense for a classic car that brings you pride and deserves fair protection. With this special insurance to cover your needs as a collectible car owner, you can insure its highest possible value, cover hard-to-find spare parts, get help displaying your car at shows, and hire the best experts for essential repairs and maintenance. But, like any insurance policy, classic car policies have coverage limits, and only certain cars make the insurers’ lists. 

What Types of Cars are Covered by Classic Car Insurance?

Classic car insurance policies share ideas about which years, models, and vehicles count for coverage. Many states also have their own definition of what makes a car truly “classic.” When you seek classic or antique car insurance, be prepared to dive deeper into their meaning of the term, but these categories usually rank:

  • Antique models: These original cars age more than 25 years while being in well-restored order. Some say an antique car can have as few as 20 years, but others demand an age of 45 years at a minimum. States may also chime in about their rules and standards.
  • Traditional classics: Less strict than the antique group, many insurance companies give classic coverage to cars from 20 to 25 years old. They must also maintain a healthy working state and command a greater value when you compare them to similar makes and models. 
  • Kit replicas: It may surprise some that a car made to resemble an antique or traditionally classic car can qualify for this special form of coverage. If a car represents or reproduces another model made 25 years ago or more, insurers can consider it classic. 
  • Custom cars: In rare cases, an altered engine, unique body, or redone interior could qualify a car for classic insurance as a modified vehicle. These changes can help the car’s value, but some insurers may lower the car’s worth in their estimates for coverage. 
  • Other vehicles: Hot rods, vintage makes, and veteran vehicles probably come to mind when thinking of classic car insurance. Models that saw limited production clearly tell insurance companies they meet the definition of classic cars since many were made more than 70 years ago. 

How Is Classic and Collector Car Insurance Different from Regular Car Insurance?

A standard car insurance policy lacks the custom coverage that classic car insurance gives you. In general, the difference between the two sits in how you protect your investment in your one-of-a-kind car. Proper protection of your classic or collectible car needs these splits from traditional car insurance:

  • Agreed Value: When you agree on your car’s value with the insurance company, settlements calculated in advance give you more certainty and security. With plain car insurance, you get “actual cash value” after a claim, meaning your loss waits for an adjuster to choose. That means you might be surprised or disappointed when the check comes. With classic or antique car insurance, you know how much you’ll get back ahead of time.
  • Repair Choice: You wouldn’t trust every mechanic to treat your classic car with the care and expertise it needs. Many insurers allow classic car policyholders to select special shops to work on their pride and joy. You’re often up against chance (and the insurance company’s network) with standard car insurance.
  • Claim Security: With typical auto insurance, your claims have an adjuster decide on the cost of repairs based on fixed and factory standards. With classic, collector, or antique car insurance, you can make claims within the limit you accepted at the start.
  • Premium Savings: Classic car insurers tailor policies for vehicles they know are cared for, stored safely, and used less. Because of this, they often charge less than regular insurance on the same vehicle. Custom policies can cut your coverage costs and lead to big discounts on your total investment. 
  • Deductible Differences: Classic car owners quickly see that custom insurance lowers deductibles and offers more options than regular auto insurance. If you get into an accident, you may shell out far less than what the average insurance company asks. 

Other differences between average car insurance and custom classic coverage change the way insurers offer policies and when they can. Not every car meets the classic standard.

What is a “Classic Car”?

Classic auto insurance doesn’t fit the average model or cars for everyday use. Your classic or antique automobile is special, and an insurer must agree. To get coverage, each insurance company defines a “classic car” by their own general descriptions and finer details. Though, you’ll notice a few patterns. 

Along with factors like an impressive age and worth, your car should usually be an exotic vehicle, modified car, muscle make, or at least 20 years old. If you can place it in one of their categories, your classic car generally must:

  • Not be a daily commuter or racing car
  • Be in good condition and securely stored
  • Stay under certain yearly mileage limits

Antique auto insurance carriers look for rare, special qualities to cover your classic or antique car. While each insurer differs, they all confirm these key marks with fixed standards and value ratings before offering a custom policy. 

What Types of Policies are Available for Classic Cars?

You tailor the coverage of your classic car with your car insurance company. You can include protection against losses, damages, and accidents for the guaranteed value you both agreed to before beginning your policy and paying premiums. With other special perks for your special car, you can add security by selecting options for getting spare parts ahead of time.

Agreed Value Coverage

After a total loss, you get every dollar that you and your insurance company decided on ahead of time. Unlike normal car insurance, you can ignore worries about losing value on your investment, haggling with agents, and the hassle of uncertain payouts. If the company covers your loss, you’ll receive the full amount, despite the years that have passed since you started the policy. 

Spare Parts Coverage

To help with rare and pricey parts, antique car insurance policies can cover some or all spares and replacements. If you need them for restoration, policies can include tools and maintenance equipment in your coverage. Some insurers even help you with historic and collectible items like license plates, memorabilia, original manuals, models, and more. 

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Classic Car?

Classic car insurance costs vary by many factors like your car, age, record, region, and insurance company. Although this insurance targets uniquely valuable vehicles, the premium for a great policy usually beats the best rates in standard car insurance. In fact, the cost of coverage averages around 40% less than the typical car insurance policy. (Classic cars expose themselves to fewer risks, like regular driving and owner neglect.)  

To lower your premium even more, you can select yearly mileage restrictions that show insurers you want to lower risks for your car despite your full coverage. Getting a quote tells you most about what to expect from this kind of insurance policy. Compare the top car insurers to get an idea of the final cost.

Types of Classic Car Insurance

Like common car policies that financially protect you from accidents of all kinds, classic car insurance coverage includes liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance:

  • Liability Insurance: This kind of coverage limits your overall liability if you cause a car accident by helping you pay other people’s expenses for property damage and personal injury. Like common car insurance, your classic or collector policy can cover both forms of liability.
  • Collision Insurance: To pay for the repair or replacement of your classic car, collision coverage helps after many different accidents. If something falls on or collides with your investment, your policy can help you recover. 
  • Comprehensive Insurance: If your car is stolen or damaged in a non-collision accident like vandalism or fire, comprehensive insurance kicks in to help you pay for the repairs and restorations you’ll need. 

Best Companies for Classic Car Insurance

Each car insurance company brings you unique benefits as a policyholder, but your cherished classic deserves the options, premiums, and protection only the best can offer. Whether you rank value, expense, or lifestyle coverage as most important, three names stand tallest in the crowd of classic car insurers:

  • Grundy: Classic and collector cars usually grow in value, and most insurance companies in the industry don’t keep up with the growth of your investment. Before most classic car policies, you decide on the amount to cover for future claims. Grundy goes even further. You can join their Motor Vehicle Program for a payout of 50% more than you agreed if your car gains worth.
  • American Collectors: Driving a classic car comes with the risk of breakdowns, theft, and show fees. Going above other classic car insurers, American Collectors offers plans to offer cash rewards for recovering stolen cars and to cover losses if your car misses a show because of a breakdown or accident needing roadside assistance. They’ll even cover legal fees when these risks turn sour.
  • Hagerty: Many classic car owners enjoy the lifestyle of classic car culture as much as their cars. While offering great car coverage in the usual categories, Hagerty also covers the expense of classic car memorabilia, license plates, car accessories, collectibles, and more. Their policyholders can also experience their community’s classic and vintage cars through their DriveShare program.

How to Choose the Best Policy for Your Classic Car

Before selecting a classic or antique car insurance policy, make sure that you are a good fit for this form of coverage. Without an idea of how insurers will qualify you, you could waste time and energy looking into a policy you can’t get. Remember that there is more to classic and collector cars than age because other factors play into policy needs. With a little reading, many classic car owners discover how they qualify for coverage — even those that only look like a real vintage model.

Then, decide how much coverage you want based on your car, driving habits, and desire for claim limits and liability coverage. You might also think about policy extras like cash rewards after a theft or reimbursements for collecting memorabilia. 

Classic Car Insurance FAQs

  • How is classic car insurance different from regular car insurance? Classic car insurance differs from regular car insurance mostly through “Agreed Value.” Typical car insurance decides on how much to pay you only after you get in an accident or have liability expenses. On the other hand, classic car policies pay an agreed amount on covered claims. Beyond that, classic and antique car insurance averages lower premiums and deductibles because of the care you show your insured car. In many cases, you also have more options with the insurance company about preferred repair shops and other benefits. 
  • How old does a car have to be for classic car insurance? Insurance companies, associations, and states have many different definitions of what makes a car a true classic. Usually, the car must be 20 years old or more. But, it’s not just age that readies a car for this kind of insurance. Insurance companies also look at how often you drive the car, where you store it, its condition, and its value.
  • How many miles can you drive with classic car insurance? Yearly mileage limits change from company to company and policy to policy. Typically, you can drive the insured car up to 2,500 miles each year, but lower limits exist and often have lower premiums. 
  • What happens if my classic car is totaled? If an insured classic car is totaled and the incident is covered, your insurance company will pay the agreed value for the car, regardless of the time since your policy started. Some insurers like Grundy will give more if your car has risen in value. 
  • Is a classic car cheaper to insure? With mileage limits, more care, safer storage (usually in a dedicated garage), and less risk in classic car coverage, insurance companies ask for lower premiums and deductibles. Usually, you can expect costs around 40% lower than regular car insurance.
  • Can you get full coverage on a classic car? Classic car coverage includes liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance. These types satisfy the needs of most classic car owners with an experience of full coverage, but each insurance company will recommend and offer more policy options to fully meet your needs.

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