Your classic car isn’t the average Corolla. It’s not meant to just take you from point A to B. It's a piece of history that represents a part of your personal identity and life-long story. Whether you have a 1967 Pontiac GTO or a 1964 Aston Martin, you want to make sure your prized possession is well protected. Here's how insurance for your classic car works.
What makes a classic car "classic"?
Because all insurance companies have their own underwriting department (that essentially evaluates risk and monitor exposure), it’s difficult to create a set of hard and fast rules regarding what defines a classic car. Some insurance companies group all classic-type cars under the general umbrella of "classic-car insurance" or will separate them out individually. Either way, there are underlying themes we can discuss, all with important elements to consider. Let's first start with some basic categories insurance companies use to sort classic-type cars into:
- Classic cars: This usually refers to vehicles that are restored, of high value, in good, working condition, and are between 15-20 years old.
- Modified collector cars: This type of vehicle is exactly what it sounds like. It has some aspect of the body or engine that is altered significantly from the original condition. This is a tricky area in terms of classic-car insurance because depending on the modifications, insurance companies might not provide coverage. Cars modified for the purposes of racing, for instance, are usually excluded from coverage.
- Replicas: Sometimes referred to as a “kit car,” a replica can refer to a vehicle over 20 years old with separately manufactured performance. Alternatively, it can mean a car that reflects another vehicle that is at least 25 years old.
- Antique autos: An antique car usually means that the vehicle is older than 25 years and is in good working condition. However, this numerical regulation can vary per company, as well as by state.
What makes up classic car insurance?
While there are many unique attributes to classic cars and their insurance, the core structure of insurance remains fairly consistent. Classic car insurance still offers liability for bodily injury and property damage, collision, comprehensive, medical payments, and uninsured/underinsured protections. However, a big difference between car insurance and classic car insurance is reflected by the distinctions in the use of the vehicle.
Insurance companies don't typically view a "classic" vehicle as a client's primary form of transportation. To accurately reflect this minimal use of the vehicle when designing policies, some insurance companies use stipulations for your classic car, like mileage limitations and mandatory garage storage practices.
Moreover, car insurance and classic car insurance can differ in the event of a total loss. For example, if you drove a 2010 Toyota Corolla and it was totaled in 2016, with average insurance, the amount you would receive in your claims payout would factor in the 6 years of depreciation. However, with classic car insurance and your vehicle was totaled, you would receive the amount that was originally agreed upon at the onset of your policy without any depreciation. This concept is referred to as "agreed value" or "guaranteed value" coverage and it's pretty common with most insurers. The reason for this caveat is infused into the very nature of the classic car: if they're well cared for, value will only increase over time.
Another unique aspect to classic car insurance is the idea of worldwide coverage. While the insurance for your standard vehicle is restricted to the US (and sometimes Canada), most insurance companies offer a broader form of coverage for classic cars. So, if you plan on touring your car to show it off, speak with your insurance provider about available protection options.
Because classic cars are unique monuments of the past, most policies offer room for special coverage that in-production cars, like your friend's Miata, don't need.
Auto Show Medical Reimbursement
Highly specific to classic car insurance, this insurance covers you in the event someone injuries themselves at an exhibit or event where your car is featured.
No Attendance Required
Like medical reimbursement, no attendance required coverage is specific to being at an auto show or exhibit. Here, your coverage is extended even if you’re not in the vicinity of your vehicle and damage occurs. For instance, if your vehicle is being used in a demonstration at an event and is damaged, you would still have coverage.
Coverage for spare parts
This provides coverage for any backup parts you may have if they are damaged or stolen for an agreed-upon value.
Discounts can be very company specific. However, there are a few discounts that most companies utilize which are worth some consideration:
Otherwise known as multi-policy discount, a multi-line discount refers to having two kinds of insurance with one company. If you currently have an renters or homeowners policy, consider insuring your classic car with the same company. If bundled together, on average, you can save between $72-$110 on your car insurance.
This discount is pretty self-explanatory. Usually, your classic car isn’t your main form of transportation. So, try having your A-to-B car insured by the same insurance company as your classic car so you can be eligible for a multi-car discount.
How and Where to Buy
The process for getting your classic car insured can be a little different than trying to insure an average vehicle. A typical car has a 17 character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) that you or your insurance company uses to rate your vehicle - but a classic car is not always guaranteed to have. Because of this, you’ll usually have to shop around for a quote for a classic car directly with an insurance agent.
Here are some popular providers of classic car insurance:
- Hagerty Insurance
- Grundy Insurance
- American Collectors
- State Farm
- American Modern
Got a specific question about your shiny baby? Feel free to Ask an Agent where we can put all your car insurance worries at ease!