Classic Car Insurance 101: Everything You Need to Know

For many classic car owners, their vehicle is their most prized possession. If you are one of the many who spends hours polishing, tweaking, oiling or just admiring your cherished motor, then you’ll know how important adequate insurance cover is. Whether you own a humble Morris Minor or a vintage Rolls Royce, accidents happen and you need to make sure that you have the right insurance in place if calamity strikes.


However, insuring older vehicles can be a minefield. A lot of insurance companies view classic cars as posing a high risk because of their age and their value, and the riskier the vehicle is seen to be the harder it is to insure it. Seen as you can’t drive around without insurance, it’s really important to find someone who understands older cars and can offer the right policy for you and sufficient coverage for your vehicle. Here are a few tips to help you when you’re buying classic car insurance.  

Tip #1

Classic car owners should look for insurance policies that have Stated Value and Agreed Value replacement terms. Normal insurance will pay the car’s Actual Cash Value, which means that if your car is totalled, you receive the depreciated value. However, if you’re the owner of a classic car worth thousands of pounds, then you need more coverage. That’s where Stated Value and Agreed Value terms come in; if you wreck the vehicle, your settlement will be in line with your car’s real value, as the amount you set is a term of your insurance. You should be very wary when agreeing this amount. If there’s a claim and you’re found to have been dishonest regarding the condition of the car, the agreement will be null and void, and you will only get what the insurer believes the car to be worth, despite the value having been ‘agreed’.

Tip #2

To ensure that following the previous tip is worth your while, stay up-to-date with the value of your car, as classic cars, unlike other vehicles, appreciate in value. Review your insurance periodically to ensure that your car is not insured for less than it’s actually worth.

Tip #3

Valuable classic cars should be kept in a garage. Insurance companies are unwilling to insure valuable cars kept outside because they are at an increased risk of damage (due to being out in the elements day after day). If you have a carport you must check with your insurer whether or not this will suffice, as classic car insurers may also stipulate that the car is not only kept out of the worst of the weather, but also locked away. Over 50% of vehicle thefts occur overnight, so some insurers are only willing to cover cars which are securely locked away in a garage after dark.   

Tip #4

Don’t insure anyone younger than 25 on your classic car insurance policy. Classic cars tend to be worth a lot of money, so insurance companies are reluctant to cover younger drivers, who are seen as posing a higher accident risk.

Tip #5

Many classic car insurance policies will only cover you for 2,500 miles per year, so keep an eye on your mileage. If you know that you’ll be driving further afield, call your insurer to check that your vehicle will still be covered if you exceed your annual allowance.

Tip #6

If you don’t plan to drive your classic car every day, then consider ‘collector’ car insurance to save yourself some money.  Collector policies tend to impose conditions re mileage etc., so make sure that these don’t pose any problems before committing to a collector’s policy. 

Tip #7

Limit your mileage as far as possible. Most people don’t use their classic car as their day-to-day transport, and limited mileage policies could save you significant money on your premiums. If you drive your car 1,000 miles a year, don’t insure it for 3,000.   

Tip #8

Even if you only drive your car in the summer and it is garaged in the winter, make sure that it is still covered via an insurance policy. To save some money take out laid up cover, as this will protect your car in the event of a fire or theft but will cost less than comprehensive insurance.

Tip #9

Declare any and all modifications made to your classic car. Most used cars have been altered in some way, so insurers are generally sympathetic to any changes you’ve made. However, if you swap your 1972 MCB 1798cc engine for a 1950cc lump, or add twin carbs to your Triumph Herald, and forget to tell your insurer about it, your policy could be invalidated in the event of a claim.  

Tip #10

If you have to drop your classic car at a garage or repair shop, inform your insurer of this. Although short term stays for routine maintenance generally won’t be an issue, longer stays may be, as classic car insurance policies often stipulate that the vehicle remains in your care, control and custody.

Tip #11

Don’t use comparison sites. Although comparison websites are a great tool for saving money on insurance for modern cars, you’ll get much better deals on classic car insurance by getting in touch with a specialist broker, as they will have access to a far greater range of appropriate schemes. 


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