Car Insurance for Classic Cars

By Desiree Baughman
Desiree maintains insurance licensure in 46 states, and by combining years of experience as a writer and insurance professional, she delivers information consumers can easily relate to and understand. A graduate of Sweet Briar College with a diverse writing portfolio, she regularly serves as an expert source and commentator for respected outlets like CBS Money, Bankrate, and Ragan.com.

Car Insurance for Classic CarsWhether you’ve recently inherited a classic car or are an avid collector, it’s clear that one would never treat their vintage Mercedes 180 the same way they would their 2010 Toyota Prius. For this reason and others, such as the fact that many classic car owners only drive their “babies” seasonally, or that there are additional safety concerns due to many classic cars lacking what are now standard safety features (like seat belts, rollover protection and crumple zones), car insurance companies offer special insurance for classic cars.

What Qualifies as a Collector Vehicle?

According to the Classic Car Club of America, a car must be anywhere between 30 to 49 years in age to be considered “classic”, while the Antique Automobile Club of America defines a classic as being between 20 and 49 years in age. Any vehicle between 50 and 99 years old would fall into the “pre-antique” class, while cars 100 years and older are considered “antique” class.

How Insurance Agents Evaluate Classic Cars

Not everyone who thinks they have a classic car will qualify for insurance that’s specifically tailored for one. Insurers will take a number of things into consideration when assessing the value of a vehicle, including:

  • If there are luxury accessories on or in the vehicle
  • If there is any custom coachwork
  • If there is a “one-shift” lubrication system
  • If there is any engine displacement
  • The presence of a power clutch and power brakes

If the car has had any restoration work done, the insurer will also want to check and see whether the vehicle was restored as per the manufacturer’s specifications and to its original appearance.

Different Options for Classic Car Insurance

Much like personal auto insurance, there are a number of different options that classic car owners can choose from:

  • Instant new purchase coverage
  • Comprehensive, collision and liability coverage
  • Guaranteed value coverage (with this coverage you would be compensated the full agreed value of your vehicle should it be written off as a total loss)
  • Auto show medical reimbursement (in the odd event that you’re injured at an auto show)
  • Spare parts coverage
  • Seasonal or holiday coverage
  • Motorcycle safety equipment coverage

If you’re looking to keep premiums low, ask your insurer whether they would consider a reduced premium if you agree to maintaining a lower mileage limit. You may also be able to save up to 15% on your policy if you’re already part of a car club, or join one in the future. Lastly, for your own safety as well as for keeping your insurance payments to a minimum, be sure to take all precautions necessary to protect your car from vandals and thieves. This means outfitting your vehicle with approved devices and keeping your classic car properly locked up in a secured garage – but odds are you’re already doing whatever it takes to protect your classic beauty.