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Classic car insurance is a specialized policy designed specifically to insure vintage vehicles like antique and classic cars. It differs quite a bit from regular auto insurance in terms of qualifications, coverage, and premiums. Key things to know:

  • Covers physical damage from collision and comprehensive risks
  • Provides liability protection
  • Has stricter eligibility requirements
  • Offers potential savings over regular auto insurance
Regular Auto InsuranceClassic Car Insurance
Covers daily driver vehiclesCovers collectible vintage vehicles
Actual cash value payoutsAgreed value payouts
Higher premiumsLower premiums

Classical cars need the right car insurance coverage for their collections, otherwise, they'd end up losing too much money

Requirements to Qualify

To be eligible for classic car insurance, both you as the driver and your vehicle must meet certain qualifications set by insurance providers. These requirements help ensure the policy is only covering true collectible vehicles that are rarely driven and well cared for.

Vehicle Age

The first requirement relates to the age of the vehicle. Most insurers consider a car to be a classic once it reaches a certain age, usually at least 20-30 years old. For example:

  • Classic car: At least 20-25 years old
  • Antique car: At least 45 years old
  • Vintage car: Made before 1930

However, some exotic and luxury vehicles can qualify as classics at younger ages than typical cars.

Storage and Usage Limitations

Insurers also impose strict limits on how classics can be stored and used to maintain eligibility:

  • Must be stored in a locked, enclosed garage when not being driven
  • Annual mileage limited to 2,500 miles or less
  • Cannot be used for daily transportation or commuting
  • Only driven short distances for shows, exhibitions, or pleasure

Storing the car properly reduces risk of damage and theft. Limiting mileage reduces accident exposure.

Driver Record

Driver eligibility is also important. Most insurers require:

  • Minimum age, typically 25 years old
  • Clean driving record, with no violations in past 3-5 years
  • No major infractions like DUIs or reckless driving ever

These requirements ensure only mature, responsible drivers are behind the wheel.

Not meeting one of these qualification criteria could make your car ineligible for classic car insurance. In that case, a standard auto policy would be required instead.

While the classic car insurance qualifications are strict, they allow providers to offer specialized coverage at reduced premiums. Without these limitations, claims frequency and severity would increase, pushing up rates.

So in summary, the key qualifications include:

  • Vehicle age - Typically 20+ years old
  • Proper enclosed storage when not driving
  • Low annual mileage limits
  • Restricted usage, no daily driving
  • Clean driving record

Meeting these qualifications signals to insurers that your vehicle is a true collectible classic car deserving of specialty coverage and premium discounts. So be sure your car and driving profile fit the requirements before applying.

Coverage Differences

While classic car insurance includes the standard coverages like liability and uninsured motorist protection, it differs most significantly in the collision and comprehensive coverage.

Agreed Value vs. Actual Cash Value

Regular auto insurance pays out the actual cash value of your vehicle in the event of a total loss. This is based on the current depreciated value of the car.

With classic car insurance, collision and comprehensive claims are settled on an agreed value basis. Here's how it works:

  • You submit documentation to prove the value of your classic car
  • Could include appraisal, vehicle history, restoration costs, etc.
  • The insurer reviews and makes a value determination
  • An agreed value is reached and listed in the policy

If the car is totaled, this agreed amount is paid, minus your deductible.

Benefits of agreed value:

  • Covers the true market value of your classic car
  • Accounts for expensive restoration work
  • Doesn't depreciate like actual cash value policies

This ensures you receive adequate compensation to replace your collectible vehicle after a covered total loss.

Original Replacement Parts

Another important coverage difference relates to replacement parts.

Many classic cars have unique parts that can be hard to find and expensive to replace. That's why a quality classic car insurance policy will include:

  • Original manufacturer parts coverage
  • Searching for rare replacement parts
  • No aftermarket parts without your approval

This helps ensure your classic is repaired properly with authentic components.

In summary, the two biggest coverage differences are:

  • Agreed value settlements to reflect the true value
  • Original parts replacement when repairs are needed

These provisions recognize the special nature of insuring collectible classic vehicles versus regular daily drivers. It's important to understand these differences as you shop for the right classic car insurance policy.

Cheaper Premiums Than Regular Insurance

One of the biggest benefits of classic car insurance is the potential for significant savings compared to regular auto insurance.

Premiums for insuring classic cars are usually much lower for a few important reasons:

- Lower Mileage

Classics are driven fewer miles per year - typically no more than 2,500. Less time on the road means lower accident risk.

- Careful Driving

Owners are motoring enthusiasts who drive carefully and avoid poor weather. Lower claims frequency results.

- Proper Storage

Classics stored in enclosed garages have reduced risk of damage and theft.

- Fewer Passengers

Usually it's just the owner driving solo or with one passenger, further reducing accident exposure.

- Better Maintenance

Meticulous maintenance and mechanical care further minimize the chances of a claim occurring.

Insurance pricing is all about predicted risk - and the above factors make classics low-risk vehicles to insure.

How Much Can You Save?

The potential premium savings are quite substantial:

  • Classic car insurance averages about $50/month
  • Compared to $100-$150/month for regular auto insurance

That's a discount of 50% or more over conventional coverage!

Savings will vary based on:

  • Your driving record
  • Type of classic car
  • Coverage limits
  • Deductible amount
  • Your location

But with responsible driving habits, you could pay just a few hundred dollars per year to insure even a high-value collectible car.

The bottom line:

  • Cheaper premiums are a huge advantage of classic car insurance
  • Low mileage, careful usage and proper storage make classics low-risk
  • Be sure to shop around for the best rate for your specific situation

The potential premium savings may offset the extra effort to qualify for specialty classic car coverage.

Where to Buy Classic Car Insurance

Once you determine you and your vehicle qualify for classic car insurance, the next step is finding the right provider. Here are some top options to consider:

Specialty Insurers

Several insurance companies specialize specifically in insuring collector vehicles:

  • Hagerty - The largest classic car insurer, with decades of experience. Offers agreed value coverage, spares no expense on repairs, and excellent service.

  • American Collectors Insurance - Flexible mileage plans, up to unlimited miles annually. Also covers modified and exotic vehicles.

  • Grundy Insurance - Will insure classics with salvage titles. Coverage includes trip interruption protection.

  • Heacock Classic - Enthusiast-run company focused on customer service. Offers agreed value plans.

These specialty providers cater to the unique needs of insuring collector cars. They offer expert knowledge and tailored coverage options.

Standard Companies

Some standard insurers like State Farm and Allstate also offer classic car insurance. This can be a convenient option if you already have policies with them. However, make sure you are getting proper agreed value coverage and low mileage plans.

Auto Clubs

Many regional auto clubs like AAA offer discounted classic car insurance through partner providers. Club members should inquire about these affinity programs.

Things to Consider

When selecting your classic car insurance company, key factors to weigh include:

  • Agreed value settlement handling
  • Original parts replacement coverage
  • Customer service reputation
  • Discounts available
  • Price for your particular vehicle
  • Years in business/experience

Shop around to compare quotes on coverage specifically designed for collector vehicles. Don't rely solely on the lowest premium, but look for quality protection.

Specialty classic car insurers tend to offer the best experience and value for your cherished collectible. But more standard companies can also work if they customize coverage to meet your needs.

Defining Classic vs. Antique vs. Vintage

When considering classic car insurance, it's important to understand what exactly constitutes a classic car and how it differs from an antique or vintage vehicle.

Age Thresholds

There are general age thresholds used to classify these types of collector vehicles:

  • Classic car - Typically at least 20-25 years old
  • Antique car - At least 45 years old
  • Vintage car - Pre-1930ish era vehicles

However, some exotic or rare vehicles can qualify as classics at younger ages than more common models.

Here are some examples of cars that may fall into these categories:

  • Classic - 1970s muscle cars, 1980s Ferraris
  • Antique - Model T, pre-war vehicles
  • Vintage - Ford Model A, early Cadillacs

Vehicle Condition and Value

Beyond age, insurers also look at:

  • The rarity of the vehicle
  • Its restored condition
  • Current market value
  • Appreciation potential

Cars that are rare, in great shape, and hold their value well are more likely to qualify as classics worthy of specialty insurance.


To get classic car coverage, vehicles also need to be:

  • Driven minimally, under 2,500 annual miles
  • Used only for car shows, club events, etc.
  • Not used for daily transportation

The collector status relates more to usage than simply age.

Key Takeaways

  • There are no firm definitions, but general age ranges for classics, antiques, and vintage cars
  • Condition, value, and usage also determine classic status
  • An antique car is always a classic, but a classic isn't necessarily an antique
  • Talk to your insurer about qualifying your specific vehicle

If your car meets these general guidelines, it likely falls into one of these collectible vehicle categories and merits specialty classic car insurance.

Insuring Your Classic Car

Insuring your classic car properly is key to protecting your investment. Here are some important coverage details to understand.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

These coverages pay for damage to your own classic car.

  • Collision covers damage from accidents
  • Comprehensive covers non-collision damage
    • Weather, fire, theft, vandalism, animals, etc.

Both are essential to fully protect your vehicle's value.

On a classic car policy, the payout is based on the agreed value, not depreciated actual cash value.

Benefits include:

  • Coverage for the vehicle's true value
  • Accounting for restoration costs
  • Appreciation over time

Without this coverage, a total loss would not be adequately compensated.

Liability Coverage

This coverage is required in most states. It pays for damage and injuries you cause others while driving your classic.

Key components:

  • Bodily injury liability - covers medical bills
  • Property damage liability - covers vehicle repairs or property damage
  • Uninsured motorist - covers injuries from an at-fault uninsured driver

Liability limits are stated on your policy, such as 100/300/50. Higher limits mean more coverage, but cost more.

Ample liability insurance is crucial on a collectible vehicle to protect your assets. If sued, limits of $500,000 or more are recommended.

Additional Options

Other optional coverages to consider include:

  • Spare parts - Covers loss of lenses, tops, bumpers, etc.
  • Trip interruption - Covers lodging/meals if your classic breaks down
  • Towing and labor - Pays for towing to a repair shop.

Discuss your needs with your agent to build the right policy.

Properly insuring your prize classic car safeguards the investment you've made in your collectible vehicle. Don't cut corners on coverage to save a few dollars.

Maintaining Coverage

Once you have classic car insurance in place, it's important to continue meeting all requirements to keep your preferred rates and coverage.

Limited Mileage

Most policies have annual mileage limits of 2,500 or less. Going over that threshold could result in:

  • Your insurer non-renewing your policy
  • Losing your classic car designation
  • Higher premiums when policy renews

Carefully track mileage on your collector vehicle throughout the year. Consider installing a separate odometer for reliability rides to keep main mileage low.

Proper Storage

Keeping your classic stored properly is another key requirement, like:

  • Locked private garage
  • Climate-controlled storage facility
  • Carport or canopy specifically approved by your insurer

Make sure any shelters are fully enclosed and secure. Avoid public parking garages.

Also be diligent about securing the vehicle when stored:

  • Engage parking brake
  • Use a wheel lock
  • Close windows
  • Activate alarms or anti-theft devices
  • Consider a battery disconnect switch

Consistent Maintenance

Perform regular maintenance to keep your classic car in peak operating condition. Follow the recommended schedule in the owner's manual. Critical items:

  • Oil changes
  • Fluid flushes - Coolant, transmission, brake, power steering
  • Tire rotation
  • Battery testing

This reduces the likelihood of a breakdown or claim occurring when driving your collectible vehicle.

By adhering to all qualifying criteria, you keep your prized car insured at the lowest premiums while also protecting your investment through proper care and precautions. Don't jeopardize your coverage.

What Happens After an Accident

If you happen to be in an accident with your classic car, here's what to expect in terms of repairs and replacement parts.

Choosing a Repair Shop

Your insurer may recommend repair shops, but you can choose where to get your car fixed. Look for a shop that specializes in classics or exotics.

Benefits of a specialty shop:

  • Experienced with older vehicle construction
  • May have connections for rare parts
  • Higher quality workmanship
  • More likely to consult on keeping original components

You'll pay out-of-pocket and submit the invoice to your insurer. Original parts coverage will reimburse you.

Sourcing Replacement Parts

Damaged parts on a classic can be hard to find affordably.

Your insurer will search salvage yards, classified ads, online forums, and specialty suppliers to find original components.

If an original part simply can't be located, aftermarket or used parts can be substituted, but this requires your approval.

For very rare cars, manufacturers may have to retool to recreate specific parts - a lengthy and expensive process. This scenario should be outlined in your policy's original parts coverage.

Refinishing Work

Painting and refinishing are critical on a classic car.

Seek out shops experienced in color matching, color sanding, and applying as close to the factory coats and technique as possible.

Rushing body work harms the car's value. It must be done with care to maintain the vehicle's authentic look, feel, and value.

In summary:

  • Find specialty repair shops with classic expertise
  • Review parts sourcing diligently
  • Insist on high-quality refinishing work

You want your car fixed properly to retain its collectibility. Don't let insurers cut corners - this is your pride and joy!

Getting the Best Policy

Finding the optimal classic car insurance policy takes some research and effort upfront, but pays off when you have proper coverage at the best rate.

  • Get quotes from multiple specialty and standard insurers
  • Compare not just premiums, but key coverages like agreed value and original parts replacement
  • Inquire about any discounts available such as multi-policy, anti-theft devices, affiliations
  • Read sample contracts to understand exclusions and restrictions
  • Ask about the claims handling process and customer service reputation
  • Negotiate an agreed value with your insurer that reflects your car's true market value

Taking the time to shop around and compare will ensure you select a quality provider at a competitive price. Don't just default to the cheapest policy.

Protecting your prized classic car with specialty insurance tailored to your specific needs provides peace of mind and preserves your automotive investment.

Other readers were also interested in the following posts:

How to get insurance for a salvaged car?

Is Full Coverage Car Insurance Worth It?

Secondary Car Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive Car Insurance: What It Is and What It covers 

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