Classic cars are not meant to be driven around in the freezing snow and ice or for grinding out a daily commute to work or school. They require special care and protection, including insurance coverage designed specifically for these valuable vehicles.
While your classic car may not be fragile, if you want it to maintain—and potentially increase—its value over time, you need to be cautious and gentle with it. Having the right classic car insurance is another important measure you can take to help protect your vehicle for the long term. The following four things are good information for all collector car (and truck) enthusiasts to know about this specialized insurance coverage.
1. What does classic car insurance cover?
Classic car insurance includes much of the same coverage that a basic Massachusetts auto insurance policy does, including bodily injury liability, property damage, uninsured/underinsured motorist, and personal injury protection. In addition, classic car policies usually include the following coverage:
- Full Comprehensive and Collision
- Spare Parts Inventory Coverage
- Trip Interruption
- Towing and Labor
- Inflation Guard Value Protection
- Uninterrupted Coverage When Your Car is in the Shop for Repairs
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about your classic car insurance coverage is that it is based on an “agreed value.” The agreed value for your collectible is the amount the insurance company will pay out, minus any policy deductible, for a total loss claim if you crash your car or it’s stolen.
One reason it’s called an agreed value is because it is something you and your insurance company will agree upon at the beginning of the policy period, which is very different from how an insurance payout for a total loss on a standard vehicle works. If you’re in a serious crash in your SUV, for example, the insurance company only pays out the depreciated value of the vehicle on the date of the accident, which is typically a lot less than its original worth. Whereas, if you’re in the same crash in your vintage Corvette, thanks to agreed value coverage, you’re guaranteed to get the full insured amount of your classic vehicle with no depreciation and including all sales taxes.
Also, since many classic cars actually appreciate over time, you will want to find an insurance company that allows your agreed value coverage limits to increase if your car’s worth goes up.
2. What cars qualify for classic car insurance?
Whether your vehicle qualifies for classic car insurance depends on several factors, including the following:
- How old is your car? While each insurance company has slightly different criteria when it comes to age, the typical definition of a classic car is that it is at least a couple of decades old and has appreciated in value as it has aged.
- How do you use your car? Most companies will allow you to drive your vehicle to club functions, exhibitions, organized meets, and tours, and even take it on the occasional just-for-fun ride. The biggest no-no, though, is to use your collectible as your daily transportation. You, and any household member who wants to be listed as an insured on your classic car policy, must have a valid driver’s license and another vehicle they own and use for driving to work, school, or other frequent destinations.
- How do you store your car? Most insurance companies strongly prefer that classic car owners store their prized vehicles in an enclosed, secure structure when not in use. Examples of desirable storage locations are a private locked garage, pole barn, or storage unit, where your car will be better protected from threats such as bad weather and vandalism.
There are also qualifications that a collectible vehicle’s owner typically must meet to be eligible for classic car insurance. In general, insurance companies want you to:
- Be at least 25 years old.
- Have a good driving record and at least 5 to 10 years of driving experience.
- Have no more than one at-fault accident or moving violation within the previous three years.
- Agree not to race your classic car or drive it on a racetrack.
3. How much does classic car insurance cost?
Luxury items almost always cost more to protect. But you’ll be happy to learn that this is not the case when it comes to insuring classic cars. These beauties actually tend to have lower insurance premiums than your standard, everyday use vehicles. Some of our insurance partners report that their classic car customers pay an average of 30% less for a classic car insurance policy versus a standard auto insurance policy.
When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. There’s less risk involved for an insurance company in providing a policy on a collectible car, mainly because you’re generally not driving it far or frequently. You’re also likely to use more caution when behind the wheel.
Not only can classic car insurance cost significantly less than traditional car insurance, but it may also come with some value-added benefits, such as invitations to exclusive owner events and unlimited roadside assistance service.
4. How do you get classic car insurance?
The Austin Insurance team has a love of classic cars and their design, engineering, and history. So, over the years, we’ve built partnerships with a variety of insurance companies that offer specially designed coverage for our clients who own collector vehicles.
If you have any of the following vehicles and don’t use them for everyday transportation, then the Austin team probably works with an insurance carrier that can provide you with an excellent insurance solution:
- Antique and Classic Cars
- Muscle Cars
- Classic Trucks
- 1980 or Newer Collector Cars
- Collector Motorcycles and Scooters
- Hot Rods, Tuners, and Lowriders
- Antique Tractors
- Collector Race Cars
- Classic Military Vehicles
- Kits and Replicas
- Retired Commercial Vehicles
- Classic Utility Vehicles
- Collector Trailers
- Newer Ultra-Luxury and High-Performance Cars
- Collector Boats
- Classic Car Collections
The Austin team, along with our classic car insurance partners, provides collectors with a level of knowledge and experience, and a personal touch that is always beneficial but particularly helpful if you ever have to file a claim. You will get access to an experienced claims team that is very familiar with the art of classic vehicle repairs, and you typically will get to choose the body shop you are most comfortable entrusting with the restoration of your special vehicle.