Whether you have a hard-to-find vintage automobile or a popular pony car like a Mustang or Camaro, insuring your classic car with the same coverage as a Toyota Camry isn’t going to cut it. Classic cars require specific coverage called classic car insurance. Finding cheap car insurance quotes online for a classic car might seem tough, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s everything you need to know about classic car insurance, including what it covers and how to get it.
What is classic car insurance?
Everyday run-of-the-mill car insurance won’t fit your needs when you own a classic vehicle. Cars depreciate as time passes and car insurance only pays out the actual cash value of an average car of the same year, make, and model. If you have a 1963 Chevrolet Corvair that’s fully restored, how does the insurer know it’s in pristine condition rather than rusted out and in a junkyard like 99% of all the others?
That’s where classic car insurance comes in. Classic car insurance is a type of car insurance that lets you insure your prized vehicle for its appraised value. Whether it’s an all-original classic, a mildly modified vintage, a rat rod, a high-performance muscle car retro-mod, or a perfect restoration, classic or collector car insurance allows you to insure its actual value based on an appraisal.
What makes a car a classic?
How is a classic car defined? Some insurers like Grundy consider all cars over 25 years of age classic cars, as does American Collectors Insurance. Other companies like State Farm call classic cars any vehicle that is “10 to 24 years old that has historic interest,” and cars 25 years or older are called an antique.
Although there’s no restriction on the type of vehicle per se, a high-mileage 1995 VW Jetta likely to fit the criteria for classic car insurance even though it’s more than 25 years old. It just isn’t special enough to be deemed a collector vehicle or classic car. A ’95 Dodge Viper, on the other hand, has the unique appeal and historic value to be found in a car collection, so it would be a modern choice for classic car insurance.
Does my vintage car qualify for classic car insurance?
Even if you have a classic car, you might not qualify for collector or classic car insurance. Not only does your car have to fit the bill, but additional criteria are set by different insurers. According to the Insurance Information Institute, general criteria to qualify for classic car insurance coverage include:
Minimal use: To qualify for classic car insurance, expect there to be a limit on how many miles you can drive your car annually. Some insurers will require that you garage your car even when you’re traveling, and some will only insure your classic car if you have another primary vehicle for all your usual driving.
Secure storage: Among virtually all classic car insurance companies, you’re required to keep your car in secure storage when you aren’t driving it (a garage, for example).
Good driving record: You may not qualify for classic car insurance if you have serious driving convictions like a DUI, reckless driving conviction, or a bunch of speeding tickets on your record.
Classic car insurance coverage options
Among classic car insurance policies, various types of coverage are offered. You can often customize your policy to work for your situation with optional coverages. Some of the coverages are:
Liability insurance: If you’re at fault in a collision, both bodily injury liability and property damage liability are included with classic car insurance, according to limits you choose.
Medical payments/No-fault insurance: For faster claim payouts, you can opt for no-fault insurance or medical payment insurance (MedPay).
Comprehensive coverage. Should something happen to your car while you aren’t driving it (a hailstorm, flood, fire, or theft, for example), comprehensive coverage will pay for repairs or pay out your car’s full value.
Collision coverage: Whether it’s a fender-bender or a total loss, collision coverage will reimburse you for repairs or pay the replacement value of your classic, according to your policy limitations, in the event of a car accident.
Uninsured motorist/Underinsured motorist coverage. If the other driver is at fault but doesn’t have enough liability coverage for your vehicle, your uninsured motorist coverage insurance can cover the costs.
Roadside assistance: Virtually every classic car insurance company includes roadside assistance, towing and labor, and trip interruption coverage on your plan.
Spare parts coverage: If something happens to the spare parts in your inventory for a classic car, your classic car insurance will cover their value too.
What does classic car insurance not cover?
Although the insurance coverage is pretty good, classic car insurance won’t cover every eventuality. For example, you can’t buy collector or classic car insurance for a regular-use vehicle. It doesn’t matter if it’s an old pickup truck or a restored Plymouth Roadrunner: If it’s a daily driver or you exceed the mileage criteria on the policy, then collector car insurance isn’t the right fit.
Vintage or classic off-road vehicles also aren’t eligible for classic car insurance. Forget about insuring a tank, truck, or dirt bike that isn’t intended for road use as a classic.
How much does classic car insurance cost?
The most important factor when estimating the cost of classic car insurance is the car’s appraised value. If you have one car valued at $30,000 and another model appraised at $250,000, you can rest assured the premiums for the quarter-million-dollar car will be a lot higher.
On average, though, classic car insurance is significantly less expensive than standard car insurance on a similarly-valued vehicle, sometimes about half the price.
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How often can I drive my classic car?
With a classic car, you’re limited to a low number of miles per year. For example, State Farm limits classic car insurance policies to just 2,500 miles per year. Others, like American Collectors Insurance, have flexible tiers to let you choose how many miles you can put on your car, with your premiums adjusted accordingly. Even with companies that offer mileage tiers, you shouldn’t expect to put more than 5,000 miles per year on your classic car.
Does my driving record impact my ability to find coverage?
One reason why classic car insurance costs less than standard car insurance is because insurers expect that you’ll be more careful driving a classic car. Your driving record indicates what kinds of risks you subject your vehicles to. If you’ve racked up a lot of speeding tickets or were caught drinking and driving, you may not even be able to find classic car coverage. Classic car insurance companies tend to reject applications from drivers who don’t have a spotless driving record.
Where to find the best classic car insurance
You can find a classic car insurance policy with some standard providers like State Farm, Geico, and Progressive. However, there are also insurers that specialize in coverage for classic and collector cars. These include:
- Hagerty Insurance
- American Collectors Insurance
- Grundy Insurance
- J.C. Taylor
- Condon Skelly
How to buy classic car insurance
Because classic car insurance relies on an agreed-upon appraised value rather than book value, a recent appraisal typically needs to be performed before you can buy a policy. You can apply with specialized carriers like American Collectors, but not all insurers will let you buy a policy online.
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