How Is Hagerty Keeping Car Culture Alive?

Carlos Kirby
· 4 min read
Car culture is experiencing a rapid change. A growing number of car enthusiasts, including college students, are being drawn to the world of cars through social media platforms like YouTube and other accessible outlets. As car technology advances, the industry is also becoming more modernized.
Hagerty is a Traverse City-based company that specializes in insuring
and vintage cars. It has received global recognition for its efforts in preserving car culture.
It’s been an exciting year for Hagerty. According to
The Drive
, the company has acquired the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance charity race, California Mille, and the Greenwich Concours d'Elegance.
Hagerty is dedicated to the preservation of classic car culture and racing. Here’s how McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, and the company are working to keep classic cars alive.
Hagerty is the largest classic car insurer in the US and has 1.5 million members.

What is threatening classic car culture?

At a car event in Vancouver, British Columbia, McKeel Hagerty was approached by someone working on developing self-driving cars, as reported by
Providence Journal
. The stranger told Hagerty, "I'm putting you out of business."
This experience prompted Hagerty to launch a new mission called Save Driving. The goal of his movement is to preserve human driving and keep car culture alive for future generations as self-driving cars become more prevalent.
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Hagerty needs support from club members

MORE: Hagerty Goes Public in a $3 Billion Deal
Hagerty's Drivers Club has 1.5 million car enthusiast members and is the largest classic cars insurer in the U.S. However, to have enough influence to preserve human driving in the future, Hagerty said he needs 6 million members. He wants people-driven cars to share the roads with self-driving cars.
"Driving in car culture is meaningful for a lot of people," Hagerty said. "We feel the car culture needs a champion." He still owns a 1967 Porsche 911S, the first car he bought 37 years ago for $500, which he restored with his dad.

How is Hagerty saving car culture?

MORE: How to Buy Your First Collector Car
Hagerty has faced criticism from some enthusiasts wary of the company’s influence on car events. They have concerns about the homogenization of these events and question whether it’s appropriate for one company to control so many aspects of classic car culture. McKeel Hagerty, who leads this business as its second-generation leader, says all their work falls under saving car culture.
"Some homogenization is probably good, like standardizing ticketing registration for an event and making sure security and access and all those things are done well and professionally," Hagerty said. "But one of the things that we're very, very aware of (especially for Concours events like those in Greenwich and Amelia Island) is that they all have very unique characteristics that make them special. We want to preserve that."
Hagerty and his team are spreading the word through events. His wife, Soon Hagerty, leads company public relations, corporate social responsibility, events, and brand strategy. Together, they're working to make events run smoother and to bring more cars to the public.
McKeel Hagerty said that his vision is to create a galaxy of events for different segments in the car world, with Concours being just one entry point. Hagerty has also started
Garage and Social
; this event gives enthusiasts access to garage space and experiences in several locations across Delray Beach, Toronto, New York City, and Chicago.

How to get classic car insurance

Unlike regular cars that depreciate over time, classic cars often rise in value, and standard car insurance might not provide sufficient coverage. Classic car insurance is tailored to rare and exotic cars, and offers coverage that may not be available from a regular insurance company.
A standard feature for many policies is agreed value coverage options based on an appraisal and special protection for any damage occurring at events or during repairs.
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