Owning a classic car is more than a hobby for most collectors, it’s a passion. If you have a classic car in the garage, you’ll want to make sure the car you love is fully protected both in the garage and out on the road. A classic car insurance policy offers protection that is specifically designed for collector cars, and in most cases, this coverage costs much less than a standard policy.

While collectible car insurance is similar to standard car insurance, there are significant differences, particularly around how the vehicle is valued if it’s totaled and restrictions on how often it can be driven. If you own a classic car or are in the market for one, keep reading to learn about collectible car insurance.

Key Highlights
  • Classic or collector car insurance typically pays out a specific agreed-upon value (or guaranteed value) if the vehicle is destroyed
  • There are subgroups of classic cars like antique and vintage cars, but in most cases, the basics of the insurance policies are the same
  • Classic cars don’t typically depreciate, they go up in value which is why most classic car insurers sell an agreed-value classic car insurance policy
  • Classic car insurance typically costs around 36% less than a standard auto policy

What is classic car insurance?

Classic cars are a bit different when it comes to insurance. Most of these vehicles spend more time in a garage than on the road. They mainly hit the road for short drives at the weekend, a car show or other special events and in most cases, they are only out of the garage when the weather is good. In addition, they tend to appreciate rather than lose value over the years.

All of this requires a slightly different insurance policy. In addition, the vehicle (and drivers) must meet specific requirements for a classic car policy.

Classic auto insurance typically pays out a specific agreed-upon value (or guaranteed value) if the vehicle is destroyed instead of the actual cash value.

In most cases, you and your insurance company will agree on the guaranteed value of the vehicle and your premium will be based on that figure. If the car is destroyed, you will be paid the agreed-upon or guaranteed value amount.

While there are subgroups of classic cars, antique and vintage are two examples, in most cases, the basics of an insurance policy are the same.

How is classic car insurance different from standard car insurance?

Classic or collectible car insurance covers damage much like a standard car insurance policy but there can be some very specific differences, particularly in how a total loss claim is paid and restrictions on driving the vehicle.

Here is a quick overview of the major differences:

Total loss claim

When it comes to a total loss claim, most standard policies pay out the actual cash value of the car at the time it was totaled, which means that depreciation will be considered when valuing the vehicle.

Classic cars don’t typically depreciate, they go up in value which is why most classic car insurers sell an agreed-value classic car policy.

This means that when you purchase the policy, you and the insurance company agree upon the value of the car (you will have to provide documentation to back up this valuation), your premium is based on that value and if the car is totaled, you will be paid the agreed-upon amount.

Driving restrictions

Classic car insurance typically comes with a limitation on how often you can drive the vehicle, while it varies by the insurance company, a cap of around 7,500 miles is year is typical. Most classic car policies also require that the owner has another vehicle (a modern car) that is used as a daily driver.

There are also additional coverages available, which are classic car specific:

  • Increased replacement cost: If the value of your vehicle increases beyond the agreed-upon value, this coverage will pay out the difference.
  • Roadside assistance: While roadside assistance is available with a standard policy, with a classic car policy, your vehicle will be put on a flatbed truck instead of being towed behind a tow truck.
  • Auto show medical reimbursement: This coverage offers liability protection if someone is injured at a classic car show. If someone is injured in your space at a show you could be held liable, and this coverage protects you against medical and legal costs.
  • Spare parts coverage: If you keep spare parts for your collectible car in your garage or take them to a classic car show and they are damaged or stolen, this coverage will cover the cost to replace them.

What does classic or collector car insurance cover?

Classic and collector car insurance is very similar to a standard policy, with the major differences being restrictions on the usage of the vehicle and how it is valued in the event of a claim.

A vintage car insurance policy (or collector car insurance) contains the following coverages that are the same as a standard policy:

Liability coverage

Both bodily injury and property damage liability coverages are part of a classic car policy. This protects you if you injure a person or their property with your classic car. Like a standard policy, you can choose your coverage levels and deductible. It is illegal in most states to be out on the road with liability coverage. Required coverage levels vary by state.

Collision coverage

Collision coverage will pay to repair or replace the vehicle if it is damaged or destroyed due to a collision with another vehicle. The big difference between a classic car policy and a standard one is how the vehicle is valued if it is totaled in an accident. Classic car policies pay an agreed-upon value instead of the actual cash value of the vehicle at the time it is totaled.

Comprehensive coverage

This coverage will pay to repair or replace the vehicle if it is damaged or destroyed by something other than a collision, is vandalized or stolen. Comprehensive covers damage caused by fire, flooding and even animal strikes. Again, the major difference is how the vehicle is valued with a classic car policy offering an agreed-upon value instead of actual cash value.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist

This coverage will step up if your vehicle is hit by another driver who is either uninsured or underinsured.

What are the classic car insurance requirements?

There are a variety of requirements that must be met to qualify for classic car insurance. Both the vehicle and any drivers on the policy must meet these requirements.

The good news is that a wide variety of collectible cars can qualify for classic car insurance.

Below are some of the car and driver requirements and vehicle categories that will typically qualify for a classic car policy.

Car eligibility requirements

Most insurers do have requirements that the vehicle must meet.

Here are some of the more common requirements:

  • At least 20 years old
  • Modern muscle car
  • Exotic
  • Modified vehicle

In addition, the car must be:

  • In good condition and appreciating in value
  • It must be parked in a fully enclosed garage or other approved storage structure
  • Cannot be used as a daily driver
  • Cannot be used for racing or driven on a racetrack
  • Not driven more than 7,500 miles a year (this can vary)

Collector car categories

When it comes to collectible cars, they often fall into one of these categories, according to American Collectors:

  • Vintage car: Manufactured between 1919 and 1930
  • Antique car: Manufactured 1975 or earlier (>45 years old)
  • Classic car: Manufactured 1990 or earlier (>20 years old)

While these categories are well-defined, classic or antique car insurance can be written for a wide variety of vehicles, so it’s always a good idea to contact an insurer to see if your vehicle qualifies for classic car coverage.

Here are a few vehicle types that often qualify for classic or antique car coverage:

  • classic and antique trucks
  • imported cars
  • exotic cars
  • custom vehicles
  • hot rods
  • street rods
  • veteran vehicles made before 1919
  • vintage military vehicles
  • rare motorsport vehicles
  • classic motorcycles
  • antique tractors
  • modern limited production models

It should be noted that eligibility will vary by insurer. While one may not write a policy for your vehicle, another insurer might be happy to which is why shopping around is always a good idea.

Driver eligibility requirements

While eligibility requirements can vary by insurer, in most cases each driver of the vehicle will need to meet the following requirements which are from J.C. Taylor:

  • Be at least 25 years of age
  • Anyone listed on the policy as a driver must have a driving record with no more than one moving violation and one at-fault accident in the past 3 years.
  • Each licensed household member should have a modern vehicle for daily transportation.

How much does classic car insurance cost?

Costs for classic car insurance coverage will vary depending on various factors, but the good news is that it is typically much cheaper than a standard car insurance policy. According to data collected by Hagerty, on average, classic car insurance runs roughly 36% cheaper than standard insurance.

The reason behind the lower rates is the fact that classic cars are driven less, they are garaged and very well taken care of by the owner, all of which lowers an insurer’s risk of a claim.

When setting a premium on a classic car, numerous factors will be considered:

  • Age of the vehicle
  • Value of the vehicle
  • Gender of driver
  • Driver’s driving record,
  • Your credit score

This is not a complete list, as with any insurance policy, the best way to find great coverage at a price you can afford is to shop around.

Where can I buy classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance is often available from nationwide insurers such as Progressive, Farmers, Safeco, State Farm, Esurance and Geico.

Numerous specialty insurers only deal with classic cars.

A few of the more well-known classic car insurers are:

  • Hagerty
  • Grundy
  • J.C. Taylor

It is always a good idea to check with your existing insurer as adding a classic car to your policy may result in a multi-car discount.

How to get classic car insurance quotes

Getting a classic auto insurance quote is pretty similar to getting a standard auto insurance quote but you may need to gather a little more information before starting the process. Here are a few shopping tips:

Determine the value of your car

Classic car insurance is typically an “agreed-value” which means you and your insurer will agree on a value of the vehicle and your premium will be based on that value. You will need to have documentation that backs up your valuation.

Gather information required for policy

You will need information about the vehicle as well as anyone that will be listed on the policy as a driver. This includes driver’s license numbers and other driver information, the year, make and model for the vehicle and any documentation that qualifies your vehicle as a collectible car.

Document modifications and storage

If the vehicle has been modified, you will need to note and document these mods as your insurer will want to be aware of them to determine a premium amount. Most collectible car policies require the vehicle to be stored in a garage so you will need to document where the vehicle is stored.

Miles driven

Most classic car insurance policies limit how many miles you can drive the car on an annual basis (some are unlimited) so you should determine how many miles a year you wish to drive your vehicle.

Gather quotes

Once you have gathered all the above information, you can simply shop for collector car insurance quotes. Get quotes from at least five different insurers, and check with standard insurance companies such as Progressive and specialty collectible car insurers such as Hagerty or J.C. Taylor.

How to save money on classic car insurance

Just like a standard auto policy, there are ways to save a bit of coin on your classic or antique auto insurance, here are a few tips:

  • Storage: If your vehicle is stored in a secured enclosed garage with an anti-theft system, your premium will be lower than parking it in a carport at your home.
  • Security: Installing a security system on your vehicle can help lower your premium, particularly lo-jack or a GPS tracker that can help the police find the vehicle if it is stolen.
  • Drive it less: If you agree to a lower annual mileage cap your premium should drop a bit.
  • Multi-car discount: If you have more than one classic car, insuring them all with the same insurance company will typically result in a discount. Ask about all available discounts and make sure they are being applied to your policy.
  • Auto club: Many classic car clubs have partnerships with insurance companies that offer better rates to members.
  • Shop your coverage: This is probably the best way to save on collectible car insurance. Shop your coverage regularly and get quotes from at least five different insurers.

Frequently asked questions: Classic and collector cars

Is old car insurance the same as classic car insurance?

Old car insurance is not a type of insurance, and just because a vehicle is older does not mean it is a classic car. Classic car insurance requires the vehicle to meet certain requirements, in many cases, it must be at least 20 years old, not driven daily, stored in a garage, is appreciating in value, and there is often a cap on the annual mileage.

If your car is simply old, it will most likely not qualify for classic car coverage, and you will need to purchase a standard auto insurance policy.

What is stated-value car insurance?

Stated value insurance allows you to “state” a value for the vehicle when you purchase a policy. You will have to provide documentation to back up the value, but as long as the insurance company agrees, the policy will be written for that amount, and your premium will reflect that coverage.

However, with a “stated value” policy, in the event of a total loss claim, your insurance company can pay you the stated value or the actual cash value, whichever is less.

Can I get a classic car insurance policy for a modified car?

Yes, many classic car insurers will write policies for modified cars as long it meets their requirements and you have only done certain modifications.

As an example, Hagerty’s will offer coverage for the following which they consider “modified cars”:

Hot rods, street rods, resto-mods, kit cars/replicates, pro-street, cobra replicas, low riders, tuners, and more

  • Significant performance increases
  • Structural alterations to body/chassis/frame
  • Custom paint job worth $10,000 or more

In most cases, the vehicle would need to be used mainly for hobby purposes, and if you add items such as roll cages, nitrous oxide systems or make substantial suspension changes (lifting the vehicle), it will not qualify for collector car insurance.

Are there any drawbacks to classic car insurance?

Because classic auto insurance comes with a variety of restrictions, there can be a few drawbacks:

Driving limits: Most classic car insurance policies limit how many miles can be put on the vehicle on a monthly or yearly basis so you can’t drive it whenever you want.

Discounts are limited: There are not nearly as many discounts for classic cars. While a multi-car discount may an option with some insurers, discounts for advanced safety features or using a telematics device will not be available.

Ask any insurer you get a quote from what discounts they have for their classic car policies when shopping for coverage.

Coverage options can be limited: Classic car insurers may not offer all the available coverages that are available for a standard vehicle.

Mark Vallet contributed to this story.

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