How can one find the best auto insurance for a classic car? Is it even possible to find cheap antique car insurance? Classics cars can be well worth the sometimes pricey cost of upkeep and storage – there is no need to have to pay more for insurance coverage than necessary. Read on to learn some of the things that you should know before you purchase a classic car auto insurance policy.
Who hasn’t turned their head while driving down the road to get a better look at a classic or collectible car? We’re enamored with the lines of the car as well as its pristine condition. But the detailed attention in maintaining a classic car’s flawless appearance and operation is not only to draw admiring looks, it is also necessary in order to keep up the market value of the car. For this reason, along with others, specialized classic auto insurance policies were developed to meet the needs of classic and collectible car owners.
Another reason (a very important reason), for insuring your vehicle as a classic or collectible is the greatly reduced cost of classic car insurance relative to standard auto insurance. Standard auto insurance can cost as much as 200%-300% more than classic auto insurance. So, what is the biggest factor that causes such a great disparity in price between classic auto insurance and standard car insurance? Generally, collector vehicles are driven on a limited basis (the garage is where they are usually found). As a result, the risk of accident and loss to collector vehicles is considerably lower than the risk involved in vehicles that are regularly driven.
DOES YOUR VEHICLE QUALIFY?
The following is a list of classifications for collectible cars.
Antique cars – 25 years or older
Custom cars – 1949 to present
Classic cars – 20-24 years old
Collectible cars – 15-19 years old
Exotic cars – less than 15
Street rods – Pre-1949
This is the standard listing for those cars that are considered eligible for classic car auto insurance, but certain cars may be accepted at the discretion of the insurer. Sometimes, classic car insurers will customize an insurance policy for a particular vehicle.
WHAT ARE THE RESTRICTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH COLLECTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE?
To keep collector auto insurance rates low, certain usage limitations are placed on the insured vehicle.
Cannot be used for everyday use. This rules out using it to drive to work, run errands, or go out for that bite to eat. Under a classic car insurance policy, car usage should be limited to driving to and from car shows and the occasional parade.
Cannot be driven more than 2,500 miles per year. 2,500 is a fairly standard number among insurance companies that offer classic coverage, but there are some insurance companies that have mileage plans that allow up to 5,000 or 6,000 miles per year. This increased mileage limit was put in place to accommodate those drivers who like to take their cars to distant car shows. Of course the premiums are greater.
Must be kept in a locked garage. A locked enclosed trailer will also do, but a carport will not meet the grade even if you live in a gated community with a security guard. (The weather is also an enemy of the classic car). Some policies might stipulate that a car cannot be left unattended in a parking lot. This means leaving your car in a motel or hotel parking lot might present a problem.
WHAT CONSIDERATIONS SHOULD BE KEPT IN MIND WHEN CHOOSING CLASSIC AUTO INSURANCE?
Does the company offer Agreed Value Coverage or Stated Value Coverage?
Agreed value lets the classic car owner and the insurance agent set a value for the auto that does not necessarily reflect the market value for that car. Usually, the insurance agent will have to do a thorough inspection of the car both inside and out and will require photos of the vehicle.
What are the usage and mileage restrictions?
Find the policy that best suits your plans for using the car. Why pay for a plan that covers mileage for 5,000 when you know that you won’t even come close to using the 2,000 miles available in a cheaper policy.
Can you choose your own repair shop?
The Mom and Pop shop down the road might do a good job on your regular car and offer the lowest repair bid in town, but do you really want them working on your classic “baby”?
What company underwrites the policy and what is the rating for that company?
You want to be sure that the underwriter has a good track record and is going to be able to fulfill all of their obligations even if for some reason there is a larger than normal influx of insurance claims.
Are there any discount programs available?
A good insurance company should always inform you of any discounts that are available to you, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Does your insurance offer insurance for classic or modified cars that are under construction?
Some companies will monitor the progress that is being made on your vehicle while it is in the garage for repairs and modifications and allow you to adjust the value of the car as the project continues. Also, this type of insurance covers damages to your auto in case of a catastrophic occurrence such as a fire, or the hydraulic lift fails, or the tool cart falls on your car (with a little imagination the possibilities are endless.)
WHY CAN’T I JUST ADD MY COLLECTOR CAR TO THE FAMILY AUTO INSURANCE POLICY?
You can, but it could be a costly mistake. If repairs are needed you may be forced to accept the lowest repair bid, or if the car is badly damaged, the insurance company could opt to have it totaled. And although a discount is usually given for cars combined under one policy, that discount still may not provide the savings available if the car was insured under a classic auto insurance policy.
Finally, make sure your insurance company has a good understanding of classic cars. In the event that your car is totaled, you want to be able to work with a knowledgeable representative and receive the full value for your car.