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Specialist classic car insurance is recommended when insuring cherished vehicle as owners' needs are very different from those insuring modern automobiles.

To get suitable insurance quotes classic car drivers should use specialist insurers who will appreciate the different needs: often in the event of serious damage a modern car owner will prefer replacement but the historic car owner may favour repair or reinstatement of their damaged vehicle. Classic car insurance online quotes are now available but, as always, the buyer should check the small print carefully.

Historic and Classic Car Insurance

Classic car insurance is not about insuring a car more cheaply. Whilst cost may be lower the cover may also be different with more restrictions and other expenses. There may be wide differences between policies so the terms must be checked very carefully and it is always wise get several insurance inusurance quotes or estimates. Only then is it possible top make proper classic car insurance comparisons.

Differences Between Insurance of Classic and Modern Cars

The main differences tend to be:

  • More limited annual mileage
  • Restrictions precluding everyday use
  • Windscreens, loan car, breakdown, foreign travel cover differences
  • Specific security requirements
  • Driver qualification requirements tend to be varied; some will provide cover on surprisingly powerful vehicles for young drivers; other insurers will require the driver to be older or have more experience.
  • Cover based on an agreed value for the vehicle
  • Choice of repairer tends to be important for specialist cars as insurer’s approved repairer may not have the skills or experience to deal with a historic vehicle.
  • Conditions therefore are variable and may have more options than is usual for general cover.

Insuring Historic Automobiles For Everyday Use

It may be tempting to consider using a Classic Car for Everyday Use but classic car insurance policies usually limit usage. Some can be very specific in excluding business use or even commuting. Some only allow use when travelling to or on classic car events; security restrictions on a classic policy may also limit how viable everyday use would be.

Regular use but not on a historic vehicle policy. The starting point should still be the specialist classic car insurer or owner’s club scheme. Such insurers understand the special needs of an antique car owner and can provide everyday cover with important elements from a classic car policy. In particular: agreed value, reinstatement cover, salvage retention and flexibility on annual mileage.

Insuring Risks During Restoration or While Laid-up

Cover is required during restoration where value is increasing as work progresses or as a restorer’s requirement. Many classic cars are only used during the summer and are taken off the road during winter – risk is reduced but cover is still needed against fire, theft or damage from non-traffic causes. Specialist insurers recognise such requirements and can include the cover as an option.

Agreed Value of Specialist and Classic Cars

Modern car insurance uses market value to determine payout in the event of a write-off. For rarer classic cars that may be difficult to establish so an agreed value is used. How this is established varies by insurer but may be:

  • Self-substantiated by the owners providing photographs and other evidence
    Independent valuation perhaps by the owner’s club or from approved engineers
    Insurer’s own valuer

Such valuations will need updating periodically and in the event of damage may be challenged if the vehicle was not in the condition as described in the valuation. There may be also a higher value allowed where the car needs to be repaired or restored as a result of insured damage.

The owner should make sure that the valuation and its basis is formally agreed and included in the policy documents.

Other Considerations When Insuring Classic Cars

Other options should be considered and may be available as part of the classic car policy or require additional cover available only from specialists. Typical requirements might include:

  • Track Day Use
  • Competition – on road such as rallying or track use.
  • Wedding Hire Cover
  • Multi-vehicle policies

Salvage Retention

In the event of total right-off owners may wish to retain the wreck so that they can repair or restore the vehicle themselves or use it as a source of parts. This is especially important for older or rarer vehicles. There may be an extra charge to include it or restrictions on age or rarity.

Owners Club Insurance Schemes

Most owners clubs negotiate special policies and rates for their members. There will usually be discounts available from some insurers, the saving may well cover club subscriptions and make membership worthwhile on that basis alone.

Policies under such schemes usually reflect typical usage by the club’s members, so may include more flexible foreign travel or wider competition cover. Again it makes careful comparison of terms and conditions important; everyone insuring a classic car needs to check that the cover being offered matches their particular needs.

What is a Classic Car?

This varies by insurance company but 25 years old certainly qualifies but some will accept cars as young as ten years or less.

Specialist Insurance is the Best Policy

It is therefore wise for the classic owners to go to a specialist insurer for their insurance quotesbut they should always do a detailed comparison of policies to ensure the terms and conditions meet their specific needs. Seek advice before buying a classic and join the owners club such as that for Triumph TR sportscars. The owner can also help reduce their costs if they take measures to protect classic cars from theft.




First appeared on Suite101


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