What is classic car insurance? We explain everything you need to know about protecting your pride and joy with a classic car insurance policy
Once the preserve of specialist brokers, classic car insurance is now big business in the UK. More and more classic car owners now choose to use these more classic-friendly insurance policies to protect their investment against the unlikely, put possible accident or theft.
For classic car owners in the UK, regular car insurance policies rarely offer the level of coverage that is required for more rare and special machinery. That’s why specialist insurance brokers such as Hagerty, Adrian Flux, Carol Nash and Lancaster insurance, as well as larger companies like The AA and RAC now offer more tailored classic car policies designed to provide better coverage for relevant vehicles.
While classic cars are generally more expensive to repair than modern machinery, accidents are actually a lot less common, making relatively cheap classic car insurance policies a possibility. With insurance costs generally on the rise – thanks in part to the increased cost of modern vehicle repairs – classic car insurance can still be found for a modest outlay.
Theft is a much higher risk for a lot of classic cars than anything else, as some models can be broken up and the parts sold off for a huge amount. Ensuring your car is safe, with as much security as possible will also help to bring your premium down.
What are the advantages of classic insurance?
Although classic insurance is a great way to save some money, there are other benefits too. Most policies offer insurance on the basis of an agreed value, which means that in the unlikely event of a total write off, you will be given a set amount of money for your vehicle. So long as your valuation is up to date with current market prices, then you will be spared the trouble of arguing over the payout from your insurer, as often occurs with normal policies.
In the event of an accident, insuring your car under a classic policy also gives you the freedom to choose your preferred repairer. This is generally much more important to classic car owners, as the use of the right specialist might be necessary to undertake a top-quality repair. The standard to which a repair has been carried out can also affect the potential future value of your classic, so to have an insurance company that understands this, not just their bottom line – is an important factor.
Other benefits depend on who you go with, but many offer full European breakdown coverage at no extra cost, as well as free legal protection in the event of a claim.
Are there any drawbacks?
Not many, but there are a few things to consider. Most classic policies don’t permit the use of your classic for driving to work and back during the week. This isn’t generally an issue, as most of the time classics are for social and weekend use, but it’s worth understanding the limitations. Depending on your provider and personal circumstances, the exact terms can often be tweaked to include the occasional journey to the office, so it is worth asking the question when getting a quote.
Any no claims discount that you might have built up on your regular policy is unfortunately not transferable to a classic policy, although some companies might take this into account. The one thing almost every classic policy requires is that you have an everyday car insured on a regular policy, reinforcing the fact that you won’t be using your classic for daily driver duties.
Mileage limits will also apply. It’s up to you to decide at the start of the policy, and if you’re planning any big road trips, make sure to factor this in, as your premium could increase if you exceed the limit.
How old does a classic car have to be?
While pre-war cars are all separated into simple categories, such as vintage, veteran and Edwardian, post-war classics are less clearly signposted. In the UK, cars built before January 1977 are classed as historic, and as such are exempt from paying road tax. Anything newer than this is not, by the legal definition, a historic vehicle.
This opens up a world of complications for owners of more modern classics, as there is no definite answer to whether it is or isn’t a classic car. Some companies will base it purely on age, usually limiting policies to cars over 15 or 20 years old, while other companies will judge it on a car-by-car basis. This means that rare and unusual cars that are younger than 15 years old might be considered if you can justify how special it is.
As for modified classics, this is a bit of a grey area. Generally, extreme modifications like upgraded engines, or cars modified for track use will not be covered, although some companies will make exceptions for mild upgrades that are in-keeping with the age of the car.
Some companies offer specific policies for heavily upgraded cars, which are generally treated like classics. There is some significant crossover with both, as in a lot of cases an older modified car will be used in much the same way. Discounts are also offered in many cases if you’re a member of an owners’ club or forum for your car; this is seen as a sign that you are an enthusiast, and a lower risk.
Classic car insurance for young drivers?
As with normal policies, young drivers are generally punished for their lack of experience. Some companies have a blanket age limit, avoiding people under 30 years old. Other companies will accept younger drivers under the age of 25, but usually no younger than 21 years old. There are of course some special policies designed for younger drivers of classic vehicles, so it is worth shopping around.
Looking for temporary insurance for your classic?
Generally speaking, temporary car insurance is only ever available on cars younger than ten years old, however some companies like Heritage do offer limited coverage for classics too. This sort of policy can cover you for a few days, up to a month, but it can often work out to be quite expensive. If you are hoping to temporarily add a second driver to your own classic policy, this can generally be arranged too, depending on the age and driving history of the person, for a small fee.
How to get the best classic insurance?
There are a lot of different policies on the market today, and you might be tempted to go for the cheapest policy you can find, but it is worth reading the fine print before signing the policy. If you intend on adding other drivers, or make other changes during the policy term, some companies will charge an admin fee, or other charges.
If you have more than one classic, some insurers will cover them all under one policy, much like a multi-car policy. While you might be able to save some money by comparing different insurers for each car, it’s more convenient to have all cars covered under one policy, so it might be worth paying slightly more in this case.
So what are you waiting for?
Classic car insurance is one of those great products that allows enthusiasts to run a classic car on a reasonably modest budget, as well as generally offering a more bespoke service designed around protecting cherished cars. With some policies offering a year’s coverage from around £150, it really can open up a lot of possibilities for a
The cost of running a classic can be surprisingly agreeable, especially with the help of a classic car insurance policy. If you’ve never owned one before, take a look at our top ten classic cars feature for some inspiration.