6 tips for shopping for classic car insurance

Some classics, such as this 1936 Ford Woodie built by Boyd Coddington, may appreciate over time - make sure your insurance covers it. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Some classics, such as this 1936 Ford Woodie built by Boyd Coddington, may appreciate over time - make sure your insurance covers it. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Unlike more modern automobiles, classics may qualify for less expensive insurance than traditional insurance products because the vehicles are driven less frequently, limiting their liability exposure, and most classic car owners treat their cars especially well.

Here are some suggestions when seeking classic car insurance:

1. Ask about required driving experience.
Some insurance companies may only cover classic cars if the principle driver has five or more years of experience on the road. Some policies may also specifically prohibit allowing anyone with less than the required experience from operating the vehicle.

2. Ask how damaged parts will be replaced.
If you own an exotic or rare vehicle or an especially old model, it’s likely that tracking down parts, if necessary, can be a daunting task. Just procuring or reproducing an older part may add significant costs or time delays to a vehicle’s repair. Some insurance companies offer parts location services. Know ahead of time how the insurance company will pay for or assist in the process.

3. Know how the car is valued.
Many insurance policies cover a vehicle’s actual cash value, which means the value is depreciated and the owner pays a deductible. Other policies will pay the stated value, which may come from other sources and be less than the real value of your car, leaving you less money than anticipated in the case of damage or loss.

An agreed-upon value means the policyholder and the insurer have reached an understanding of the real value of the car and what the insurer will pay. If you’re unsure of the value of your car, it’s a good idea to have it appraised prior to shopping for insurance.

4. Ask if the policy covers appreciation.

Unlike most modern vehicles, which depreciate year over year, your classic vehicle may gain value each year. Look for an appreciation clause, review your contract annually and have the vehicle appraised every 2-3 years to make sure your insurance policy covers your vehicle’s current value.

5. Ask if an insurance company covers vehicles in the process of restoration.
Your classic or collectible may not be in showroom-ready condition – yet, but you still need to protect your investment. Some policies cover vehicles in the process of restoration.

6. Understand your responsibilities.

Read the fine print of your policy’s terms to make sure you meet all the conditions. Some products may limit the number of miles the vehicle may be driven annually, cover driving only during certain times of year (seasonal policies), or cover only vehicles protected from weather or vandalism in a garage.


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