Classic and collector car insurance

Here’s why you’d need classic car insurance — and how much it might cost.

Anna Swartz 1600

Anna Swartz

Published May 3, 2019

If you have a car, you need car insurance. And that’s true whether you have a 2018 Subaru Outback, a 1967 Ford Mustang, or a 20-car Porsche collection housed in a three-story garage. Getting car insurance for the Subaru can easily be done online, but getting insurance for the Mustang or your Porsche collection can take a few more steps.

Classic, collector and performance cars require unique car insurance. They’re often more expensive than everyday rides, and they may require more complicated and specialized repairs if they’re damaged.

Classic and collector cars are also, by virtue of their value and rarity, more likely to be stolen or vandalized, making insurance all the more important. Don’t worry though, while classic cars are often pricey collector’s items, classic car insurance can actually be cheaper than standard auto insurance. Read on to find out how to find affordable insurance for your classic or collector car.

In this article:

Who needs classic car insurance?

There is no one definition of a classic car. The Classic Car Club of America defines classic as a car built between 1925 and 1948, but, for insurance purposes, the definition is that if your car’s current value exceeds its original selling price, then it’s likely a classic car — and qualifies for a classic car insurance policy.

Vehicles that generally need classic car insurance include:

  • Antique cars (defined as over 25 years old)
  • Hotrods and modified vehicles
  • Exotic and luxury cars
  • Muscle cars
  • Classic trucks
  • Vintage military vehicles

In addition to a qualifying vehicle, classic car insurance policies also have requirements on how you use the vehicle. These include:

  • Limited use requirements: A classic car can’t be your primary vehicle, and there may be maximum usage and mileage requirements. Many policies also include travel restrictions, so if you’re planning on driving your car often (or even sporadically to car shows), ensure that you purchase a policy that permits it.

  • Secure storage requirements: Classic car policies often require that your vehicle be kept in a locked garage or storage unit.

  • Good driver requirements: To qualify for a classic car insurance policy, you need to have a clean driving record; insurance companies won’t issue policies if you have serious offenses on your driving record.

How much does classic car insurance cost?

Like standard car insurance premiums, classic car insurance premiums are determined by a number of factors, including the type of car, the age of the driver, the driver’s record, and the location.

But even though classic car insurance is designed for expensive collector vehicles, it won’t necessarily be more expensive than a standard auto insurance policy. The reason? Many classic cars are rarely driven.

Most classic car insurance policies come with strict mileage limits, and the lower those limits are for your policy, the lower your premiums will be. Cars kept year-round in climate-controlled showrooms will have lower premiums than cars that are driven often. Classic car insurers also count on classic car owners to drive more carefully than an average driver.

Collector policies can actually be half the cost of a standard auto policy or less for inexpensive collector cars driven infrequently. Many speciality insurers that primarily offer classic car insurance will make this price difference clear.

Hagerty, an insurance provider that specializes in classic cars, says online that their classic car policies cost, on average, 39% less than a regular car insurance. Grundy, another classic car insurer, says their classic car insurance costs saves drivers 50% of the cost of standard auto insurance.

But the only way to be sure that you’re getting the best deal on your classic car insurance is to shop around for quotes and compare prices before you settle on a policy.

What does classic car insurance cover?

Classic car insurance largely works the same as standard auto insurance, including liability coverage, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and medical payments coverage.

One big difference: in the event of a total loss, classic car insurance pays out the agreed or guaranteed replacement cost. This differs from standard car insurance, which pays out the car’s depreciated value at the time of the loss, also known as the actual cash value.

Classic car insurance also features other specialty coverages:

  • Roadside assistance: Pays for flatbed towing in case of a breakdown or accident.

  • Traveling coverage: Pays for food, lodging, and additional expenses if your car breaks down on a trip.

  • Auto show medical reimbursement: Pays medical payments if someone gets hurt in or near your car at an auto show.

  • No attendance required coverage: Covers your vehicle at an event or auto show even if you’re not there.

  • Spare parts coverage: Provides coverage for spare parts for the car.

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What to consider when shopping for classic car insurance

There are a few questions you should answer before shopping for classic car insurance:

What is your car worth?

Your insurance company will have its own ideas, but you should come into the quote knowing what you think the car’s worth is, based on what you paid for it or what similar models have sold for recently.

How often do you plan on driving the car?

Different companies and policies will have drastically different rules for how often and how far you can drive your car each year to qualify. Some policies may let you drive the car as often as you like as long as it’s not your primary vehicle, while others will have strict mileage requirements.

Who will be driving the car?

Some insurance companies have strict age limits on the drivers who are permitted to drive cars insured by a classic car policy; keep that in mind if you or anyone else who’ll be driving the car frequently are under 25.. (Some companies will insure younger drivers with clean driving records, but many will only insure drivers over 25 and in some cases 30-years-old.)

Do you expect the car to increase in worth?

Some classic car policies include protection called inflation guard, which increases the value of your policy along with the value of your car.

Do you need spare parts coverage?

Spare parts on classic cars can be expensive, so some insurers offer additional coverage in case those parts are stolen.

Are you restoring your car?

Some companies offer policies specifically for vehicles under restoration. These policies will increase the insured value of your car by a certain amount each quarter to reflect its improved condition. You also have the option of insuring the tools you’re using for the restoration.

Is it worth bundling your insurance policies?

If the company that provides your standard car insurance policy also offers classic car insurance, you may get a discount for bundling. And if not, it may be worth switching to a company that will let you bundle!

How to save money on classic car insurance

While classic car policies can be less expensive than standard auto insurance, there are still ways to further lower your costs, including:

  • Upgrading your garage. A more secure garage means lower premiums, so make sure you’re keeping your classic car somewhere fully enclosed and protected.

  • Driving it less. As we mentioned above, classic car insurance is generally less expensive the less you drive, so if you want to bring down the cost of insurance even further, consider only taking your classic car out a few times a year.

  • Cover multiple cars under the same policy. If you have multiple classic or collector cars, you can usually get a discount for insuring them with the same policy.

  • Join a club. Some providers offer deals for classic car owners who are affiliated with participating driving clubs.

  • Beef up security. Installing upgraded security features in your classic car, like an electronic vehicle ID system, can earn you discounts with some insurers.

What are the best classic car insurance companies?

Not all car insurance companies offer classic car insurance policies, but some do. There are also some independent insurers that specialize in classic car insurance policies. Some of the more well known and respected of these companies include:

  • American Collectors
  • American Modern
  • Grundy
  • Hagerty
  • J.C. Taylor

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.