In 2020, it was reported that the classic car industry has an annual turnover of £18.3bn. There are approximately 1.5 million classic cars registered in the UK, which is an increase of nearly 50% from the previous four years. If you are one of the many classic car owners in the country, then you will know how much specialist care your treasured vehicle needs.
Whether you take your classic motor to events or enjoy leisurely drives at the weekend, it’s a must to buy the right insurance cover for your pride and joy. Especially because there are a number of risks that classic cars are vulnerable to, largely due to their age and the scarcity of replacement parts.
Classic cars often have both sentimental and financial value to their owners, which is why it’s a good idea to find an insurance policy that helps you financially should anything happen to your vehicle. However, it can be hard to choose between classic and standard car insurance, based on the different policies and prices.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the type of insurance that you should consider for your classic car and why it is different from standard car insurance. We’ll also talk you through the ways that you can lower your insurance cost by protecting your vehicle and following certain restrictions.
Is classic car insurance specialist insurance?
All cars that are driven on the road are legally required to be insured. However, some types of insurance are designed to cover vehicles with special needs due to their make or age. Classic car insurance is considered a specialist type of insurance because older vehicles have different needs than standard cars.
Many classic cars are taken to vintage car shows, or used for weddings or proms. These uses, as well as the maintenance that classic cars need, mean that you will need specialist cover that standard car insurance can’t provide.
Continue reading to find out what classic car insurance covers, along with the cost and qualifying factors that your car must have to take out this particular insurance.
What does classic car insurance cover?
Classic car insurance offers similar cover to standard car insurance, including property damage, collision, comprehensive, bodily injury liability and breakdown cover. This type of policy generally offers the standard third-party liability insurance, along with damage, fire and theft cover.
Classic car insurers also provide specialist services, such as agreed value payouts, wedding hire cover or an owners’ club discount. The latter is offered to classic car enthusiasts who belong to approved classic car clubs. You may also be able to get insurance cover for your classic car, even if you have made modifications to it.
Your insurance policy may include breakdown cover that includes roadside assistance, vehicle recovery and at-home breakdown cover. It’s advisable to check the policy’s specifications so that you know that you’re covered should your classic car break down unexpectedly out and about or at home.
Classic car insurance can help cover the cost of restoration or specialised repairs, as well as replacing specialist parts of the vehicle that may be difficult and expensive to source.
What is the difference between standard and classic car insurance?
Although both types of car insurance offer protection against incidents, such as theft or fire, there are many differences between standard and classic car insurance. For example, classic cars are usually cheaper to insure as they aren’t usually driven as far or as often.
Insurance brokers also tend to place stricter terms and conditions on classic car insurance policies, such as a mileage limit, which lowers the overall cost as drivers don’t have as much freedom. Most classic cars have lower speed limits than modern cars, which means that they have a lower chance of being involved in an accident.
Along with moving more slowly, classic cars tend to be driven less too. Owners of modern cars usually drive their vehicles daily for work commutes or to supermarkets. To combat this, many classic car insurance policies stipulate a certain number of miles, such as 2,500 miles, that the vehicle can reach each year. However, it’s expected that most modern cars will be driven on a regular basis, which is why most insurance brokers allow for a higher mileage in the policy.
Classic car owners tend to look after their cars more than owners of modern cars do, due to their age and condition. It can be difficult to source replacement components for older cars, which means that you may not be able to fix your vehicle should it get damaged. Insurance companies tend to accommodate for this and may specify about replacing parts as part of the policy.
How old does a car have to be to qualify for classic car insurance?
Although it varies depending on different insurance providers, classic vehicle insurance is usually available to cars that are no longer in production or are a few decades old — usually 40 years or older.
Cars that are 40 years old or older (those made before 1982) are exempt from paying vehicle tax. Such cars are also exempt from MOTs if they haven’t had any significant modifications in the last 30 years. A significant change is considered to be a modification to the engine or body that has changed how the car runs.
Despite these exemptions, classic cars are still legally required to be in roadworthy condition. You can be fined up to £2,500 and given three penalty points if your car isn’t considered safe enough to drive on public roads.
How can I lower the cost of my classic car insurance?
Whereas standard car cover is based on the value of the vehicle and takes its deprecation into account, classic car cover insurance covers a vehicle for an amount that has been agreed upon by yourself and the insurance company. You can also adjust the vehicle’s coverage limit if the car’s value increases over time.
As mentioned above, classic cars are generally driven less than modern cars. They are usually kept in storage or only taken out on special occasions for special events, such as weddings or car shows. This means that many insurance brokers offer limited mileage discounts so that you pay less if you hardly ever drive the vehicle. So, the best way to lower the cost of your insurance is to limit the distance and regularity that you drive.
Another way to lower the cost of your insurance is to fit your vehicle with a tracking device and demobiliser. This will help act as a deterrent to thieves and allow your car to be traced should it get stolen. However, it’s a good idea to get a classic car insurance quote before you fit any security features so that you can see if the cost of fitting a device is worth less than what you will save.
Some insurance companies require evidence that proves your classic car is being stored in a safe and secure location, as this limits the risk that it will get damaged or stolen.
Becoming a member of a classic car club can also help to lower your vintage car insurance because it demonstrates to insurance companies that you are a dedicated and responsible owner who will look after your vehicle. Classic car clubs can advise you on how to maintain your vehicle, which will reduce any risk of unnecessary damage.
As with all types of car insurance, one of the best ways to lower your insurance is to build up a no-claims discount. Insurance companies will see that you are less likely to be involved in an accident or incident where you will claim if you don’t have a history.
Another tip is to avoid making modifications to a vintage car, as this will likely raise the price of your insurance. Certain modifications can make your car more valuable, which means that it may be more appealing to thieves. You may find that your modified car is more expensive to fix as well, which can push up the classic car insurance quote.
Finally, paying for your classic car insurance policy on an annual basis can lower the overall cost of the insurance because you are charged more interest if you pay for the insurance on a monthly basis.
Classic vehicle insurance is a specialist type of cover because it is only offered to cars of a certain age or style. For example, most classic car insurance specialists consider classic cars to be 40 years or older or of a style that is no longer in production. These types of cars are usually more difficult to fix as they may require parts that are no longer made and are therefore hard to source. Some older cars are also more vulnerable to damage because of their ageing materials and through years of wear and tear.
Classic car drivers can often buy similar insurance to the policies provided to modern vehicles. This includes cover against fire, third-party liability and theft. Classic car cover can also help to pay for the cost of sourcing rare parts, as well as restoration fees.
Although classic car insurance is a specialist type of cover, it can often work out more affordable than standard car insurance. This is because classic cars are generally looked after more by their owners and aren’t used for daily activities. Many classic cars are kept on private property or are only taken out and about for special occasions, such as car shows or weddings.
Are there age limits for classic car insurance?
Some insurance companies set a driver age limit of more than 25 years old and younger than 80 years. Younger male drivers are four times more likely to be involved in car accidents than drivers aged 25 years or older. In addition, one in five young drivers are involved in a car accident within their first year of driving. These statistics show why insurance companies are reluctant to insure younger drivers, especially when classic cars can be expensive to repair should they be involved in an incident.
Older drivers are also believed to be at a higher risk of car accidents, although there isn’t as much risk for drivers over 70 as there is with young drivers. As with younger drivers, insurance companies often set an age limit on older drivers of classic cars following their assessment of how risky a driver is likely to be.
Can I insure my classic car with standard car cover?
Classic cars can be insured under standard car cover, although you may not get the necessary specialist cover that is required for your vintage car. For example, classic car parts can be hard to source, which means that you may not be able to restore your car with the original parts. This can affect the authenticity of your vehicle, which may need an additional clause on your insurance contract.
Most insurance companies stipulate that the cars that you insure aren’t meant to be used on a regular basis. Classic cars can be more vulnerable to damage or breaking down, which is why you may not be able to insure your vintage car under a classic car insurance policy if you drive over a certain number of miles a year. In this instance, standard car insurance may be a good option to look into. You can talk to an insurance broker if you are unsure about your options when it comes to the right cover for your classic car.