Guide to classic car insurance
- There's no standard definition of a classic car - this varies between different insurers
- Cheap premiums can often be found for classic vehicles as owners are considered low risk
- Gocompare.com can offer options for most cars, but particularly unusual vehicles or usage may require a specialist insurance provider
Classic car owners are often devoted to their vehicles and will want to find the right car insurance to protect their pride and joy.
To help you we quickly search multiple insurance brands, both classic car specialists and mainstream providers.
This gives you an easy way to compare classic car insurance policy options, using information from independent financial researcher Defaqto to make sure you have the right cover for your pride and joy whilst also potentially making significant savings.
Definition of a classic car
Any car over 15 years old can be considered a classic for insurance purposes - the definition is at the discretion of the insurer.
The good news for owners is that prices for classic car insurance policies can be very competitive - many insurers believe that such vehicles have a good chance of being well maintained by caring drivers, who may keep to a low mileage.
The right vintage car may also be one of the more affordable options for young and newly qualified drivers seeking insurance.
Restrictions on classic car use
While there are many advantages to insuring a classic car rather than a more modern vehicle, you need to read your policy with care to ensure it's suitable for your needs.
For example, some dedicated classic insurers may place strict restrictions on annual mileage with the assumption that the vehicle is used for enjoyment on high days and holidays. If your classic car is used on the daily commute, ensure you can stick to any mileage limit or other defined terms.
Telematics insurance for classic cars
Another option that may be worth considering is telematics. This can benefit any safe, attentive motorist as it bases your insurance on actual data from the way you operate your vehicle.
Individual circumstances and policies will vary but, for example, a classic car driver who does a small mileage and doesn't drive at peak times may find a telematics deal an attractive option.
Some telematics policies work by having a 'black box' fitted to send data to an insurer and it's possible that certain classic vehicles may not be suitable for this, but other telematics options operate through a mobile phone app so your vehicle won't have to be touched.
If you search for classic car insurance through Gocompare.com, on our results table you'll see telematics deals labelled and listed alongside more traditional policies, giving you the opportunity to compare and contrast the options.
Agreed valuation and salvage retention
The true value of a classic vehicle can be difficult to establish if it needs to be repaired. It's possible, for example, that replacement parts for an older vehicle will be expensive or difficult to come by, making repair prices high.
What's more, the tender loving care that's gone into restoring or maintaining a vehicle can be hard to quantify, as can the difficulty of finding a replacement.
With this in mind, you may want to ensure that you get an agreed valuation in place for your car rather than relying on market price, and some insurers will be able to offer this.
What's more, they may be able to help with salvage retention. In the unfortunate event that your vehicle is declared a cosmetic write-off - meaning its repair would cost more than a new car - salvage retention would give you the right to buy it back.
Classic car security
Desirable vintage cars can be attractive to thieves and they may not have the same sophisticated security systems as more modern vehicles.
Did you know...?
- If your car was made before 1960 it doesn't need to be MOT tested - but your insurer may require proof it's roadworthy
- If your car was registered before 1974 you don't have to pay road tax
- From 1 April 2017, legislation changes will make more classic cars exempt from road tax. Annually on 1 April, vehicles constructed more than 40 years before the 1 January of that year will automatically be exempt
Some insurers may insist that your vehicle is garaged overnight, or that it's fitted with enhanced security systems.
Fitting an alarm, tracker, or another sort of security device is always worth considering as a way of protecting your beloved machine, and it may help cut the cost of cover.
Bear in mind, though, that any insurance discount will not necessarily cover the outlay on the device - read our article on car security and insurance for more information.
Modifications and classic car insurance
Security aside, any modification to a classic car may well result in less insurers being prepared to quote for you and/or a rise in premiums.
The key point is to ensure you inform your insurer of any change to the factory-standard specification - if you don't, you may invalidate your cover.
To find out more, read our modified car insurance page.
Laid-up classic car cover
When insuring a classic car, remember that you'll need year-round cover for your vehicle, even if you only use it in the summer. The Continuous Insurance Enforcement law demands this, unless you've filled out a Statutory Off Road Notice.
However, if it suits your needs you may be able to arrange laid-up cover. This could reduce your premium in return for agreed periods when the vehicle is being restored or kept in a garage.
Specialist use of classic cars
Many classic cars are used for special occasions. This may be because of their appeal and attractiveness - being hired out as a wedding car is one typical example.
Remember that a standard car insurance policy is unlikely to cover you in such circumstances. Again, make sure you inform your policy provider - you can read more in our guide to insuring a car for work use.
Other owners may enjoy taking part in public road rallies or trials. Don't assume that your policy covers such activities - read the terms and conditions, or speak to your insurer.
Classic car clubs
If you're a member of a classic car club it's possible that some insurers will offer you a discount when arranging cover for your vehicle.
Such clubs can also be a good way of finding specialist insurers for your vintage vehicle, but it's always worth comparing the prices and product features on offer against other options on the market by using a comparison site such as Gocompare.com.
By Sean Davies