Compare cheap insurance for imported American cars
- As well as hooking up with fellow enthusiasts, joining a car club might help you reduce the cost of your car insurance
- A specialist broker might be an option to find insurance for a heavily modified or high-powered classic American car
- Agree a value for your car with your insurance company before you take out a policy, to avoid disputes later
There’s nothing like a classic American car to get us Brits fantasising about driving across the good old US of A on Route 66, the wind in our hair, watching the plains roll by.
But it's easy to forget about car insurance for these bad boys when there's so much fun to be had.
Jesse McClure, a presenter on ‘Storage Hunters’ and ‘British Treasure American Gold’ had to use a specialist broker to get his 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am insured so he could use it to drive around Britain for a TV show.
Jesse told us: "It was an adventure getting that baby on the road legally speaking. It’s a unique car for a unique need.
I’d never gotten into a car crash in my life, or had a speeding ticket since I was 16 or 17.
I needed someone who would make a common-sense judgement and get me a normal insurance policy, someone who understood the customer and their needs.”
Insuring classic American cars
Many American cars in the UK are owned by enthusiasts, who can often be found showing off their pride and joys at car shows around the country.
Insuring a modified, high-octane, left-hand drive classic car is a completely different experience from getting insurance for a modern vehicle.
There's more to consider insurance-wise.
As classic American cars are non-standard and often modified, insurers have to look at all the differences and price policies accordingly.
American cars are often larger and more high-powered than UK cars, built for the bigger roads they have in the States.
These differences may mean an insurer will impose limitations to reduce their exposure to risk, like only insuring a vehicle if the driver is over 25, and has held a licence for a certain number of years.
Cost of repairs
Classic American cars are much older than their modern counterparts, so sourcing parts is more difficult.
They’re imported too, which adds extra onto the price.
For example, with only 1,450 Corvettes racing around our roads, the demand for parts is a lot less than say, a Ford Focus.
The value of the car
To avoid fisticuffs with an insurer over how much they’ll pay out in the event of a claim, it’s a good idea to agree a value for the vehicle before a policy starts.
Otherwise, you could find yourself facing a shortfall and having to make a substantial contribution to get your car repaired.
You may want to find an insurer who offers agreed value insurance to avoid this happening.
Mileage and condition of the car
It’s not all bad news when it comes to insuring a classic American car.
Cover can be cheaper as owners take really good care of their vehicles, and drive them less than a normal car.
A classic American car attracts a lot of attention, and you may get requests for it to be used for unusual purposes.
If you’ve got yourself a car Elvis would be proud to drive, at some point you may be asked if your car can be used to take someone to their wedding, or for another special occasion.
You’ll need specialist cover for this - wedding hire or executive cover - or, read our insuring your car for work use guide for more info.
If it’s something you do regularly, a business policy is probably your best bet.
If you’re doing it as a special favour, your insurer will often extend cover on your current policy for you, for a small charge.
Laid up policies
If you’ve taken on the mammoth task of restoring a classic car, a sensible option may be to opt for a laid-up insurance policy until you get it on the road.
You may think there’s no point in insuring it while you’re rebuilding it, but parts are expensive and if they get damaged or stolen, you’ll want to be covered.
A laid up policy should also cover you if you’re exhibiting your car at a show, and if you take it to a garage to get work done on it.
Insuring a newer car
Modern American cars like Chryslers, Buicks, and Chevrolets, built to a standard spec, are now a common sight on our roads, as American car companies look to expand their share of the British car market.
They can all be insured through comparison sites like GoCompare, and insurance prices should be on par with UK cars.
Keeping the cost of insurance down
Investing in a classic American car can cost you a large wad of your disposable income, so here are few tips on how you can save yourself some cash on your insurance.
- Store your car in a locked garage
- Fit an alarm and immobiliser on your car
- Fit a tracking device on it
- Join a car club. They might negotiate deals with insurers for their members
- Limit the mileage you do in the car
- Keep the modifications to a minimum, or only make alternations that don’t affect the BHP
- If you’re not going to be using the car for certain periods, for example in winter, get laid up cover instead of a full policy
- Build up your no claims bonus