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Things to Think About When Insuring Your Classic Car

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Things to Think About When Insuring Your Classic Car

Andrew Jamaz
September 7, 2009

Andrew Jamaz

There are various different types of classic vehicles. Automobiles manufactured up to 1904 are considered "veteran cars," while the Edwardian era spans from 1905 up to 1918, and the Vintage period lasts from 1919-1930. For the most part, cars are usually considered to be "classics" if they were manufactured at least prior to 1974, but cars made even somewhat recently can be thought of as "classics" if they are very rare or collectible.

When it comes to insurance and traffic laws, some US states have particular regulations regarding what is treated as a "classic car." Popular examples of classic autos include: the original Mini; the original Volkswagen Beetle; and, in the United States, certain 1960s-and-1970s-built muscle cars.

In most cases classic vehicles don't have any sort of modern automotive safety features, and are thus prone to damage and potentially expensive to insure. They do not have basics such as seatbelts, crumple zones, airbags, or any type of rollover protection, as most of these devices were mostly mandated in the time after the classic period. Despite the fact that it's often thought to be expensive, custom car insurance is a requirement, even for those who don't plan on using them on public roads, as, for one thing, repairs and maintenance can be extremely expensive, meaning that any help from insurance can make the difference between owning a classic car, and losing one and get several quotes for insurance for classic cars

There are a number of issues involved in classic automobile insurance. Chief among these is the valuation of the car. Policies can be sold based around the actual cash value of the car, meaning that a depreciated book value will be paid out by the insurer in the event of a claim; then there is the "stated value" policy, which may also depreciate, but is dependent upon the owner's valuation of the car; or, there's the "agreed value" sort of policy, which does not necessarily depreciate, and is dependent upon an agreement between owner and insurer.

Other points to consider include: liability covering public events; coverage for possible damage from events and classic car shows; whether or not the policy covers damages during restoration; and moveable premiums taking into account mileage, which of course varies greatly for classic cars from year to year.

Many classic car owners think that insurance from a specialist in classic car insurance will be especially costly, but this isn't always a correct assumption. Providers that specialize in classic cars will be sure to know about the issues that matter to classic car owners, meaning that, in the end, classic car owners can actually significantly reduce their insurance costs, and end up with a much more appropriate policy, from a provider that understands classic car insurance.

To find out which companies offer classic and vintage car insurance, visit the Classic Car Insurance Blog...

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