Classic car insurance: Top providers and coverage options

Two people enjoying an afternoon ride in a classic carImage: Two people enjoying an afternoon ride in a classic car

In a Nutshell

Vehicles typically lose value as they age, but classic cars may appreciate with time. If you own one of these vehicles, classic car insurance can help you protect your investment.
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Classic cars are fundamentally different from regular cars, so it’s no surprise that these vehicles require specialized insurance.

Vehicles typically lose value as they age, but that’s not usually the case with classic cars. These collectible vehicles often increase in value as time goes by. Classic car insurance may meet the needs of those who own these unique vehicles.

Some policies provide the provisions found in standard car insurance, such as coverage for property damage and bodily injury liability. Classic car insurance can also include provisions that can help ensure you’re covered for the total value of your car, as agreed upon between you and your insurer.

What is classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance is designed specifically to cover classic, collectible vehicles. The most significant difference between this type of coverage and standard insurance concerns the method used for calculating the car’s value.

With standard insurance, insurers factor in depreciation, which diminishes a car’s covered value over time. Under this approach, insurers give each model a “book value” that reflects the impact of depreciation. This method is known as “actual cash value” coverage.

Classic car coverage takes a different approach. It requires you and your insurer agree on the car’s value. Then, the insurer lists this value on your policy and covers you for that amount with no depreciation.

This approach is known as “agreed value” coverage. Since classic cars often gain value with time, you have the option of upping the limits of your coverage to reflect price appreciation in the future.

Coverage options for classic cars

If you own a classic car, you might want to show it off at auto shows and collector vehicle events. Classic car insurance can cover you at these gatherings and protects you when you’re on the road and behind the wheel of your car.

Here are some other specialized options that may be available to you.

  • Coverage for the spare parts and automotive tools often needed to maintain classic cars.
  • Coverage for collectible items that you’ve added to your vehicle.
  • Full-service roadside assistance programs featuring flatbed towing that prevents wear and tear while the vehicle heads to a repair shop.
  • A cash settlement option entitles you to a cash payment if your car is totaled or stolen without requiring you to use the money to repair or replace the vehicle.
  • No attendance required coverage that protects your car while you’re away from the vehicle; this covers your car if it’s being displayed at a car show while you’re not present.
  • Auto show medical coverage protects you if your car is involved in an injury at an auto show.
  • Increased replacement cost coverage pays the difference if your car’s value exceeds the agreed-upon figure.

Things to consider when getting classic car insurance

 Some potential restrictions you might run into with classic car coverage include …

  • Some policies limit the number of miles you can put on the car.
  • This type of coverage typically offers fewer discounts than standard car insurance.
  • Relative to traditional coverage, classic car insurance usually provides fewer driving-related coverage options.

Types of classic car insurance

The term “classic car” is typically used to describe vehicles in a general sense. Different types of classic cars may require different types of coverage.

  • Classic car insurance — A standard classic car insurance policy will protect against physical damage to the car by providing comprehensive and collision coverage. It also includes liability coverage and the opportunity to add roadside assistance. Typically, a vehicle must be at least 20 years old to be considered a classic car.
  • Antique car insurance — Typically, a vehicle must be over 45 years old to be considered an antique. Antique car coverage protects these vehicles. There are also subgroups within this category. For example, some companies view cars produced between 1919 and 1930 as vintage. You may be able to purchase specialized coverage for vehicles like antique tractors and motorcycles.
  • Kit car insurance — A kit car is often defined as one you assemble using pre-ordered parts and a blueprint. Some kit cars are replicas or collector cars, and some car insurance companies cover these models.
  • Modified car insurance — Some owners modify their cars to improve appearance or ramp up performance. Modification sometimes involves costly car parts and requires unique coverage. If you’ve modified your classic car extensively, it may need a customized policy that reflects the upgrades.

Classic car insurance eligibility

There’s no single official definition for a classic car. Some consider these factors when deciding whether a vehicle is eligible for classic car insurance.

  • Age and historical interest —Typically, a car must be at least 25 years old to be considered a classic. But some will insure vehicles 10 years or older if they determine that the car has historical interest. 
  • Usage — To be considered a classic, you can’t use your car for everyday driving. And some policies include mileage restrictions.
  • Storage — An insurer may prefer that a classic car is stored in a private structure that’s locked and enclosed. Examples are a storage unit or a residential garage.
  • Vehicle condition — If a car is in poor shape, some insurers won’t cover it.
  • Restoration — Some insurance companies in some states look at how you’ve restored your vehicle. With these companies, a car must have its original specifications to be considered a classic, and any restoration must reflect how the car appeared at initial production.

Insurers may also look at the driver when deciding whether to qualify a vehicle for classic car insurance. Here are some factors they may consider.

  • Driving record — Insurance agencies won’t provide this coverage if you have significant offenses on your driving record, such as reckless driving or driving under the influence.
  • Car ownership — Since they prohibit you from using a classic car as a daily driver, some insurers require you to also own a primary car for everyday use.
  • Age — Some companies require drivers to be 25 or older.

Additionally, some insurance companies forbid racing the car or driving it on the track.

How much does classic car insurance cost?

The cost of classic car insurance can vary depending on your circumstances. The value of your vehicle plays a role, and some insurance companies also consider its age, model and condition. The state where you live, how you store your vehicle, and the car’s mileage can also affect pricing.

It’s not unusual for classic car premiums to be significantly lower than rates for a standard policy. For example, one insurer notes that its rates for classic car coverage are 34% lower than those for standard car insurance.

Classic car insurance providers

Some insurers focus exclusively on classic cars. You can also get classic car coverage from major insurers that offer classic car insurance among a wide range of other policies.

Specialty classic car insurers

  • Hagerty — Hagerty provides specialized coverage for all types of classics. The company covers collector and classic cars, 1980 and newer collector vehicles, collector trucks and SUVs, motorcycles and scooters.
  • Grundy — Grundy covers most classics 25 years or older, as well as muscle cars and exotics, regardless of age. Grundy also insures modified vehicles and claims it’s the largest insurer of hot rods in the U.S.
  • Barlow — Barlow covers a wide range of classic and collector vehicles. The list includes classic, antique, exotic and muscle cars.

Major insurers

  • SafecoSafeco provides a range of insurance options for your car and home. The company insures everything from antique autos to modified collector cars. Safeco doesn’t insure kit cars.
  • Farmers Farmers is a company that offers home, car, life and business insurance. This insurer also provides classic car protection, including coverage for original replacement parts.
  • AllstateAllstate offers a portfolio of products, including everything from business insurance to renters insurance. Allstate also provides classic car insurance, including antiques, classic cars, muscle cars, modern classics, custom builds, modified vehicles and antique tractors.

What’s next?

If you own a classic car and need insurance, start by researching companies that offer coverage. Then request quotes from each company so you can compare prices.

About the author: Warren Clarke is a writer whose work has been published by and the New York Daily News. He enjoys providing readers with information that can make their lives happier and more expansive. Warren holds a Bac… Read more.