Back on the Road
- Written by Daniel Livingston
One of the things I needed to consider when I put my 1962 Comet back on the road was Classic Car Auto Insurance. There are several types of insurance to consider when shopping for insurance for your classic car and the costs vary greatly. The insurance goes by many different names, Classic, Collector, Vintage or Antique Car Insurance, to name a few.
It's worth getting a quote through your regular auto insurance company, but be aware you are going to pay 2-3 times (or more) what you will be quoted through one of the specialty Classic Car Insurance agencies. Many of the big insurance companies have started to offer classic car insurance, but I think they are too new to the game and/or don't have the vested interest that some of the specialty insurance companies do. Even among the companies who specialize in collector or classic auto insurance I found the prices varied greatly, for the same coverage. I did make note that several of the big name special insurance companies are "attached" to a few of the bigger name insurance companies. I don't know if this is just a business to business arrangement or if they are actually owned by them.
A few of the things you need to consider, before you get your quote are:
1. Category - The age of your vehicle matters but it matters differently to the different companies as they each have their own definitions. There is no automatic qualification based solely on age. Be sure to ask which category your car falls into. You may be surprised. What you think is an Antique Car, is really a Collector Car or Classic Car. Nothing is automatic, based on age. My car is 50+ years old, and it was considered a Classic Car, with the company I ended up choosing. It also matters if you have made modifications making your car no longer original.
2 - Usage - How you will be using your car will matter as well. They'll want to know the typical number of miles you will be putting on the vehicle along with what type of use it will see. Typically, you can say you will be using it for cruise nights, club events, parades and car shows. That will get you the best rate. Make it clear it is not a daily driver. If it is, you had better be getting the quote from your regular insurance company. I listed 1000 miles or less for my car, which should be plenty.
3 - Household drivers - They will want a list of ALL licensed drivers living in your household and they will want to know who will be driving the vehicle. If you have young drivers in the house, that won't be driving the vehicle, be sure to make note of that. Every driver in the house will need a regular vehicle to drive. So if you have two young drivers who share a vehicle, they may not insure your classic car, as they feel it may be used for regular transportation.
4 - Pictures - They will need pictures. I needed to supply two different picture of the vehicle to document that there was no existing damage. One picture from the front left and the other from the back right. More will be required for customized vehicles. Since the insurance company will probably not be local, they can't send an agent over to take them. You can easily email them digital photos.
5 - Storage - They will ask if the vehicle is stored in a secured garage. With many companies, this is a must. In my case I keep Ruby in the garage. All my other family vehicles stay out in the harsh north east elements, all year round.
6 - Value - You don't need a written appraisal, but you will have to agree with the insurance company on the vehicles value before a policy is written. I used several on-line resource to determine the value of my car, and they didn't seem to have an issue with it. You will find values all over the place, even when comparing the same car with the same condition. Don't be tempted to think your car is more valuable than it is or in better condition. It may just end up costing you more for insurance or they may not agree on the value.
7 - Existing Policy - One surprise was that they wanted a copy of my current Auto Insurance policy. They made it clear that you must have the same (comprehensive) coverage amounts on your classic car as you do your regular cars. It makes sense that you would have the same risks and financial liabilities independent of what car you are driving.
The process ended up being rather painless. When I decided which company go to with, I filled out an online form and was contacted via phone almost immediately with a few follow-up questions. Once I supplied the necessary pictures and a copy of my existing insurance policy (and paid them), I was emailed my temporary insurance cards. A much easier process than getting Vintage License Plates approved. That's another story.