Best Classic Car Insurance Companies: Insure Your Collector from Damage
It may be time to get some good insurance coverage for that classic car sitting in your garage.
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Classic cars present a unique challenge when it comes to insuring them in the event of damage or an accident. Unlike new and typical used vehicles, a classic car needs to be old (and the right model in the right condition) to appreciate in value. This rules out typical car insurance options that tend to devalue the car as it depreciates in price.
Classic car insurance providers take a different approach to covering classic vehicles than regular insurance plans. If you have ever wondered what classic car insurance is all about and who has the best insurance plans to check out, read on for our guide on all you need to know about classic car insurance coverage.
- Best Specialty Classic Car Insurance: Hagerty
- Best Major Provider Classic Car Insurance: State Farm
- Best Classic Car Insurance with Extra Perks: American Modern
- Best Classic Car Insurance for Daily Drivers: Safeco
Classic Car Insurance vs. Regular Car Insurance
The idea of any kind of car insurance is pretty straightforward on paper: If your car is damaged or totaled, the insurance provider will give you money for repairs or a replacement. Things aren’t quite that simple since the amount the provider will reimburse you depends on the damage or accident, who’s at fault (if anyone), and the vehicle itself.
For replacing a vehicle, conventional auto insurance will pay out based on the actual cash value (the replacement cost minus the depreciated value) of the vehicle. Vehicles depreciate in value the moment they leave a dealership lot, so the potential payout decreases as it ages.
Since a classic vehicle is typically too old to be covered by conventional auto insurance, things are different from classic car insurance.
For classic auto insurance, the potential payout is determined ahead of time-based on what the owner and insurance provider agree is the value of the vehicle. This “guaranteed” or agreed value is often based on collectible car valuation guides, professional appraisals, underwriter research, or documentation.
Other things come into play with the classic car vs. regular auto insurance. For example, premiums tend to be lower with classic car insurance policies. Since nothing in life is free, you have to pay the provider a monthly premium for the potential reimbursement after an incident.
Since collector vehicles tend to be driven less, there is less chance of an incident and the vehicle is more likely to be sheltered in a garage most of the time.
There are a few important similarities between classic and regular auto insurance policies as well. Although premiums are generally lower with classic car policies, they are determined with similar factors like the condition of the vehicle, the driving history of the owner, etc. You are also likely to get some discounts by having multiple policies with the same provider, insuring more than one vehicle, and having a good driving record.
What Cars Qualify for Classic Car Insurance?
To get classic car insurance, you first need to determine if your vehicle can actually qualify for it. Many insurance providers have specific (yet differing) definitions of what a classic car even is. Other factors like the condition and history of the vehicle can also come into play. Specific qualifying factors include:
- Age: Most companies define a true classic car to be anything between 19 and 25 years old. This doesn’t make it a true antique vehicle, which is often anything older than 25 years, but this age range does put a vehicle in a special class above normal new and used vehicles.
- Condition: A classic car isn’t just a rusting hulk you may find in a junkyard. The vehicle should be restored to an original and working condition. Basically, the closer it looks and functions to the way it looked and functioned the day it was built, the better.
- Value: More than anything else, a classic car’s value needs to be greater than vehicles of the same make, model, and year. Any vehicle that hasn’t been restored will be deprecated in value. With restoration work on a classic vehicle, however, its value should be higher, since the vehicle should be more valuable in the first place.
In addition to the vehicle, qualifying for classic car insurance can also depend on you and your driving history. Qualifying factors regarding you can include:
- Age: Many carriers have a minimum age requirement, typically around 25 years, to qualify.
- Driving History: It helps to have a clean and long driving record, preferably one that is free of major accidents or traffic violations. Most carriers like to see at least five to 10 years of good driving experience.
- Location: You may find some of your classic car insurance options are limited to where you live. Some insurance providers only operate in certain states.
- Other Vehicles: It can help to have other vehicles in your garage to qualify for classic car insurance. Owning other classic cars can show providers you have experience driving and maintaining these unique vehicles. Having a primary vehicle used for daily driving to work, school, and home is also good for proving you won’t be driving your classic car frequently.
Comparing Classic Car Insurance Plans
It can be difficult to compare classic car insurance providers and plans since each one offers different premiums, vehicle qualifications, and extra perks. You will also find some major differences between major automotive insurers that offer regular auto insurance in addition to classic car coverage and specialty providers that only offer classic car insurance.
- Qualification Criteria: Different insurance providers tend to have different criteria to determine if a particular car fits the “classic” category and is in a good enough condition to be covered.
- Coverage: Policies can include coverage for basic liability, collision, comprehensive, medical payments, and uninsured drivers. Generally, liability is the minimum level of coverage required by most states.
- Premiums: The monthly cost of an auto insurance plan will depend on several different factors, but different carriers tend to have their own set of factors outside of a common core shared by most providers.
- Extra Perks: The extra inclusions or perks of an insurance plan can help set one option apart from the others. Common perks include roadside assistance, coverage of spare parts, vacation coverage, and more.
The Best Classic Car Insurance Providers
We’ve looked at what the major and specialty insurance providers offer in terms of classic car insurance and have found the best options. You will find some of the best providers we like for different types of classic cars, driving needs, coverage needs, and more.
Best Specialty Classic Car Insurance: Hagerty
If you want to go with an insurance provider that embraces the importance and value of a collectible vehicle, Hagerty is hard to beat. The company is flexible with its classic car insurance in terms of what can be covered; classic, replicas, exotic, military, and sports vehicles are all eligible.
Hagerty insurance plans offer a guaranteed value payout once the vehicle’s value is appraised and generally lower premium rates than normal auto insurance. The company even offers some allowance for using the classic vehicle for the occasional drive without strict mileage limits as long as it’s not used on a daily basis.
The thing that really set Hagarty apart as a specialty classic car insurance provider is the extra coverage options it offers. For example, you can buy restoration coverage for upgrading your vehicle’s condition after the restoration project is verified, and even coverage for the tools you use. Have collector automotive memorabilia? There’s coverage for that as well.
The company’s flexible driving coverage does come with some pretty notable restrictions that prevent it from being a true daily driver insurance option. Usage is mostly restricted to classic car purposes only like tours, exhibitions, and meets. All members within the applicant’s household must also have regular-use vehicles and insurance as well.
Best Major Provider Classic Car Insurance: State Farm
Going with a major insurance provider for your classic car insurance can carry some major disadvantages compared to specialty providers: coverages can be more limited; the perks may be nonexistent, and you may find reaching a guaranteed value might be more difficult.
State Farm manages to avoid most of these pitfalls by providing classic car insurance that is competitive with most of the specialty providers in core areas. State Farm offers several coverage types, including the usual liability, comprehensive, and collision options.
Spare part coverage exists up to $500, and the insurance policy has a minimum vehicle age of 10 years. Unfortunately, the provider offers nothing in terms of restoration coverage and daily driver coverage. There is also no option to actually bundle the classic car insurance with other insurance policies to get discounts and save money.
Best Classic Car Insurance with Extra Perks: American Modern
If you want to maximize your dollar when it comes to classic car insurance, American Modern makes it easier than most providers by offering some planning flexibility and more perks than others. The valuation process for getting the guaranteed value is fairly straightforward, and the company offers a number of plans that vary in mileage limits (up to unlimited) and deductible costs ($0 to $10,000).
The extra perks are where American Modern really shines. Beyond flexible deductibles and mileage plans, the company makes it easy to essentially bundle multiple cars and entire collections together. There is a single liability charge for any vehicle on the policy, and the company can cover new purchases that expand an existing collection before it’s formally added to the policy. Spare parts are also covered up to $2,000.
The main knock against the insurance provider is the difficult process of filing a claim some customers have experienced in the past. Customer service can be lacking at times, and it can take a while to actually complete the claims process before any money is paid out.
Best Classic Car Insurance for Daily Drivers: Safeco
Do you actually want to drive your classic car on a daily basis without limits? Most providers impose some strict mileage limits on the usage, but Safeco is one of the few that gives you more freedom with higher mileage caps. Its “Regular Use” option allows you to drive the vehicle up to 10,000 miles per year. To save some money, there’s also a “Limited Use” option for up to 5,000 miles a year.
Standard coverage options include the usual range of injury and property damage liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage. You can even insure an entire collection of collectibles, regardless of the size of the collection. The company includes a few extra perks like roadside and emergency assistance, but these options tend to vary by state.
The main downside to Safeco as a general classic car insurance provider is the set of qualification restrictions it imposes. Cars need to be at least 10 years old and can’t be a restored kit, exotic, military, or sports vehicle. There is also no coverage options for other vintage vehicles like motorcycles and tractors.
Q. How old must a vehicle be in order to be considered a classic car?
A. There is no definite answer, but many insurance providers have a minimum age limit of at least 10 years. Others use a range between 15 and 25 years as a way to distinguish classic cars from regular and antique cars.
Q. How can I see if my vehicle qualifies?
A. This requires speaking directly with someone from an insurance provider since all companies have different eligibility requirements. The process differs between insurance providers, but they will generally request as much information as possible about the vehicle to see if it qualifies.
Q. Is classic car insurance really necessary?
A. Typically, no. As long as you have the minimum level of coverage required by the state (typically liability), you are free to drive the vehicle as you wish. Classic car insurance, however, can cover you and your vehicle much like regular car insurance.
Q. Can I drive a classic car normally with classic auto insurance?
A. This depends on the insurance provider. Very few companies will let you drive your classic car as a daily driver. Some make special exceptions or have higher mileage limits than others, but nearly all expect you to preserve the car’s condition by limiting its use as much as possible.
Q. Why does classic car insurance come with driver restrictions?
A. Just like regular auto insurance, classic auto insurance providers rarely insure bad drivers. This increases the risk for the company and generally isn’t a good investment. Many classic car insurance providers also want to know you have experience with classic vehicles (especially restoration projects) in addition to a clean driving record.
Considering Classic Car Insurance
Finding the right classic car insurance comes down to your individual vehicle, driving record, and coverage needs. It pays to shop around, do some research, and see if your vehicle even qualifies before signing up for a specific provider and plan. It also helps to have a budget in mind for your monthly premiums and an idea of any extra perks (roadside assistance, travel insurance, etc.) you may want.
We generally recommend going with a specialty insurance provider to get the full extent of coverage and perks available but don’t ignore the major providers as well.
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