Hunting around for car insurance can be a frustrating process at the best of times. However, potentially even more so with regards to classic cars, with the unique terms and conditions that are associated with them.

classic car break down

Photo courtesy of Alan Bruce

Generally, insurance companies will separate classics into three broad categories when deciding on an appropriate quote. Cars manufactured before 1903 are considered ‘veteran cars’, cars manufactured between 1903 and 1933 will be considered ‘vintage cars’ and theoretically, any car that has been on the market for longer than 15 years can be considered a ‘classic’ car.

Therefore, insurance quotes can vary, depending on which category your vehicle belongs to. Some insurance companies operate slightly different insurance policies, so it’s worth studying several quotes to decide which one reflects your car’s age, value and condition most accurately. Some insurers may not offer separate classic insurance schemes, so in this scenario your vintage car may actually be insured at the same rate as a regular, modern day car.

Any classic car owner needs to beware the common misconception that insurance is always cheaper than with a newer car – this is not always the case, and opting for the cheapest deal is not always the best decision. Always read the fine details before agreeing to any insurance deal – the amount of cover offered may vary from company to company.

The availability of a particular make and model can make all the difference when searching for a  quote. If a car is extremely scarce on the market, insurance costs can vary dramatically compared with the costs of covering mass-produced vintage vehicles.

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Photo courtesy of Chad Horwedel

Always enter into a guaranteed agreed valuation when you decide on a quote. This is the value guaranteed by an insurance company should your classic car be damaged or stolen. Failure to secure a guaranteed agreement could lead to a tense situation where an insurance company refuses to pay out the full amount.

Think about the type of insurance on offer. You need to make sure that the costs involved make the insurance deal an attractive proposition. Take time to understand the jargon and terminology involved, so you know exactly what you are getting for your money. It’s natural for some insurance quotes to grab you more than others, but it’s important to have an in-depth understanding of exactly what the insurance deal has to offer. In the majority of cases, three different types of cover will be offered – third party only, third party fire & theft, and comprehensive. Naturally, a comprehensive insurance deal will be the most expensive, but in the case of classic cars (some of which are extremely rare), it can often be the most sensible choice in the long term. Third party cover will only cover damage sustained by the other driver in an accident and will not offer your vehicle any protection whatsoever. If you own an extremely rare vehicle, it may be best to enquire direct with companies as to whether they offer unique deals for classic cars.

One of the most important things you can do is stay patient, and take your time to consider all your options. This means shopping around and getting as many quotes as you can. As mentioned previously, lots of companies have different approaches to insurance for old cars.