What’s Different About Classic Car Insurance?

How to Insure a Collector Car

An Independent Agent Explains:

4 Ways a Collector Car Policy May Differ From a Standard Auto Insurance Policy

This post is part of a series of insurance blogs on Safeco.com showcasing the expertise of independent insurance agents and aimed at helping you understand important insurance coverages and issues.


There’s the car you use every day. Then there’s the prized convertible or antique tin lizzie you roll out of the garage on sunny spring mornings and for summer day trips. You use them differently, and you can insure them differently – everyday car insurance for your everyday car and collector car insurance for your classic.

In fact, classic car insurance is typically your best bet to protect your investment. Not only is the policy designed to recognize that your pride and joy appreciates rather than depreciates in value, the pricing is generally lower than your typical auto policy, assuming you don’t use your classic car every day or even year-round.

Here are four ways a collector auto policy differs from a standard auto policy:

  1. Agreed Value
    Restoration, customization, modifications – each antique car or collector car has taken a unique path from yesteryear to today. And, each has a unique value. A classic car insurance policy is built around that value. Using photos, repair logs, receipts and other documentation, you and your insurance carrier will agree on what that value is at the time you purchase the policy. If you experience a total loss due to a covered incident, you get a payout for that agreed value, minus any deductible.

    When a customer’s 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air was stolen, taken for a joy ride and destroyed, he was, needless to say, devastated. The car, which had been insured for an agreed value of $55,000, was deemed a total loss. A check for the full value of $55,000 (there was no deductible) was hand delivered to him, no questions asked, to compensate for the loss.
  2. Mileage Cap
    Most insurers assume your vintage beauty isn’t on the road on a daily basis. In other words, you’re cruising, not commuting, in your classic. Hence most classic car policies have an annual mileage cap, allowing you to traverse the country lanes and city streets for a total of, say, 2,500 or maybe even 5,000 miles each year. This is part of what helps keep costs down for a classic car policy vs. a standard auto policy. However, if you’d like to enjoy your classic more often, many carriers allow for that, as well. A classic car policy with extended mileage may be available (this will increase your costs). Or, you may need to move to a standard auto policy (this will downgrade your coverage).
  3. Off-Season Savings
    You live for those sun-soaked days when you can drop the top and turn heads while rambling through town in your classic. But, when the weather takes a turn for the worse, you reluctantly winterize and store your vintage ride. Most carriers’ rates reflect this seasonality, and your independent insurance agent can help you transition your policy from usage rates to non-usage/storage rates, as needed.
  4. Storage Stipulation
    To take advantage of classic car coverage, you will likely need to keep your vehicle under lock and key in a secure garage or storage facility. If your piece of American muscle resides in your driveway, your carrier may not insure it under a classic policy.

Other stipulations will apply depending on the carrier. Typically a vehicle falls into the classic or antique category if it’s 20+ years old, restored to mint condition and at least somewhat rare, i.e. only a limited number of the particular body style were made. Some cars can qualify for the coverage at 10 years of age, however, and some modifications may be allowed, just not for racing. If your car is modified for the best time at the quarter mile, you may need to insure it through a specialized carrier.

Here are some additional things to consider before you buy classic car insurance:

  • If you add roadside assistance to your policy, does the carrier offer access to a towing company with flatbed trucks and cloth-covered hooks and chains to help protect your vehicle and its paint finish?
  • Do you have a choice of body shops when it comes to repairs covered by your policy? And, will your policy pay to have custom parts created, if needed?
  • If your classic undergoes restoration or modification, will the carrier offer special options regarding valuation of your soon-to-be refreshed ride? Some modifications, such as increasing the horsepower, may fall outside the scope of what your carrier is willing to insure, so be sure to discuss them in advance.
  • What are your state’s minimum requirements for such coverages as bodily injury liability and property damage liability?
  • Are there any restrictions on showing your car, participating in rallies or letting others take it for a spin?

Your independent agent can help you address these and any other questions you have about classic car insurance – this includes helping your coverage keep pace with your classic as its value appreciates. All so you can look forward to gassing up and cruising on down the road with a song in your heart and fewer worries on your mind!


Cresta Combs, Independent Insurance Agent

About Cresta Combs and Menicucci Insurance Agency
Cresta Combs brings nearly 10 years of insurance experience to Menicucci Insurance Agency, an independent insurance agency based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the agency’s personal lines manager, she strives to provide the best in service and education, helping clients understand how their coverage works. She draws on a wealth of knowledge about insurance and current practices within the industry to help clients maintain broad coverage at a reasonable price. Privately held and locally owned since being founded in 2007, Menicucci Insurance Agency further emphasizes excellent customer service, high-quality insurance products and a deep commitment to ethics throughout the organization.

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Insurance is offered by Safeco Insurance Company of America and/or its affiliates, with their principal place of business at 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. This website provides a simplified description of coverage. Nothing stated herein creates a contract. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Please refer to actual policy forms for complete details regarding the coverage discussed. If the information in these materials conflicts with the policy language that it describes, the policy language prevails. Coverages and features not available in all states. Eligibility is subject to meeting applicable underwriting criteria.