Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2019

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A collector car insurance policy is different from regular auto insurance policies. Since these types of cars do not have depreciation they are covered differently than regular, daily-use cars.

Insurance for specialty cars is usually based on an agreed value (rather than an actual value in cash) and the customer and the insurance agent choose and agree on the value when the policy is signed. This way, every investment that has been made in a classic car can be accounted for in the policy coverage.

Collector car insurance rates are typically lower than insurance policy rates for standard cars, since collector cars tend to be very well-tended and are used much less than everyday cars.

Differences Between Collector Car Insurance and Regular Auto Insurance

Insurance that covers collectible cars is different in several ways. It is designed for cars that are garaged most of the time, and have different types of risk. Plans include features such as cost reimbursement for emergency travel expense or emergency costs related to car shows. Policies also cover classic spare parts, and some policies, instead of depreciating the vehicle covered, will automatically increase the value of the car by 2% each quarter so the policy stays in line with the real value of the car.

Determining Whether Collectors Insurance is The Right Product

How a car is covered depends on how it will be used. For the consumer who is shopping for their very first collectible car insurance policy, choosing insurance companies that have live agents is the best place to start. They will be able to ask the right questions and make sure that nothing is left out. If an agent is not familiar with classic cars, they will probably not know the best way to write the policy. Some of the important types of coverage to look for are policies that:

  • Let the customer choose their own mechanic for repairs
  • Cover the car based on an agreed value, or what the customer feels the car is actually worth
  • Have coverage for any damage that happens at car shows
  • Have coverage for any damages that take place during restoration
  • Provide flexible premiums that are based on the actual number of miles driven each year
  • Provide coverage when shipping the car to events overseas or out-of-state

Types of Drivers that Qualify

Usually, drivers will need to have a minimum number of licensed driving years of experience. For example, the company American Collectors Insurance requires at least five years’ worth. Additionally, they require a good driving history, with a maximum of one moving violation or one at-fault accident in the last three years. They also require each licensed driver in a household to have one daily-use type of vehicle.

Types of Cars that Qualify: Antique and Classic Vehicles

These were the first vehicles that inspired loyalty and passion in their admirers, and beautiful antique and classic cars are what turned admirers into collectors. An old rule of thumb used to be that any car older than 20 or 25 years was deemed collectible. However, in the mid-1970s auto production significantly increased, and standards of quality fell. This produced many models of cars that are not considered collectible. However, several types of cars built during this period are still considered collectibles such as convertibles, two-door or coupe sports cars, cars with unique or interesting body shapes, foreign cars and cars with big block V-8 motors.

Types of Cars that Qualify: Newer vehicles

A car does not necessarily have to be old in order to be collectible. Newer cars that have a very limited production run, exotic cars and special interest-types of cars are good examples of potential collectibles. Even owners of some typical cars like a Corvette can even find collector car insurance much more suited to their needs.

Other types of cars may qualify including replica cars, street rods, low riders and highly tuned vehicles. Degrees of modification, custom paint jobs valued at $10,000 or more, vehicles with significantly increased performance, or cars with structurally changed body, chassis or frames all affect the cars’ acceptability to insurance companies and the rates at which they will be quoted.

Types of Cars that May Not Qualify

Certain types of vehicles may be more difficult to cover if their collectibility is limited. Additionally, if their type of use poses an extraordinary risk they may not qualify for insurance. examples of these types of vehicles would be dune buggies, vehicles that have been modified with nitrous components, motorcycles that have been modified for performance, off-road, camping or utility vehicles, or vehicles that are used on a daily basis.

Typically when an insurance company rates the policy for a collector car, they will require that the car is used on a very limited basis; for example exhibitions, tours, club functions, organized meets and very limited pleasure driving. They also will require the collector vehicles to be stored in secured and enclosed structures when not being used, such as private, enclosed residential spaces or rented storage units. Additionally, drivers must also maintain insurance for regular automobile use in their own name.

Collector Car Insurance Companies

There are many insurance companies that specialize in providing coverage for collectible and other special types of cars. Many are well-established carriers who have been around for decades, insuring millions of collector cars. Some of these carriers will also insure classic boats and yachts, car builders and museums, and restoration shops. Companies such as Grundy Worldwide, American Collectors Insurance and Hagerty Insurance provide these types of policies and each has a website on the Internet for more information and quotes.

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