What Is Classic Car Insurance?
Classic car insurance is a specialty type of auto insurance that covers various types of classic and antique cars. Classic car insurance is similar to standard car insurance, but there are key differences that reflect the unique nature of classic cars.
The main difference with classic car insurance is how the car is valued. Standard auto insurance policies pay actual cash value, or ACV, on claims. Actual cash value takes depreciation into account on the value of the car. And since cars lose their value fairly quickly, this can result in a much lower claims check than what you paid for your vehicle.
What Qualifies as a Classic Car?
There are basically two definitions of classic cars:
1) The strict definition of a classic car in insurance
2) The commonly used word ‘classic’ to describe any type of older vehicle
Both definitions are used to describe vehicles that are at least 20 or 25 years old. But there are subcategories of vehicles that are used to describe different types of vehicles that are between 20 years old and over 100 years old.
In this article, the term ‘classic car insurance’ will be used liberally to describe any type of older vehicle, whether it’s a true classic car, antique car, hot rod, modern collector car, or any of the other vehicle types that fall under the classic car umbrella.
Types of Classic Car Coverage
Since there is no standard definition of what a classic car is, other than that they are normally over 20 years old, each insurer may classify your vehicle a little differently. Normally, this won’t affect your coverage, it’s just that each insurance company handles these vehicle types a little differently.
Generally, the different categories of classic vehicles include:
- Classic cars. Normally, classic cars are vehicles that are at least 20 years old but no older than 40 years old. Some states and insurance companies extend this definition to cars built between 1915 and 1948, which is how the Classic Car Club of America defines the term.
- Antique cars. Antique cars are generally older than classic cars, which would include vehicles older than 45 years.
- Vintage cars. Vintage cars are generally considered to be vehicles built before 1925, in the first days of the automobile. Other definitions may have a narrower window of cars built between 1919 and 1930.
- Kit and replicas. Kits and replicas are vehicles that you can build yourself or buy that appear similar to famous classic cars. They are valuable in their own right and have their own classification.
- Muscle cars and hot rods. Hot rods and muscle cars are sometimes on a blurry line of what is what, but they are usually modified with extra parts built for performance. Likewise with street rods, though they are typically built for comfort instead of performance.
- Modern collector cars. These are often special edition cars or have unique features that set them apart from regular cars. They are typically built after 1990 but still fall within the large ‘classic car’ realm of insurance.
- Classic exotic and sports cars. If your classic car is especially built for speed, it may fall under this category. Some of these vehicles are involved in racing, which often excludes coverage while on the track.
- Race cars. Similar to exotic and sports cars, some race cars are insured by classic car insurance companies. There probably won’t be coverage while on the track, but you may be able to insure your race car for an agreed value as long as it’s not racing.
These categories aren’t set in stone and vary with each state and insurance company. They mainly serve to help organize the different types of vehicles, rather than just having one broad ‘classic’ car category.
Most classic car insurance companies won’t have any problem insuring most of these vehicles. Standard insurance companies may only be willing to insure vehicles built after 1930 or 1940, which means you’d need to find a specialty company that can insure any of these older vehicle types.