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When does a car become classic?

Finding the right insurance for an older car

Ella Jukwey
Written by  Ella Jukwey
Alicia Hempsted
Reviewed by  Alicia Hempsted
5 min read
Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Are you unsure if you have a classic car? MoneySuperMarket’s guide explains what constitutes as a classic car and how this could affect your insurance premiums.

When does a car become a classic car?

It can be tricky to define what makes a car a ‘classic car’. For some people, a classic car is simply an older car. For car enthusiasts, a car becomes a classic when it’s considered timeless, normally because of its design and impact. When it comes to your insurer, the definition of a classic car will vary across providers. However, when determining a classic car for financial purposes it can be easier to define what is a classic car.

MOT and car tax: When it comes to vehicle tax exemption, any car that’s aged 40 or older is seen as a classic. 40 year-old and older cars are exempt from paying Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

HMRC: According to HMRC, a classic car is at least 15 years old and has a market value of £15,000 or more.

woman driving car

Do I need classic car insurance?

Car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK if you plan to take your car on the road, which includes classic vehicles. Even if you don't plan to drive your vehicle regularly, being caught driving without insurance can have serious consequences. But whether or not you can insure your vehicle with a standard car insurance policy can depend on a few details.

Some types of classic cars may not qualify for standard car insurance because of their high value and the expensive repair costs. Because there’s no set definition of what a classic car is, it will depend on your insurer's perspective whether your car qualifies for a standard policy, so it can still be worthwhile to compare standard car insurance quotes for classic cars. This will help you find the best deal for your insurance.

If you're unable to insure your classic car with a standard car insurance policy, there are providers that offer specialised insurance specifically for vintage and classic cars. These kinds of policies will usually offer tailored cover and benefits that are specific to classic vehicles, including cover for collectors, wedding vehicles, and classic car club memberships.

Unfortunately, MoneySuperMarket don't offer quotes for specialised classic car insurance policies, but a quick search online should help you find providers that can offer the right cover for you.

What kind of cover do I need?

The most suitable cover for you will depend on your needs and preferences, as well as whether you choose standard car insurance or specialised classic car insurance.

If you have a classic car, an agreed value policy can be a useful policy to have because these cars appreciate in value over time, unlike most modern cars. It’s unlikely you’ll be offered agreed value insurance with standard car insurance, so this means you could end up getting less for your classic car in the event it’s stolen or lost.

Categories of older car

The table below explains the different types of older cars and how they’re categorised:

Car type

Definition

Veteran

Any vehicle built before WW1.

Vintage

Any vehicle built before 1930.

Post vintage

Any vehicle built between 1930 and 1945.

Classic

There isn’t an agreed definition when it comes to what makes a car a ‘classic’. If you use tax exemption status to determine if a car is classic, then it’s any car aged 40 or over.

MOTs and tax for classic cars

If you have a car, you’re legally required to get an MOT check for your vehicle. If your car is over 40 years old then it is exempt from MOT checks and car tax. Your car will also need to not have undergone any substantial modifications in the last thirty years to be exempt from MOT checks.