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Classic car insurance

Find the right car insurance for your classic car

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What’s classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance, also known as heritage car insurance, is designed for older cars that are primarily used for leisure purposes. 

While classic car insurance does hold similarities with an ordinary car insurance policy, there are some important differences. Classic car insurance often works out cheaper than standard car insurance, as if you have a classic car, you’re likely to drive it for fewer miles than you would your everyday vehicle. 

How much does classic car insurance cost?

Your classic car insurance premium will usually depend on the car you're driving and how often you're on the road, as well as your age, and your driving and claims history. Often, classic car insurance works out cheaper than standard car insurance.

Classic car drivers are expected to keep their classic cars very well maintained (after all, it’s usually your prized possession!) and will often have to agree to conditions like a low annual mileage limit.

If your classic car insurance policy specifies a mileage cap, you must make sure you don’t exceed it without contacting your insurer to arrange an extension. Otherwise, you may end up driving uninsured.

Classic car insurance illustration

When does a car become classic?

A car becomes a classic when it is of enough historical interest to be collectible. 

While there’s no definitive answer of what a ‘classic car’ is, 40-year-old vehicles are exempt from paying Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), so that’s often used as a rough guide. HMRC defines classic cars as being over 15 years old with a list price of at least £15,000. But to be tax exempt, a classic car must be at least 40 years old.

Individual insurers may use different criteria when deciding whether to categorise your car as heritage or classic. 

classic car insurance illustration

Why is classic car insurance cheaper than standard policies?

Classic car insurance is often cheaper than standard policies, mostly because insurers see classic cars as a lower risk of being involved in a claim. Many classic car insurers recognise that older vehicles have lower speed limits and classic car owners tend to keep their car well looked after.

Classic car insurance also comes with stricter terms and conditions that reduce the chances of your car being damaged, or being involved in an accident. However, bear in mind that the cheapest classic car insurance policy may not be the best option for you. Make sure you check that the annual mileage cap offered to you is high enough to cover how often you drive your car, and that you can insure the vehicle for an ‘agreed valuation’ rather than its ‘market value.’

2Data based on fully comprehensive policies with one driver holding a full UK licence, insuring a 'classic car' defined by the HMRC as over 15 years old and valued at over £15,000. Data collected between Jan and Sept 2020, accurate as of Nov 2020

How much it costs to insure most popular classic cars graph illustration

Breakdown cover for classic cars

You might also want to consider taking out breakdown cover for your classic car. What you’re covered for will depend on the type of policy you take out:

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Roadside assistance or local cover

Your provider will provide assistance to try and repair your vehicle roadside. If your vehicle can’t be repaired there, they’ll tow it to a nearby garage.

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At-home breakdown cover

If your car is broken down at home or within a short distance of your home, this type of cover can get you a call-out to your vehicle to help.

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Vehicle recovery or national cover

Vehicle recovery or national cover means you’ll be able to choose any location for you and your vehicle to be towed to if your vehicle can’t be fixed.

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Onward travel

Onward travel provides more options to help you if your car breaks down, like courtesy vehicles, accommodation, or alternative travel arrangements.

Andy G Teasdale

Our expert says

"Owning a classic car is something to take pride in, so you’ll want to make sure you have the right cover in place to protect it. Running a quote with MoneySuperMarket lets you compare policies from over 100 car insurance brands. We help you find the right cover to suit your needs – and it’s easy to switch if you find a better deal."

- Andy G Teasdale, product manager of car insurance

How can I reduce the cost of classic car insurance?

While classic car insurance tends to be cheaper than regular car insurance, there are some steps you can take to reduce the cost of your car insurance premium. 

  • Tick icon

    Avoid modifications

    You may find it more expensive to cover cars with modifications, while some providers may refuse to offer cover at all. However, if you have modified anything make sure you disclose it or your cover could become invalid

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    Keep your mileage down

    The more mileage you do, the pricier your car insurance policy will be. If you agree to a mileage limit with your insurer (which may suit you if you only use your classic car for leisure), you could get a discount on your premiums

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    Improve your car’s security

    If your classic car was built some time ago, its security features may be limited or outdated, which can encourage thieves. Keeping it locked in a garage overnight or fitting a tracking device and alarm tells insurers you’ve put measures in place to take care of your car

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    Join a car club

    Not only does joining a car club give you chance to show off your prized possession, it may come with a discount on your car insurance. Insurers may see you joining a car club as commitment to safe driving and bring your premium down as a result

For classic car insurance, agreed value is the amount your car insurer will agree to pay you if your classic car is written off after a crash.

Agreed value is a good example of your insurer recognising the money you’ve put into your classic car, rather than just the price it sells for. This can give you the peace of mind that if the worst happens and your classic car is written off, your insurer’s pay-out should match, or at least come close to the money you spent on it.

To get an agreed value, you let your insurer know what your classic car is worth, your insurer agrees (or gives you an alternative amount) and that will then be the money you receive if your car suffers serious damage.

You can get classic car insurance for under 25s, but there may be restrictions on the type of classic car you can drive, as well as how and where you drive it. Most insurers will only agree to insure you after you’ve had your license for at least 12 months. But if you’re a classic car enthusiast aged between 18 and 24, you may find you can insure a vintage vehicle for less than you’d pay to insure a modern car.

Classic car insurers often see modifications as an additional risk, and chance of being insured.

Insurers often see modifications to your vehicle as a higher chance of you needing to claim. Even something like a high-quality re-spray to your car is considered a modification, as it may attract thieves. If you’re looking for modified car insurance, make sure you always notify your insurer of any modifications to your vehicle.

If you’re looking to use your classic car for business purposes, make sure you notify your insurer. If you haven’t let them know that you’re using your classic car for work, you may be driving uninsured. To use your classic car for business, you may need to pay an additional premium, as your car will be used regularly instead of for leisure only, which will affect the car’s mileage and risk-factor.

Classic cars that were built over 40 years ago are now exempt from needing a MOT, unless you volunteer to have your car checked. But do bear in mind this exception only applies if your vehicle hasn’t had ‘substantial changes’ made to it in the last 30 years. This can include replacing the body, engine or axles of your classic car, which changes the way your vehicle works.

Buying a classic car comes with many benefits, from its character to the driving experience. Here’s some of the key benefits of buying a classic car:

  • Style: Classic cars stand out on the road and are admired by many. Many vintage cars weren’t mass produced like modern cars are, which means they’re harder to come by
  • Driving experience: Driving a classic car is considered a different experience to driving your standard, modern vehicle. Classic cars don’t come with the technology we’re used to today (ABS braking or power steering), so you’ll need to be more aware and in control of your car when you’re on the road. With this in mind, it’s said that driving a classic car can make you a better driver
  • Cheaper insurance: Insurers know that classic cars are often used for leisure, so they’re usually associated with a lower risk level. This means your classic car insurance is likely to be cheaper than standard car insurance
  • No car tax: If your classic car was built over 40 years ago, you’ll be exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), also known as car or road tax

Your insurer will decide if your car qualifies as a 'classic', as the definition can sometimes vary. Whether you need a specialist policy for your classic car may depend on how often you use your car, rather than its age or model.

The car insurance extras you may need will depend on how often you drive your vehicle. Breakdown cover may be included as standard, but if not, you may have to pay a little extra. You may not need personal belongings cover for your classic car, especially if you only drive your vehicle occasionally.

Joining a classic car club comes with various benefits, from finding a new hobby to insurance discounts:

  • Insurance discounts: Classic car clubs are a great indicator to your insurer that you take good care of your vehicle and are more likely to practice safe driving.
  • Connections: Joining a car club means getting to meet other classic car enthusiasts. With this, you can get technical car advice and find where to buy car parts!
  • Valuations: Some car clubs can help you value your car or help out if you’re looking to buy or sell a classic car.
  • Vehicle verification: If your vehicle has been off-road for a while and has no Logbook, some car clubs can help you restore an original registration to your vehicle if it’s been removed before.

 

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