Classic car insurance

Is my car a classic, and do I need specialist insurance?

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If you've got a classic car, you'll need to think carefully about the type of car insurance you need.

Classic sports car in garage

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Classic cars are more than just a means of getting from A to B. For true enthusiasts, they’re a labour of love – and even a way of life.

But what makes a car a classic? Age is a factor, of course. But for insurers, it’s often how you treat your beloved set of wheels that counts the most.

What is a classic car?

A classic car is an older vehicle that’s of enough historical interest to be collectible. There’s no standard definition of the term 'classic car' for insurance purposes, however. HM Revenue & Customs rules state that you can define a car as classic if it’s more than 15 years old and worth at least £15,000. But individual insurers often use different criteria when deciding whether to confer heritage or classic status on your car.

What is classic car insurance?

Classic car cover, also known as heritage car insurance, is designed for older cars that are primarily used for leisure purposes. There are many similarities between classic car insurance and an ordinary ‘fully comp’ car insurance policy. But there are also some important differences – including that most classic car policies will stipulate much lower annual mileage.

Top 10 most expensive classic cars 

Our classic cars research reveals the most expensive classic cars by model, year and price sold at auction:

List

Model

Year

Price

1

Ferrari 250 GTO

1962

£29,805,983

2

Mercdes Benz W196

1954

£23,524,001

3

Jaguar D-Type

1955

£16,835,433

4

Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe

1932

£15,968,926

5

Alfa Romeo 8C 29000B Lungo Spider

1939

£15,304,939

6

Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato

1962

£11,168,741

7

Shelby 260 Cobra

1962

£10,628,431

8

Ford GT40

1968

£8,869,908

9

Duesenberg Model J Long Wheelbase Coupe

1931

£8,508,928

10

Porsche 956

1982

£7,903,687

How much does classic car insurance cost?

Classic car insurance quotes will depend on you and the car you drive, but will often work out cheaper than standard car insurance. One reason for this is that insurers assume drivers use heritage vehicles less often than a modern car. Enthusiasts are also expected to keep their classic cars very well maintained, and will often have to agree to certain conditions such as a low annual mileage limit.

If your classic car insurance policy specifies a mileage cap, you must take care not to exceed this without contacting your insurer to arrange an extension. Otherwise, you could end up driving uninsured.

Classic car insurance premiums

We’ve pulled data from our system to show how much you can expect to pay to insure some of the UK’s most popular classic cars:

Mazda MX-5

£380

Mini

£465

Porsche 911

£1,672

Volkswagen Golf

£732

Landrover Discovery

£834

Why is classic car insurance so cheap?

Classic car insurance is usually cheaper than a standard policy because it comes with stricter terms and conditions that lower the risk of accidents and damage. But the cheapest policy may not be the best classic car insurance for you. Things to check include that the annual mileage cap is high enough to cover how you use the car, and that you can insure the vehicle for an ‘agreed valuation’ rather than its ‘market value’, which can be hard to work out.

 

What cars qualify for classic car insurance?

There’s a lot of debate over what constitutes a classic car. To some people a 20-year-old Morris Minor is a valuable collector’s item; to others it’s an un-roadworthy rust bucket. That’s why individual insurance providers often use different criteria to decide whether your car qualifies for classic car insurance or not. In fact, whether or not you can take out classic car insurance will often depend more on how you use your car than its age or model.

 

How old does a car have to be to get classic car insurance?

Government rules state that, for tax purposes at least, cars only become classics when they are at least 15 years old. However, younger cars may qualify for classic car insurance with some companies if they are used as classic cars and not everyday vehicles. To be exempt from an annual MOT, the car must be at least 40 years old.

 

How can I find the best classic car insurance?

Classic cars can be difficult to value – and can go up as well as down in price – so the best classic car insurance policies will insure your vehicle for an ‘agreed valuation’ rather than the ‘market value’. To help establish a fair figure, ask an industry expert or vintage car dealer to provide an expert opinion on the value of your heritage motor. And check your chosen insurer is willing to review and, if appropriate, increase the agreed valuation on a regular basis.

Other things to check include the insurer’s replacement parts policy. Will it cover you for the purchase of authentic replacement parts for your heritage motor, should it need repairs? If you plan to take your classic car to shows and rallies, or rent it out for weddings and other events, you also need to make sure your classic car policy provides appropriate cover.

 

Can I get classic car insurance for under 25s?

Yes, classic car insurance policies for young drivers do exist. There will probably be restrictions on the type of classic car you can drive – a Mini should be ok, a Porsche probably won’t be – as well as how and where you drive it. Most insurers will also only accept you once 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 well find you can insure a vintage vehicle for less than you’d pay to insure a modern run-around.

 

How can I compare classic car insurance policies?

Classic car insurance is available from general insurers and specialist companies. With MoneySuperMarket, you can search the general insurance market for the cheapest car insurance for your heritage vehicle. Then compare the quotes you’re offered with those from specialist classic car insurers. Just remember to check the terms and conditions to make sure the policy you choose offers the cover you need.

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