If you own a heritage vehicle, no doubt it’s among your most prized possessions. To you, your car is definitely a classic - but does your insurance company see it the same way?
It's hard to know, as there is no standard definition of the term 'classic car' for insurance purposes. HM Revenue & Customs rules state that you can define a car as classic if it is more than 15 years old and worth at least £15,000 - but individual insurance providers may use different criteria when deciding whether to confer heritage or classic status on your car.
While a standard insurance policy may be available for your vehicle, it could be that choosing a specialist classic car insurance policy is a smarter move.
How much does classic car insurance cost?
Classic car insurance policies tend to assume that drivers use their heritage vehicles less often than they would a modern car - perhaps driving it exclusively during warmer months, and not in winter.
For this reason, as well as because classic cars are generally well maintained by their owners, it might be that a classic car insurance policy is cheaper for you than standard 12 month car cover.
However, if your classic car insurance policy specifies an annual mileage cap, you must take care not to exceed this without contacting your insurer to arrange an extension to your existing cover. It’s important to stick to the terms of any insurance policy you have purchased; if you don’t, you may find yourself ineligible for a pay out should you need one.
Exactly how much your individual classic car insurance costs will, of course, depend upon your personal circumstances and the heritage vehicle you drive.
Will a classic car insurance policy offer me the same protection as a standard fully comprehensive policy?
While there are many similarities between a classic car insurance policy and an ordinary ‘fully comp’ policy, there are some important differences you need to be aware of.
Assessing the value of a classic car can be far more difficult than working out what a modern car is worth. Therefore, it’s a good idea to avoid buying an insurance policy that states it will simply pay out the ‘market value’ in the event that your heritage vehicle is stolen or written off.
To you, your car is definitely a classic - but does your insurance company see it the same way?
If you can, agree a valuation for your classic car with your provider before buying an insurance policy. To help establish a fair figure, you could ask an industry expert or vintage car dealer to provide an expert opinion on the value of your heritage motor.
You might also want to consider that some vintage cars increase in value as time goes by. Be sure that your chosen insurer is willing to review and, if appropriate, increase the agreed valuation on your classic car on a regular basis.
Also, it’s important to check the replacement parts policy of your insurer. No doubt you’ll want to ensure that you’ll be covered for the purchase of authentic replacement parts for your heritage motor, should it need to be repaired.
Finally, if you plan to take your classic car around the country - or even overseas - to shows and rallies, make sure your insurance policy covers this. If your classic car is for hire (for example, for weddings) you will also need to ensure you have appropriate insurance cover in place.
Where will I find the best deal on heritage car insurance?
It could be that buying classic car insurance from a specialist provider is your best bet - but mainstream insurers also offer cover for heritage cars, so it’s a good idea to explore both options.
It’s always a good idea to compare a variety of quotations, no matter what kind of insurance you’re buying.
Don’t forget that it’s important to understand the details of the policies you’re comparing, as well as to look at how much they cost. Be sure to consider the quality of cover on offer from different insurers, as well as their prices.
Finally, it’s very likely that you won’t build up any no-claims discount when you hold a specialist classic car insurance policy.