Who has never felt their heart warmed by the sight of a little green 2CV bumping down a village street, or a vintage Porsche purring down the motorway?
If you have a classic car, you know that feeling. You give it extra special treatment. You might also agree that your vintage car needs special insurance too.
Of course it does! The good news is that it could even be more economical than going with a general policy.
We’re going to tell you how classic car insurance works, and how to get the best tailor-made policy for your vintage beauty.
Table of Contents
What is classic car insurance?
Classic car insurance is specialist insurance that’s intended to cover vintage and classic cars.
Unlike conventional cars which significantly depreciate each year, classic or vintage cars generally increase in value, especially if they are well cared for and/or restored.
Classic car insurance also sometimes comes with extra conditions, for instance classic cars are:
- Used as second car: you drive another car day to day;
- Used for low mileage – usually 5,000 miles a year;
- Parked in a secure garage.
Classic car insurance usually covers your vintage vehicle for an ‘Agreed Valuation’ you decide with the insurance company at the start of the policy. It basically corresponds to the maximum amount you can possibly claim.
For instance, you might want vintage cover for your much loved 1982 Porsche 956. A leading insurer of collectible cars would value that at about £7,903,687.
If you have a classic car insurance policy in place and that vehicle is stolen, written off or suffers total damage, the insurer will compensate you the full value and not the one of a depreciated asset (that means what it’s worth as a collector’s item).
Classic vehicle insurance covers not only cars, but vintage vehicles such as historic motorcycles, vans and camping vans, and even buses.
What are the best classic cars insurance?
When you’re looking for a classic car policy, you’ll want the best rather than the cheapest.
Insurance for classic cars is a specialised area and the best classic car insurance quotes will come from specialists who understand the market.
That’s why this table looks very different from most car insurance tables – the big names like Aviva, and AXA aren’t there, but there are a lot of specialist insurers showing up instead.
Find out main classic car insurers of the market as well as a short review on each:
|Insurance provider||Our comment|
To get the best rates once you’ve had a look at our online comparison, you should pick up the phone and talk to an expert. Most specialist insurers don’t operate an all purpose call centre, they’re staffed by people who know and love classic cars. Get, first, indicative quotes of standard cars and options to get the best deal out of your call.
How old does a car has to be to be treated as a classic car?
A classic car according to HMRC is one that’s over 15 years old and worth at least £15,000. However, this is not an official definition.
When you see a particular car with certain features and style you know instantly that it’s a classic, you may be surprised to know that there’s no single definition of the word.
Some insurers will however, start at 20, 30 or even 40 years old cars. It’s up to the individual insurer what criteria they use. Many will insure ‘modern classics’, and in some exceptional cases you can actually get a modern classic policy for a brand new performance car.
Cars can, on the other hand, be too old for classic insurance. Admiral, for instance, won’t consider cars before 1940 for its classic car policies. So if you have a beautiful 1930s Citroen Traction Avant, you’re out of luck there.
However, there’s one sure way to tell if your car is a classic. If it has an owner’s club, it almost certainly qualifies.
Many classic policies will only insure drivers over a certain age. If you want classic car insurance under 25, for instance, your choices will be more limited, but there are a few ‘young enthusiast’ policies (it may help to belong to a classic car club to prove eligibility). That might help make classic car insurance available for 18-year olds.
Top 10 classic car manufacturers
This is the kind of question that can get vintage car fans arguing all day. From the original Mini to the powerful McLaren F1, the small island of Great Britain has produced more than its fair share of vintage classics.
But what are some of the best models according to us? Here’s our list of top 10 Classic British cars:
|Car model||Manufacturing years||Original price||Current value|
|LOTUS ELISE||1996 – 2001||£19,950||£7,000 – £30,000|
|FORD ESCORT MK1||1967 – 1975||£666||£500 – £50,000|
|CATERHAM / LOTUS SEVEN||1957 – present||£1,157||£10,000 – £33,990|
|FORD GT40||1964 – 1969||£5,200||£2 million-plus|
|RANGE ROVER MK1||1970 – 1996||£1,998||£1,000 – £140,000|
|MCLAREN F1||1992 – 1998||£540,000||£8,000,000|
|ASTON MARTIN DB5||1963 – 1965||£4,248||£100,000 – £1,000,000|
|LAND ROVER SERIES/DEFENDER||1948 – 2016||£1,730||£1,500 – £50,000|
|JAGUAR E-TYPE||1961 – 1975||£1,934||£35,000 – £100,000|
|MINI||1959 – 2000||£506||£500 – £30,000|
Why get specific classic car insurance?
Classic car insurance if often cheaper
First reason to look for classic car insurance is cost.
Is classic car insurance cheaper? Often, but not always – because classic car insurers will look at the total risk, including whether the driver has a clean licence, where the car is kept, and how it’s used.
But classic car insurance can work out cheaper than a normal policy for the same car, for a number of reasons. Insurers assume most classics owners:
- Do lower mileage.
- Park their classic car in a garage not on the street.
- Don’t take them out in bad weather.
- Keep their cars in impeccable condition.
For a VW Beetle or an MGB, a classic car insurance policy could be less than half the price of the equivalent standard policy.
Classic car insurance takes into account real car market value
Second reason to look for a classic policy might be that your car’s value is significantly more than the current market value shown in the books.
Car insurance for older cars often assumes they are worth very little. An insurer might decide your lovely first year 2CV should be scrapped if it needs more than a few £100 worth of repairs – unless you have agreed value cover which looks at the car as a collector’s item. Agreed value policies are particularly important for emerging modern classics, on that poorly defined border between modern and classic. You see a classic, but some insurers just see an old banger. Make sure you see eye-to-eye on what your car is worth before you take out a policy.
Most cars are wasting assets – that is, their price falls every year to reflect wear and tear. But classic cars are the exception to the rule. Their prices often go up to reflect increasing scarcity and increasing demand. With classic car insurance, your insurer may be willing to increase your cover if the value of your vehicle goes up.
You can get a regular quote first, and then ask to add agreed value cover – though your premium will of course go up to reflect the extra sum insured. You might be asked to get an estimate or valuation from a vintage car dealer.
Classic car insurance includes specific extras
Last reason to go for a classic car policy is the extra coverage you can get, in additional to usual things included in a comprehensive policy such as fire, theft or third party damages for example:
- Repairs more expensive involved with collector’s models, parts harder to find.
- Racing on track days, rallies: cover for race cars and competition cars is more limited than those of standard road going cars. Some insurers might be able to offer you separate track day insurance, which should cover your travel to and from your event.
How much does a vintage car insurance cost?
It’s difficult to say how much classic, vintage or historic vehicle insurance will cost, because classic cars cover such a huge range, from 2CVs and minis at one end up to million-pound high performance cars at the other.
But our research suggests you might look at insurance premiums for classic cars in these ranges:
|Car model||Monthly premium|
|Aston Martin DB5||£300+|
A 50 year old driver with a clean record could insure a Porsche 911 for less than £100 a month with some insurers?
But the only way to know for sure how much you’ll pay is to compare the market for classic car insurance by either ringing round, or, much more quickly, getting a classic car quote online. Remember that the cheapest classic car insurance might not be the best – always check the cover and conditions before signing on the dotted line.
Make sure classic vehicle insurance is for you
Even if you have a classic car, a regular policy might be better for you in some circumstances.
- If you do high mileage, you may not comply with the classic car insurance rules.
- If your classic is your only car, some insurers won’t give you a classic car policy.
You could reduce your mileage to fit the policy. But if you average 16,000 miles a year, don’t get a classic policy and say you only drive 5,000 miles – if you are found out, your insurance will be invalid.
If you still go for a classic car insurance, make sure that:
- You have the right agreed value with your insurance provider for your car.
- You have the right level of coverage and additional extras you want: breakdown cover, driving in Europe etc.
How to get cheaper classic car insurance quotes?
Specialist insurers will usually come in cheaper; for instance, you can get cover for a classic MGB, Beetle, or Triumph Spitfire below £200.
For high performance cars like Ferraris, you’ll have to pay a higher premium, not just because they’re more expensive cars, but because they are more likely to be involved in accidents (and at higher speeds, the accidents are likely to be more serious).
Fortunately these insurers now often give quotes via online car insurance comparison sites, so you can get quotes the same way you would for a run-of-the-mill 2019 Ford Mondeo.
Once you’ve got some quotes, pick up the phone and talk to the insurers who gave you the best price – you may be able to get it even lower.
If you’re a member of a historic vehicle club like the MG Car Club or 2CVGB, you may also get a discount on your insurance as part of your membership.
Here are some of our top tips.
- Fit a modern tracking device – This is helpful if your car gets stolen, and for lowering the cost of your premium;
- Don’t pay monthly – Paying in a lump sum almost always works out cheaper than monthly payments;
- Join an official car club – You can get discounts as a member of an official car club.
Learn more tips to lower your insurance premiums.