Find the right car insurance when you’re talking about your average go-to sedan or SUV is difficult enough, considering the regulations differ by province and the needs change based on your situation – how much you drive, age of the car, age of the driver, style of car, etc. The task becomes even more daunting when you have a classic, or vintage, car.

In many cases, a standard auto insurance policy isn’t the best choice for a collectible, so you’ll have to seek out an appropriate classic car insurance policy. Before you start, make sure you have your ducks in a row and know what you’re working with.

Recognizing What You Have

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Just because your car is older doesn’t mean it’s a collectible. You should first determine if your car classifies as a vintage car before purchasing a classic car policy. Several factors weigh into determining the status of the car you’re trying to insure.

  • As a general rule, most states consider classic cars to be over 20 years old. However, most vehicles that receive a ‘vintage’ or ‘collectible’ status are older.
  • A classic car often had a very low production run, meaning there are few of them available, thus leading to a ‘collectible’ status.
  • If a car had a high initial value and has been well kept, or if it is a sports model, it could also qualify as a classic car.
  • How much money has been put into the upkeep of the car can also affect its status – a classic Stingray in mint condition may be of more value than a rundown 57 Chevy.

One thing is consistent in classic and vintage cars – rather than the value of the car depreciating over time, the value will increase. You might be able to determine the status of your car by using one of the online appraisal tools to see if its value is exceptionally high.

Caring for a Classic Car

If you’re going to insure your vintage car, it’s important to keep it in great condition. Here are some ways you can assure that your car remains a classic and doesn’t become just another ‘old’ car.

  1. Wash and wax. Be consistent in washing your car every time you take it out to keep up the appearance. A classic car isn’t highly valued or considered a collectible if it’s dirty and rusted. You should also wax your car about every six months to protect the paint job and keep it shining. If there is any chrome, be sure to polish it at the same time. Wax and polish should only be applied after a hand wash.
  2. Protect your interior. If you have leather interior, be sure to use a cream to keep it in mint condition. For vinyl, find a good vinyl cleaner so you don’t get scuffs and dirt marks. For both, seek out a UV blocker to avoid sun damage to the color or cracks to the upholstery.
  3. Change the oil. It’s great to have a car that looks good, but a vintage car also needs to run in mint condition. One of the easiest ways to keep your engine running smoothly and catching positive attention from onlookers is to change the oil regularly to keep everything lubricated.
  4. Care for the brakes. Braking systems in vintage cars are old, and you need to take special care of them. You can rumble up to a red light and impress the public, but if the brakes squeal, they’ll cringe, and you could be in danger. Make sure to test the brakes regularly for functionality, get involved in regular maintenance, and pump them often to keep them smooth.

Why Different Insurance?

As we mentioned, collectible cars don’t depreciate the way that standard models do. When you drive a new car off the lot, it immediately starts to lose value – some faster than others. By contrast, a classic car will retain and even improve its value as it becomes a rarer commodity over time. Having proper full coverage insurance that takes this into account is essential in protecting your investment.

Speaking to an Agent

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When you’re seeking out auto insurance for your vintage automobile, you want to be sure you’re clear about what you have when speaking to agents and agencies. Explain that your car is a collectible, and include your investment into the car in the policy, especially if you’ve spent a great deal on restoration. You want to have that entire value funneled into the coverage.

Also, make sure the agent doesn’t try to rope your vintage car policy into your standard policy in something called a ‘bundle’. While this can save money in some instances, that’s not necessarily the case with classic cars. Because your vintage car is not likely your primary mode of transportation, you likely don’t need to insure it like a work car that you take out for 50-100 miles on a daily basis. That means less risk to the vintage car and, therefore, less cost.

Additional information to provide to the agent includes:

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  • Housing status – if it’s in a garage, it’s more protected so costs are reduced.
  • Alarms and other security measures installed (for further reduction in risk) can save money.
  • Any appraisals you’ve had done recently can help determine the overall value of the car for insurance purposes.

Keeping this insurance policy separate can really help make sure you aren’t paying too much and that you have full coverage should the unthinkable happen to your collectible car.

When it comes to your vintage or collectible car, you want the best. It’s a big investment to have something so beautiful and coveted, so you’ll want to take care of the vehicle and assure that you protect your investment with the proper insurance policy for vintage cars. Knowing what you’re dealing with in advance can really help you when it comes time to seek out that specialty insurance, so be sure to do your research before you buy!