Things To Know When Insuring Vintage Cars

If you have just acquired your first vintage car in California- congratulations! You’re on the right track by researching what insurance you’ll need. Just because a valuable item happens to be a vehicle doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be insured like fine art. This is the case with car collections. Did you know, for example, that many traditional car insurance companies do not insure vehicles that are 25 years or older?

How Is a “Vintage Car” Defined?

There is, unfortunately, not a clear-cut answer. In general, though, if the current value of a car is greater now than when it rolled off the assembly line, it is going to be considered collectible. These are the types of cars that specialized classic car insurance policies were designed for. 

How to Know If Your Vehicle Needs a Specialty Insurance Policy?

Don’t lightly dismiss what policy you need for your vintage car. As with all types of insurance, the right coverage is everything. The wrong coverage can defeat the purpose of paying for the insurance in the first place. Here are some common examples of the types of vehicles that should be specially insured:

  1. Hotrods and muscle cars
  2. Cars that are 25-30+ years old and in mint condition
  3. Rare or exotic cars, like a Delorean or Hitler’s bulletproof Mercedes-Benz 770
  4. Classic trucks, motorcycles, and boats
  5. Vehicles that have been significantly customized or modified to increase their value

If you have upgraded any of the following things on your car, you may be a candidate for a specialty auto insurance policy:

  1. Engine
  2. Transmission
  3. Power steering
  4. Suspension
  5. Disc brakes
  6. LED lighting
  7. Interior finishes
  8. Upholstery or exterior paint (non-factory options)
  9. Installed air conditioning when none was present before

How a Specialty Vintage Car Policy Is Different Than Regular Car Insurance

There are many ways in which these specialty policies are superior to regular car insurance for classic, collector, and vintage cars.

  1.  Older vehicles are often not eligible for traditional car insurance. As mentioned above, many auto insurers simply will not provide coverage on cars a quarter of a century or older. Some companies won’t even insure cars that are older than 15 years.
  2. Traditional car insurance policies will only cover a vehicle up to a certain dollar amount. This limited scope does not cater to or provide adequate coverage for cars with significant restorations, improvements, and modifications. Many collectible cars drive better and look cooler now than when they left the factory. When determining your policy terms, a traditional insurer might ask if you have the V6 or four-wheel drive, but their systems aren’t built for questions like, “Have you improved the drivetrain or installed a working aquarium in the backseat?” Plus, while the average car depreciates over time, most restored vintage cars are appreciating and gaining value. 
  3. One of the most important ways in which a specialty policy for collectible cars differs from regular car insurance is that it allows you to establish a “settlement value” in the event of theft, loss, or getting “totaled.” This is known as the car’s “agreed value.” Traditional auto insurance relies on the actual cash value of a vehicle (like the Kelley Blue Book value). With an agreed value, you and your insurance company mutually decide on the car’s worth in advance (at the time of the policy signing). Actual cash value, on the other hand, is established after a vehicle has been damaged, lost, or stolen.

Ride Confidently with Vintage Automobile Collection Insurance 

There are many nuances to protecting your dream car, and that’s our business at FACE Insurance. To learn more about how we can help keep your car protected in mint condition, please contact us today for additional information.