What’s the difference between collector car and regular car insurance?

By joanne lemna | April 20, 2017

Most people are pretty familiar with regular car insurance but did you know you can get specialty insurance for your classic car? This coverage is specially tailored for classic cars and is generally known as collector car insurance. So what’s the difference?

Valuation of the Vehicle

 Regular car insurance policies value your car based on the price you purchased it for and add depreciation as time goes by. If you get into an accident and you paid $5000 for a car you’d get less than that if it was written off. Collector car insurance policies value your vehicle a bit differently based on an ‘agreed value’. This means your car’s value won’t be based on what you paid for it but rather an appraisal or its market value without any depreciation based on Hagerty’s specialized valuation process. You’re guaranteed that amount if your car is a loss.

For example let’s say you bought a 1970 Camaro in rough shape for $3000 from a relative a few years ago. You spent a few years restoring it and now you’re ready to get it out of the garage and onto the streets. Because you’ve done a full restoration of the car you had an independent appraiser value your Camaro and they valued the vehicle at $40000. If on the first drive out you had regular car insurance you’d be lucky to get the $3000. With collector car insurance however you’d be able to get the agreed value back – which would be $40000.

Cost of Insurance

Collector car insurance is generally cheaper than regular car insurance. This is because classic cars are usually used less and therefore are at lower risk of being in an accident. That means premiums are generally much lower and you pay a lower deductible.

Collector Car Usage

The idea behind a collector car insurance policy is that you don’t use the car full-time. While some policies have restrictions on how far you can drive others have no such thing. You also won’t be able to use the car for driving to work every day commercial purposes or racing.

Storage for Your Classic Car

You’re usually required to protect your car from the elements by housing it in a fully enclosed garage or storage facility. The requirements will vary depending on the insurance company.

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Drivers on Your Policy

To qualify for a collector car insurance policy you’ll need to have at least ten years driving experience and have no major driving infractions. You’ll also generally need another vehicle that you use full-time with regular-use insurance – this ensures your classic car won’t be your regular car.

Collector Car Insurance Coverage

Collector’ car insurance gives classic car owners more options with their vehicles. As many such cars spend some time in the shop getting restored or modified in long-term storage due to weather or mechanical issues or are on display you can opt for comprehensive-only coverage when the vehicle is stored.

Extra Benefits of Collector Car Insurance

While both regular car insurance policies and collector car insurance policies offer ‘extras’ a special one often found with the latter is roadside emergency assistance service. This normally includes 24/7 comprehensive full-service flat bed towing and roadside assistance for things like running out of gas battery boost tire repair and more.

Another special benefit with collector car insurance is expert claims handling. As this policy is specialized for classic vehicles the insurance company adjusters are also trained to deal with these unique claims. For example companies like Hagerty offer stock original replacement parts and even have special staff to find these pieces. Classic cars are in a category all their own and so their cases require special handling that is hard to find with regular car insurance.

Do I qualify?

As long as you’ve been driving for longer than ten consecutive years and have no major driving infractions as a driver you should have no problem qualifying. Classic vehicles are generally at least fifteen years old although some companies require them to be twenty-five years old.

What you won’t be able to insure will vary with the insurance company but generally it won’t include vehicles driven daily used for commercial purposes  with particular modifications such as “lowriders” or “tuners” or those used for racing timed events autocross or drivers ed. Your broker will be able to tell you if your vehicle qualifies.