How classic car insurance works

On the face of it, classic car insurance works in the same way as regular cover; you cough up a premium each year and your insurer pays out if things go pear-shaped.

However, because few people use classic cars on an everyday basis, and most owners rack up just a tiny mileage each year, classic car insurance is designed with a different kind of use in mind.

While you can cover a classic car with standard insurance, it’s best if you can take out a classic-specific policy

While you can cover a classic car with standard insurance (and you might find that you have to do just that), it’s best if you can take out a classic-specific policy. Here’s what’s so special about classic car insurance:

  • You’ll probably automatically have comprehensive cover; few classic insurers offer anything less.
  • The chances are that you’ll be restricted on how many miles you can do each year – possibly extremely restricted…
  • Some insurers also insist on you having the use of another car, to prove that this isn’t your main transport. This is usually only the case if you have an annual mileage restriction.
  • Classic car insurance tends to be cheaper, as owners are assumed to cherish their cars. However, as a young driver you could struggle to get cover at all.
  • Many classic car policies come with Europe-wide breakdown cover included, which saves you taking out cover separately – potentially saving you a wad of cash.
  • Weirdly, it’s normal not to notch up any no-claims discount (NCD) on a classic car insurance policy. So even though you might end up with several years of claims-free driving, you won’t have any NCD to transfer if you move to a modern car.
  • Different insurers have different rules of what constitutes a classic. Some won’t touch cars less than 20 years old, others insist on them being built before 1990 – while others will accept anything if it’s interesting and/or used sparingly.
  • Classic car insurers are less wary than modern ones, when it comes to modifications – as long as they’re about improving safety. After all, the braking systems of some classics is marginal at best…
  • Before you take out cover, the value of your car should be agreed, so that in the event of it being stolen or written-off you’ll know exactly how much money your insurer will cough up. But if you value it unusually highly, you’ll need to back up that valuation.
  • We don’t know of any classic car insurer which offers a black box scheme, and we also don’t know of any that are included in the standard price comparison websites. The biggest killer though is the under-25s thing; classic car insurers are a very conservative bunch, and often won’t touch young drivers. But things are gradually changing, with specialist broker Footman James announcing a scheme to insure young enthusiasts.