How to Properly Insure a Classic Car

A green vintage jaguar car driving on a sunny day

Like so many other things with classic cars, getting the proper insurance is not like insuring a standard daily driver or work truck. Your classic car insurance should be as unique as your vehicle and your needs. The best classic car insurance is specifically tailored to the kind of vehicle, the miles it’s driven and the places it goes on the road.

At Hagerty, this is what we do day in and day out, but for a new classic car owner (maybe you’re among the many Millennials just getting into the classic car community) or for someone who may have just made their first car purchase in a while, you might need a refresher course.

Here’s what we think are the things to know when you’re looking for the best full coverage car insurance for your special vehicle:

Does my car need special insurance?

While the definition of a classic car depends on who you ask, in general if you expect your car to keep or even increase in value, you will probably need collector’s car insurance.

Hagerty offers a Guaranteed Value policy, more commonly called an agreed value policy, which means that we’ll agree on a fair, accurate price for your vehicle, and we guarantee that value will be paid to you in the event of a covered total loss.

If you insure your collector car with regular insurance, most carriers will have you on "actual cash value" or "stated value" coverage, which may lower the value of your vehicle over time. And if there’s ever a claim on that kind of policy, you’ll probably get less money.

If that’s something you want to avoid with the vehicle in question, then yes - you need special insurance.

Does my car qualify for classic car insurance?

At Hagerty, we look at a number of things to assess what kind of insurance policy fits you best - if it fits you at all. We’re also looking at the driver to assess a proper fit as well. For example, if you’ve had a serious driving infraction in the past three years, we’re going to ask you to wait a bit before we add your coverage.

In general we’re first looking at the type of driving you do and where the car is stored. Then we look at the age and type of vehicle from there. If you’re not using this as your daily driver (ie: just going to club functions, parades and driving for pleasure a few times a month) and you’ve got a private garage or secure storage facility, we’re in business.

From there, we separate vehicles by age (1979 and older for most cars, 1996 for trucks), type of vehicle (is it a highly modified car, race car or commercial vehicle, for example) or even a tractor, motorcycle or military vehicle. All of these will receive different types of attention, with different premiums and benefits associated with them.

What kind of extra protection should I add to my insurance policy?

Like traditional insurance that starts at collision and liability coverage, additional options include theft protection (I mean, have you seen Gone in 60 Seconds? People do want to steal classic cars) and additional damage coverage. Specialty insurers (including Hagerty) will also insure spare parts and specific tools for classic cars, as well as historic or collectible automotive antiques like gas pumps and hood ornaments.

There’s also something called Cherished Salvage Coverage: If your car is totaled in a flood or a fire, the policy pays you for your loss … but you still get to keep the salvaged car.

A blue McLaren parked with open doors

Why should I choose an insurer that focuses specifically on classic, vintage or luxury vehicles?

If you needed engine or transmission work done on a 1960s-era Jaguar or Aston Martin, you probably wouldn’t take it to the Honda dealership, would you? No - classic cars deserve and require specific expertise in these markets. They’re different vehicles, so they need different care and different kinds of attention.

One other thing to consider: Because specialty insurance agencies cover these specific types of vehicles, those policy premiums are often cheaper than your daily-driver coverage. Yes - for once something made for a classic car actually costs less than normal.

Got a classic, antique, vintage or otherwise collectible car that you’d like some extra protection for? All of these options can and should be discussed with your Hagerty insurance agent, and we’d love to chat about it.