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Ministry of Broke Things
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Elsewhere on ECC, I posted a detailed article on classic car insurance. ( http://www.elcaminocentral.com/showthread.php?t=33501)

Now, Hemmings has recently published an article on the same subject that is much more brief and easy to read. I attach it here for your information and reference. If you need more detailed info, please see my original article, linked above, or PM me if you have questions.

What many have been pleasantly surprised to find out is that collector-car insurance agencies are actually run by car nuts, who are not interested in making a buck off your heartbreak. Even better, insuring your collector car is dirt cheap. With at least a dozen companies competing for your business, you have the opportunity to figure out which one is the best fit for your needs. Before you can do that, though, you need to know what your needs are.
First Things First
Almost universally, collector-car insurers are very picky about whom they insure, what they’ll insure, and most importantly, how you can use your car. You’ll have to pass several hurdles before you even qualify for the insurance. Firstly, very few insurers will cover an inexperienced driver. Several require as long as 10 years’ experience since you got your license, or that you be at least 25 years old.
Another piece of the “who gets covered” question has to do with less tangible things, all of which add up to, essentially, “are you a car nut?”
Defining your car is one of the areas that can help you make your choice. Essentially, if you think your car is a collectible, someone will insure it on that basis, but it’s a lot easier if it fits into a common category. New cars actually do qualify. Many collector-car insurers offer a “modern collectible” policy for cars that are expected to appreciate in value. Ford GTs, Ferraris, Corvettes and other cars with a history of appreciating, used under limited circumstances, are often covered this way. While the rates are likely to be similar, you’ll find policies for original, restored or modified cars, muscle cars, sports cars and American classics. Looking for a policy that fits your car can help get you an agency with specialists familiar with the issues specific to your car. Many insurers are very wary about accepting kit cars and replicas for which there aren’t accepted values.
Use is the last criterion. The most common restriction is on mileage, with policies allowing annual driving from 1,000 up to 10,000 miles. Some policies explicitly restrict use to club or hobby-related events; almost all will deny you coverage if they know you plan to enter any sort of driving competition, and will void an existing policy if they find you’ve been on a race track.
Determining Your Needs
As we said earlier, collector-car insurance is dirt cheap. We know people who keep their old heaps legal for $50 a year, although the industry average is around $200 a year to insure a $10,000 classic. The majority of claims are for non-driving comprehensive loss. Those single-vehicle incidents may be expensive, but there’s no other party suing for damages. It’s important for collector-car owners to store their cars in a good-quality structure that is secure enough to limit access from unwanted people, animals and the elements, and to keep hanging items from damaging cars. Our insurance advertisers all note that many claims result from rakes and garden tools falling on a fresh paint job.
Making the Call
Most collector insurance companies’ requirements for coverage are the same. They look for four photographs of the car (either digital or print, but uploading digital photos through online applications is a lot easier), proof of a registered and insured daily driver, a safe, secure garage in which to store your vehicle, and proof that you meet the company’s age limits. Beyond that, it’s a simple phone call or e-mail transaction, either using a credit card or mailing a check.
Questions to Ask:
What is my vehicle truly worth?
Insurers pay close attention to rising and falling values in the collector-car hobby. Average values are critical here. You may just have spent $44,000 for a TR4 at auction, but you may have trouble finding an insurer willing to risk insuring that loss.
What is “agreed-upon value?”
Most collector-car insurers work with their customers to come to an agreement on a true value of the car in question. It’s a lot easier with a brand-new car that sells on any dealer’s lot for $35,000. It’s a bit different when a car’s value can go up and down a significant percentage just by what accessories it might have. Work with your insurer to find a value you’re both comfortable with.
How old does my car have to be?
A “collector car” is certainly in the eye of the beholder. You may cherish your 2004 Toyota Camry, but most collector-car insurers won’t be interested in covering it. But age doesn’t have to be a factor. Your 2010 Camaro SS might qualify. Check with your insurer, and don’t be afraid to ask.
Can I drive it only to car shows and on weekends?
Most policies stipulate that the vehicle can’t be used for daily transportation. If you intend to drive the car to work every day, you should seek out a more traditional insurance policy. But if you’re blessed with a beautiful, sunny Friday and want to drive your car to work, you can certainly do that within the limits of the policy.
Why do I need a garage?
Most claims for these cars happen at home. The garage helps to prevent theft, environmental hazards and the normal degradation a car suffers sitting outside all winter, even under a cover.
What else can I insure?
Lots of things: fire trucks, muscle cars, vintage motorcycles and scooters, vintage trailers, street rods and even high-quality replicas qualify with certain insurers. The best way to find out is to contact the insurer directly and ask the question. And don’t hesitate to ask if you can add your newer collector vehicle to the policy if you don’t intend to drive it daily.
What might prevent my eligibility?
Most minor traffic violations and accidents aren’t an issue, but if you’ve been convicted of a DUI infraction, reckless driving or excessive speed, you may not qualify. All licensed drivers in the household are generally subject to review by an underwriter.
Is there a deductible?
No, but with an asterisk. If you’re insuring a collector vehicle with a model year of 1987 or newer, a deductible might be required.
How do I get damage appraised if I do have an accident?
Most collector-car insurers use in-house claims adjusters who know classic cars, and aren’t writing a damage appraisal based on what it would cost to repair a 1995 Lumina.
Where do I take my car to get fixed?
Most collector-car insurers allow you to pick your own shop. If you’ve been working with a specific restorer, you can have any collision work performed there.
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