We all know you need insurance to keep a car on the road. But what about a classic car? As people spend more time admiring these cars than driving them, many people aren’t sure about the insurance they need. Let’s look at classic car insurance requirements in the US to protect your investment and other road users.
Minimum Classic Car Insurance Requirements
Every state except New Hampshire requires classic car owners who drive their vehicles, even occasionally, to have bodily injury and property damage liability insurance coverage. These liability insurances are usually bundled together in a single insurance policy. If you have an accident in your classic car, these insurance policies cover an injured party’s medical bills and the cost to repair or replace damaged property.
While New Hampshire doesn’t require insurance for classic car owners, they must take financial responsibility for any at-fault accidents. That means uninsured at-fault drivers must pay an injured party’s medical bills and the cost to repair or replace damaged property out of their own pockets if they don’t have insurance.
Regular Car Insurance vs. Classic Car Insurance
Any car insurance policy with liability insurance satisfies your legal requirements. However, regular car insurance policies usually aren’t the best option for classic car owners. Classic car insurance policies are a better option for the following reasons:
- They have higher coverage limits, as classic cars are usually worth more
- They usually pay policyholders an agreed value for their vehicles, which considers their classic status and true worth, rather than a depreciated value
- They’re usually between 30% and 70% cheaper than comparable standard car insurance policies
- They have flexible mileage plans, which are much lower than standard car insurance policies, as people usually drive their classic cars less
- Some providers discount policies for mature drivers, people with multiple classic cars insured under the same policy, and people with secure garages
- Some policies have spare parts coverage, which helps policyholders cover the cost of expensive replacement parts
- Some policies offer roadside assistance with flatbed tow trucks that protect classic cars
- Some policies give policyholders discounts on security features and car club memberships
What Classic Car Insurance Covers
Classic car insurance policies vary, so you can customize the best classic car insurance plan for your needs. You can choose a liability-only policy for the minimum mandated coverage or a more full-featured plan.
A liability-only policy only covers third-party costs resulting from accidents you cause. These policies pay for the medical bills if anyone gets injured in an accident that’s your fault. If the accident damages another driver’s car or property, such as fences or buildings, a liability-only policy also covers the cost of replacing or repairing these items.
Collision coverage includes liability coverage and coverage that pays for repairs to your vehicle if you’re involved in an accident that’s your fault. This accident may involve a stationary object, such as a tree, or another vehicle. Classic car collision coverage pays for the specialized repairs or restoration costs your classic car needs. If your vehicle gets damaged beyond repair, classic car collision coverage pays your car’s agreed replacement value.
As its name suggests, comprehensive insurance coverage for your classic car is a full-featured policy. Along with liability and collision coverage, it includes protection from factors outside your control. These policies cover you for the following:
- Accidents with animals
- Weather events
- Glass and windshield damage
As with standard car insurance, you can also choose optional extras to increase your coverage. Some extra coverage options include:
- Breakdown coverage
- Medical payments
- Uninsured and underinsured driver insurance
- Spare parts
- Traveling coverage
Qualifying for Classic Car Insurance
Different insurance carriers have their own eligibility requirements for classic car insurance policies. Here are some common eligibility criteria:
Classic Car Criteria
Most carriers consider a classic car to be one with historic interest that’s at least 25 years old. Some insurers will insure newer vehicles under their classic car policies if they have historic interest and are exotic, military vehicles, or replicas, such as modern Batmobiles.
Classic cars should also be in good condition and free of any damage. Some insurers ask for proof of regular vehicle maintenance to show a classic car received proper care.
Insurance companies only offer classic car insurance for on-road vehicles. If you take your vehicle off-road, you should choose a standard car insurance policy.
Good drivers are a lower risk to insurance companies, so many carriers have personal criteria their policyholders must satisfy. Carriers want to know they’re insuring people with a good driving record. Some insurers may ask for proof of a clean driving record over the last three to 10 years. Others may not insure classic car owners aged under 25, as they feel their inexperience on the roads puts them at greater risk of accidents.
Classic car insurance protects classic cars used for pleasure drives rather than commuting. Cars insured under a classic car policy often need a low annual mileage. Some insurers only insure classic cars used mostly for exhibitions and classic car club events. Other insurers are more lenient, allowing people who enjoy more frequent pleasure drives to take out their classic car policies. It’s not uncommon for insurers to ask people to show proof they own another vehicle for everyday use.
Secure storage minimizes the risk of damage to a classic car. Some insurers won’t insure classic cars that aren’t kept in fully enclosed, locked garages. Others discount policies for classic car owners who keep their cars securely garaged.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
Every state has its own penalty for drivers that don’t comply with its insurance or financial responsibility laws. These penalties vary, but may include:
- License suspension/revocation
- Vehicle impoundment
- Jail time
Getting insurance for your classic car is the best way to protect your investment, meet your legal obligations, and avoid paying big bills after at-fault accidents. Insurance policies and costs vary between providers, but a little research can help you find the right option for your classic car. Visit our homepage to easily compare your options for classic car insurance.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.