Insurance for Your Classic Car

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Insuring a classic or antique vehicle is different from insuring an everyday automobile, mainly due to the way vehicle values either appreciate or depreciate over time. A standard vehicle depreciates from the moment you drive it off the lot. Classic and antique cars and trucks, though, usually appreciate with time, requiring coverage adjustments when this happens.

What is Agreed Value Insurance?

An agreed value insurance policy guarantees the amount of coverage for your vehicle from the date your insurer issued your policy. There are a number of reasons an agreed value policy is the best bet for classic, antique, and modified vehicles. First, the driver secures a professional appraisal of his or her vehicle, presenting it to the insurer as a trusted estimate of the vehicle’s value. Second, this type of policy guarantees that, in the event of a loss, the owner receives the full, agreed upon amount. This is due in part to the aforementioned fact that these types of vehicles do not depreciate. It is also why, if your car’s value appreciates, you want to alter your policy to reflect this.

Some consumers choose a classic or specialty automobile insurer, especially if they put relatively few miles on the vehicle each year. Ensuring the vehicle is well protected, typically in a secured garage, may also lower premiums.

What is the Difference Between Policies?

The vehicle you use for everyday driving – going to work, running errands – typically has actual cash value (ACV) coverage. In the event of a total loss, your insurance adjuster determines the vehicle’s worth at the time of the loss. After paying your deductible, you receive this amount from your insurer.

When adding a collector vehicle such as a classic or antique automobile to their policy, some customers choose stated amount coverage. Your insurer adds the vehicle to your policy with a stated value endorsement. However, this endorsement typically includes verbiage indicating the insurer will either pay the stated amount OR pay the actual cash value, whichever is less. This is true even if the agent requested documentation verifying the car’s value. In the event of a loss, the claims adjustor typically finds that the actual cash value is less than the stated amount. It is this lower amount the insurer pays, which is likely not the type of coverage you expected for your classic car.

When choosing agreed value coverage instead, you provide the necessary documentation, such as photos and appraisals, and the agreed value is listed. The loss settlement clause then guarantees that the insurer pays the agreed amount in the event of a total loss. For a classic or collector car, this choice is the clear winner.

Young couple happy with insured classic car

Does Your Vehicle Qualify for Classic Car Insurance?

Age alone does not qualify your vehicle for classic car insurance. Requirements vary, but typically include the following:

* Limited use, meaning the vehicle is not an “everyday use” vehicle. This may also include mileage limitations and proof of proper garaging.

* Some limited use provisions restrict car shows and meetings. Check that the insurer allows high mileage drives and what its travel restrictions are.

* Secure storage in a locked, enclosed, private structure. This may be a location such as a garage at your residence or a secure storage unit.

* Serious or repeat driving offenses may disqualify you from receiving classic auto insurance. These include reckless driving and DUI.

Like any other company, insurers do not all offer the same types of coverage for the same types of vehicles. Ask questions and read the fine print carefully.


Despite restrictions such as mileage limits, agreed value policies are nearly always the best choice when insuring classic and collectible cars. If you do suffer a total loss, there is no question about the reimbursement amount as there is in a stated value or actual cash value policy. Investigate potential insurers to find one that specializes in insuring classic and collectible vehicles.