If you own a classic car, it qualifies for a special type of insurance that differs from the one on your everyday automobile. But before you buy a policy, you need to know a few key things that can affect your premium, how you protect your car, or if you can get coverage at all. Here are five questions to ask before making a final decision with your agent.
Is Your Car A True Classic?
The laws on this vary from state to state, but you definitely want to confirm whether or not you own a classic car, at least in the eyes of the insurer. Unless your car is classified as rare or exotic, it must be at least 15 years old. And in some states, nothing younger than twenty-five qualifies as a classic. If your car is one of the following three, it very well could meet the criteria:
- Veteran Car—manufactured no later than December 1904.
- Edwardian Car—made January 1905-December 1918.
- Limited Car—special interest, rare, or limited edition.
Talk with your insurance agent or check with your local DMV to see how your car makes the cut.
How Much Will You Drive It?
This is just one of several ways that your classic car insurance will differ from your regular policy.
Because insurers make the assumption that your beloved beauty is mostly there for visual admiration and not to get you from point A to point B on a daily basis, they will put a cap on the number of miles you can travel each year. This limit is usually in the 5,000-mile range, but some policies will allow you ample mileage for traveling and road shows. If you find that the limit is overly restrictive, talk with your agent about increasing the miles or changing your policy to a standard one. Just keep in mind that both might increase your rates, and the latter won't afford you the same level of protection as discussed in the next section.
What Is The Car Worth?
Before picking an adequate policy that will determine your coverage as well as your monthly rates, you and your agent will need to come up with an agreed value for the vehicle. This number essentially comes from receipts, repair and maintenance logs, pictures, and other forms of documentation that can help assess the value. This benefits you greatly because if something were to happen to the vehicle, you get a check from the insurer for that value.
With most policies on modern cars, you get what's called the actual cash value of the car. So if you're in an accident, and your car is totaled, the adjuster inspects the car, maybe consulting the Kelley Blue Book or some other source afterwards, and from there makes a determination of how much you should get paid for your loss. This amount is likely to be less than what you paid, and it could be less than what you owe if the car is still being financed.
Be sure your policy comes with an Agreed Value coverage.
Will You Winterize Your Vehicle?
You may live in a part of the country where driving that classic car during the winter isn't feasible. Slick roadways are more likely to cause accidents, and salt-covered streets will wreak havoc on that paint job. If that's the case, you'll want to let your agent know that you plan to winterize your classic car.
This can be done at your residence or at a storage facility, but no matter what, it should be somewhere that's both dry and secured with locks. This can help keep your premium costs down.
Where Is Your Car Stored When It Is Off Road?
Undoubtedly, your insurance agent will ask where you keep your classic car when you're not driving it.
The best advice is to keep it out of the driveway and out of sight. Because you're getting a different level of protection than what you get with a standard policy, as well as a better guarantee that you'll have the agreed value should something happen to your prized possession, the insurer wants a similar guarantee from you that you'll do everything you can to protect your car from storm damage as well as theft.
Most policies will require you to keep the car locked up, either in your garage or in a storage facility, when it's not being driven. An agent, such as those at Family Insurance Centers, should be able to explain what qualifies as acceptable when it comes to keeping your classic car under lock and key.