How to get specialist insurance for your classic car

old classic carWith car tech becoming smarter by the day, autonomous driving now a reality and ethical living motivating people to embrace alternative modes of transport, why own a classic car?

Ask the owner of an iconic Morris Minor, a classic Mini (even if it's not the Radford-modified example originally owned by Paul McCartney, that recently sold for more than £182,000), a head turning Lancia Delta beauty or an 80s classic like a Peugeot 205 GTI or even a Golf MKII. 

Ask anyone who attends Goodwood Revival, Silverstone Classic or takes part in the London to Brighton Car Veteran race. 

Ask the thousands of visitors heading for the London Classic Car Show every February. 

Owning a classic car is owning a bit of bygone history and lifestyle. Some say it also takes your brain back to a time where life (and mechanical design) was simpler. When 'social media' meant "winding down your windows (by hand) and talking to real people" (We borrowed this one from GQ because it was simply so good). Owning a classic car can help you make new friends too. Other car enthusiasts who share your passion meet at classic car events around the country. You could even conciliate the old and the new, converting your beloved classic car into an EV vehicle so you can drive around with zero guilt about damaging the environment. 

You're likely to have lots of questions if you're about to become a classic car owner (especially if it's your first one). Amongst those, how should you insure it. Do you insure a classic car like a regular car or not? 

Here are the answers to 8 frequent questions. 

In this article:

Do you need specialist car insurance for a classic car?

How do you know a car is considered a classic car?

How many miles can you drive each year for insurance purpose with a classic car?

How do you get an imported or modified classic car valued for insurance?

Where do you get classic car insurance in the UK?

What does classic car insurance cover?

Is classic car insurance cheaper?

Classic car insurance reviews

Do you need specialist car insurance for a classic car?

As the Churchill Insurance dog would say "ohhhhhhh yes". For a start, classic cars often keep their value or appreciate in value (as opposed to standard cars which depreciate each year). Valuing a classic car and insuring it for the right amount is a job that requires knowledge and expertise most of the standard car insurers will not have. Regular car insurers either provide cover on a new for old or market value basis and that's that.

Also keep in mind that often, classic cars cannot be replaced like for like. 

finally, their value is also made from more elements than just the market value. For example, if it had a famous owner, or appeared in an iconic movie, it might be worth a lot more. It could also be that it was a limited version of a more popular car, designed for a very specific use. Like the custom built Land Rover Defender sold to Sandringham - which later sold at auctions at Brooklands car auctions for £30,240. 

Did you know? The first Land Rovers were built with a steering wheel in the middle, therefore avoiding the need to build 2 versions for the left and right-hand drive markets

Rarity can take many routes. A Renault 4 in good condition can be found for sale online now for over £5,000 and even north of £10,000 - even though over eight million rolled off the production line between 1961 and 1992, as only around 500 have survived in the UK. You can read more about when is best to buy a collector's car in this great article from Knight Frank.

You might also need to wait for a few years to see how the value of your classic car "matures". Check out the trend on a BMW Z3 over the past few years, according the expert valuer The Market:

Appreciation of BMW z3 value according to The Market

How do you know a car is a classic car (what are the rules and criteria)?

From an insurance point of view, the rules can differ from an insurer to another. 

AGE: Generally a car is considered a classic when it's 15 years old at least, although some limited production models can be included as soon as they are 10 year old. 

MILEAGE: Annual mileage is less than 5,000 miles

USAGE: To be used as a second car


Would you like to have a little car trivia fun? Check out the coolest car from the year you were born

How many miles can you drive each year? 

Often with a collectors car, your mileage will be capped - around 2,500 miles per year. Plenty enough if you're only taking the car out for weekend outings or to go to shows and local events. If you intend to showcase your prized possession further and more often, investing in a flat bed car transporter trailer might be a good option. 

what car insurance do you need for a class Porsche 911

How do you value original, modified and modern classic cars?

Here are a few places to get you started:

For a start you can go on auction sites like eBay for a quick browse 

On specialist sites like Patina Market Place you can check how much cars are listed for sale for. Contact them with your car details for a more precise evaluation. 

Hagerty Classic Car Insurance website includes a nifty instant Classic car valuation tool.

DID YOU KNOW? If you'd like to not only check the value of a classic car you own or are thinking of buying, but how it might fluctuate in the future, Patina Market Trends service is free, simple and quick to use and will show you price trends over the past 4 years. 

Where do you get classic car insurance in the UK?

Mainline car insurance brands don't tend to offer classic car insurance, so you'll have to get in touch with a specialist. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Adrian Flux Classic car insurance - A larger insurance company that offers many types of car and non motor insurance products. 
  • Hagerty International  - Hagerty only offer motor insurance (for classic cars, classic motorbikes and very specialised related products like transit insurance). They have resisted the urge to expand in other unrelated products like household or travel insurance. They have a partnership with Aviva to offer insurance to their customers for classic and vintage cars. 
  • Lancaster insurance - Offer a wider range of products, including insurance for 4x4s,  buggies, military vehicles, Land Rover, modified classic cars and kit cars amongst others. They also organise the Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham. 
  • Footman James - Founded in 1983, they are now part of the wider Towergate Group. They offer a wide range of classic car insurance products, including cover for competition cars.
  • Cherished - Aside from classic Classic car insurance, you can get cover for a vintage tractor or a Land Rover used on a smallholding here. 
  • Heritage Classic Car Insurance - The classic car insurance branch of Norton Insurance Brokers. Family owned and run, who have insured over 28,000 customers during their 50 years in business. Read the full story of their insurance business here.
  • Abbeyfields UK - A collective of specialist classic car insurance brokers who also offer non motor insurance products.
  • Classic Insurance Services - They specialise in insuring Motor Trade businesses but also have private collectors, insuring car collections ranging from "a handful to multi million pounds worth". 

What does classic car insurance cover

A good classic car insurance policy should offer you general cover for accidents, theft and damage, like your regular car insurance. But it should also understand the difference in risks, from an insurance point of view, including the facts that:

  • Your classic car is an investment- It will likely retain its value (and even increase) so that value should be protected if you have to make a claim
  • Your annual mileage is likely to be a lower - Compared with your standard every day car. It's also likely that you don't drive it as much for commuting, in rush hour traffic. All aspects that can increase risk and make your regular car insurance go up.
  • You might take your car to classic and specialist events - Car owner club meetings, classic car events, track days. Your insurance should cover both your car and you for those. 
  • You might want to keep the parts  - Should the worse happen, you might decide to keep spare parts for salvage/future projects or just for sentimental value!
  • You might need or want to modify your car  - It's to be expected on an older, vintage motor. But standard car insurances don't often cover this.

Is classic car insurance cheaper

Insurance prices are based on risks. 

By definition, the risk on most classic cars should be lower than when you drive your standard car (less miles per year, likely to be off-peak, older age drivers...).

Classic car owners also tend to look after their beloved motors with great care, and possibly greater care than they give to a standard car. 

Also, many of the classic car owners clubs have partnerships with specialist insurers and are able to give you a discount through your membership. 

Just remember that with any insurance, price is not everything. Cover and quality of service and support at the point of claim are as (if not more) important. 

Classic car insurance reviews

Before choosing your classic car insurance, it's advisable to compare a list of insurers on:

Price point

Cover details 

Claim handling rating

Check the leader board of motor insurers ranked by their claim rating score here.

We hope you now feel a little wiser about some of aspects around owning a classic car. If you're pondering whether to invest in one, what you should go for as the shrewdest investment, what you might like and what you can afford, why not head over to one of the iconic classic car shows happening in the UK (it's got to be said, GreaseMonkeyDirect has done the most awesome job of rounding up). It's a great way to get started, get into the spirit of collection car ownership and it allows you to tick a lot of research in one go.

Tell us: What classic car would you love to buy? Share your wish list in a comment below.

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