Buying car insurance is a daunting task, but if you are buying classic cars with the intention of driving them on the road, then it can be even more challenging. You may not know what to look for or how to get the best deal. If this sounds like you, read on! We have compiled 11 things that you need to know before buying classic car insurance so that your search will be quick and easy.
1. The two main types of classic car insurance
The first decision that needs to be made is what type of policy you want. There are two main choices: comprehensive, sometimes called third-party only, and third-party, fire & theft (TPFT). Not all insurance companies offer both options so this will need to be decided before making enquiries.
2. Comparing the two types of policies side by side
Comprehensive policies offer a number of benefits that can make it an attractive choice for classic car owners:
- May cover cars that are driven less than 1000 miles per year, if they are garaged at home
- Some insurers will allow you to add modifications without invalidating the policy
- May offer a courtesy car while your own vehicle is off the road due to an accident or theft.
These policies are more expensive than TPFT, though you should be able to get insurance quotes fairly easily. It is also possible to cover multiple vehicles under the same comprehensive policy for convenience.
TPFT policies are often slightly cheaper than comprehensive, though not always. With this type of policy you are covered for fire damage, theft and third-party claims while the car is being driven by someone over 25 years old with a full driving licence.
3. Third party-only policies
There are some drivers who only want to have the absolute minimum level of insurance so that they are covered in the event of damage to someone else’s vehicle. This kind of policy is known as third-party or third-party only (TPO) and it means that you are not covered for any damage done to your car by yourself or other drivers. Unlike comprehensive insurance, theft is not included under this type of cover either, though an option exists to buy insurance for the car while it is off road.
4. Comparing different insurers’ quotes
As with any kind of insurance, finding an insurer who offers good value for money can be difficult, but there are some things that you should do before comparing classic car insurance quotes:
- Think about how much you want to spend on your cover
- Decide whether you want a full comprehensive policy or just third party
- Consider how much you have spent on modifications.
A number of factors come into play with insurance quotes and it is important to remember that the cheapest quote may not be the best one for you. You may want a higher level of cover than the price you are quoted indicates.
5. Making sure that your modifications won’t invalidate your policy
One of the main benefits offered by some classic car insurance policies is that they allow you to make certain modifications, such as alloy wheels or engine swaps, without affecting the cover you receive. You may also be able to include accessories or additional equipment on a policy, such as a sat-nav. You need to confirm with your insurer that these modifications will be allowed under the policy you choose.
6. Getting an accurate valuation of the car
In order for any insurance company to offer you a full comprehensive cover, they first have to value your vehicle. In most cases this is done by looking up the vehicle’s specifications and seeing what price it sold for in its most recent sale. This figure is not always accurate and there are ways you can improve your chances of getting a high valuation:
- Collect old MOT certificates and other documents that show how well the car has been maintained
- Use the DVLA database to get an estimate of the car’s value. The DVLA site has a section which allows you to find out how much classic cars are currently worth
- UK Trade & Retail website allows you to search for the selling prices of particular models around the world, though this can sometimes be outdated or wrong
This information is not always available so it may be difficult to provide evidence of the true worth of your vehicle when getting your valuation.
7. Not all crashes are covered by insurance
Most policies will cover damage to your own car in the case of an accident, but it is important to check whether or not you will be covered for any damage done to other vehicles if you are involved in an incident with them. You may also need to check whether any injuries sustained by other people will be covered as well as damage done.
8. Being aware of the different excess levels
The excess is the amount you have to pay towards a claim for an accident or theft. Some insurers allow you to choose between three different types of excess:
- Fixed – the same amount every time
- Variable – where the excess will increase if you make several claims in a short space of time
- No Excess – this means that policy owners pay for everything, even third party claims. The premiums for this type of policy are very high and only recommended for people who do not want to make any claims at all.
9. Getting a quote for a restored car
Some insurers offer specialised policies for older or restored cars that have been comprehensively checked and verified by an expert to ensure they are in good condition. It is important to get a quote from the insurer so you can check what excess, if any, will be payable under this kind of policy.
10. Choosing the right level of cover
When you are insured for damage done to your own car, there are two options:
- Damage to your car with fire and theft included (brand new cars only)
- Damage to your car without fire and theft coverage or third party insurance included (any vehicle can be covered)
This means you will have to pay the excess if your car is damaged in an incident, but you will not have to pay if it is stolen. This level of cover may be cheaper than having both fire and theft included with third party insurance.
11. Paying a higher premium for peace of mind
If you are stressed about making a claim and want to ensure you can do so with no fuss in the event of an incident, it may be worth paying a higher premium. It is also important to remember that if your car is not declared stolen but has actually been taken and not recovered by the thief, many insurers will only pay out 75 percent of the market value for a claim.
As You Can See
I hope this list of 11 things you need to know before buying classic car insurance has given you some insight into the different types of coverage that are available for your vehicle. The more research and information you have, the better decision you can make about what type of policy is best suited for your needs. If there’s anything else we didn’t cover here or any questions after reading our list, please comment below!