There’s no standard definition of a classic car — this varies between different insurers
Cheap premiums can often be found for classic vehicles as owners are considered low risk
Gocompare.com can offer options for most cars, but particularly unusual vehicles or usage may require a specialist insurance provider
Classic car owners are often devoted to their vehicles and will want to find the right car insurance to protect their pride and joy.
To help you we quickly search multiple insurance brands, both classic car specialists and mainstream providers.
Definition of a classic car
Any car over 15 years old can be considered a classic for insurance purposes — the definition is at the discretion of the insurer.
The good news for owners is that prices for classic car insurance policies can be very competitive — many insurers believe that such vehicles have a good chance of being well maintained by caring drivers, who may keep to a low mileage.
The right vintage car may also be one of the more affordable options for young and newly qualified drivers seeking insurance.
Restrictions on classic car use
While there are many advantages to insuring a classic car rather than a more modern vehicle, you need to read your policy with care to ensure it’s suitable for your needs.
For example, some dedicated classic insurers may place strict restrictions on annual mileage with the assumption that the vehicle is used for enjoyment on high days and holidays. If your classic car is used on the daily commute, ensure you can stick to any mileage limit or other defined terms. A car parked on a driveway in front of a house
Telematics insurance for classic cars
Another option that may be worth considering is telematics. This can benefit any safe, attentive motorist as it bases your insurance on actual data from the way you operate your vehicle.
Individual circumstances and policies will vary but, for example, a classic car driver who does a small mileage and doesn’t drive at peak times may find a telematics deal an attractive option.
Some telematics policies work by having a ‘black box’ fitted to send data to an insurer and it’s possible that certain classic vehicles may not be suitable for this, but other telematics options operate through a mobile phone app so your vehicle won’t have to be touched.
If you search for classic car insurance through Gocompare.com, on our results table you’ll see telematics deals labelled and listed alongside more traditional policies, giving you the opportunity to compare and contrast the options.
Agreed valuation and salvage retention
The true value of a classic vehicle can be difficult to establish if it needs to be repaired. It’s possible, for example, that replacement parts for an older vehicle will be expensive or difficult to come by, making repair prices high.
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What’s more, the tender loving care that’s gone into restoring or maintaining a vehicle can be hard to quantify, as can the difficulty of finding a replacement.
With this in mind, you may want to ensure that you get an agreed valuation in place for your car rather than relying on market price, and some insurers will be able to offer this.
What’s more, they may be able to help with salvage retention. In the unfortunate event that your vehicle is declared a cosmetic write-off — meaning its repair would cost more than a new car — salvage retention would give you the right to buy it back.
Classic car security
Desirable vintage cars can be attractive to thieves and they may not have the same sophisticated security systems as more modern vehicles.
Did you know…?
If your car was made before 1960 it doesn’t need to be MOT tested — but your insurer may require proof it’s roadworthy
If your car was registered before 1974 you don’t have to pay road tax
From 1 April 2017, legislation changes will make more classic cars exempt from road tax. Annually on 1 April, vehicles constructed more than 40 years before the 1 January of that year will automatically be exempt
Some insurers may insist that your vehicle is garaged overnight, or that it’s fitted with enhanced security systems.
Fitting an alarm, tracker, or another sort of security device is always worth considering as a way of protecting your beloved machine, and it may help cut the cost of cover.
Bear in mind, though, that any insurance discount will not necessarily cover the outlay on the device — read our article on car security and insurance for more information.
Modifications and classic car insurance
Security aside, any modification to a classic car may well result in less insurers being prepared to quote for you and/or a rise in premiums.
The key point is to ensure you inform your insurer of any change to the factory-standard specification — if you don’t, you may invalidate your cover.
This can be an especially important area to consider with classic cars because it’s possible that original parts are no longer available and that you’ve had to implement a work-around. Car insurance groups
To find out more, read our modified car insurance page.
Laid-up classic car cover
When insuring a classic car, remember that you’ll need year-round cover for your vehicle, even if you only use it in the summer. The Continuous Insurance Enforcement law demands this, unless you’ve filled out a Statutory Off Road Notice.
However, if it suits your needs you may be able to arrange laid-up cover. This could reduce your premium in return for agreed periods when the vehicle is being restored or kept in a garage.
Specialist use of classic cars
Many classic cars are used for special occasions. This may be because of their appeal and attractiveness — being hired out as a wedding car is one typical example.
Remember that a standard car insurance policy is unlikely to cover you in such circumstances. Again, make sure you inform your policy provider — you can read more in our guide to insuring a car for work use.
From Covered mag:
Classic car buying guide
Hiring and driving classic cars
Other owners may enjoy taking part in public road rallies or trials. Don’t assume that your policy covers such activities — read the terms and conditions, or speak to your insurer.
Classic car clubs
If you’re a member of a classic car club it’s possible that some insurers will offer you a discount when arranging cover for your vehicle.
Such clubs can also be a good way of finding specialist insurers for your vintage vehicle, but it’s always worth comparing the prices and product features on offer against other options on the market by using a comparison site such as Gocompare.com.
Vintage and classic cars are more than just vehicles – they are a hobby, a passion, a treasure, which is why they often need specialised classic car insurance policies to protect them against damage and the increased risk of theft.
If your car is deemed a classic then you can often receive reductions in your policy price as:
The insurer generally presumes you will be doing less mileage in the car (though you will need to confirm this when you apply).
Most people who drive a classic car take care of it and maintain it to a higher standard. They may also store it in a secure location (again you will need to confirm this).
It’s important to note that quotes you get from insurers through Confused.com will offer standard cover for the car at its current market value (which may be a lot less than its value as a classic), however some of the insurers we compare, do offer specialised classic car policies that cover the car for their true value as a classic (also known as agreed value cover).
If it is agreed value cover you’re after, once you’ve got a quote, speak to your chosen insurer to see if you can add it to your policy. Adding agreed value cover to a policy could increase your premium and may incur additional charges, but can offer a level of cover tailored specifically for your car.
Depending on the insurer, you may also be offered the following additional cover options:
Laid up cover (for when your vehicle is off the road)
Limited mileage discounts
If you’re under any doubt, make sure to check the small print, including the cover value of your policy before you buy.
What counts as a classic car?
All pre-1960 cars are exempt from road tax, but many other factors are taken into account when determining if a car is a ‘classic’ – not just its age.
In the UK, there is no fixed age group that a classic car must fit into. For insurance purposes a classic car can be any car that is older than 15 years.
These are often known as modern classics, and can be considered as a classic car despite their age, e.g. a 1989 Volkswagen Golf GTI.
It’s up to the insurer whether they class the car as a classic, which is why it’s always good to compare a range of providers and prices.
There has been a long running debate on what qualifies a car as a classic, with many feeling that age alone is not enough. The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs has outlined new guidance from the Department of Transport stating that a vehicle will be deemed historic with a 30 year threshold.