Classic car insurance is one of the greatest parts of owning an older vehicle. It offers you specific protection for your exact vehicle rather than grouping it in as a generic model. Perhaps the best part though is how much it costs.
In general, classic car insurance costs a lot less than a regular insurance policy. It’s often 50% of the normal cost and sometimes even cheaper than that. The reason is that insurance companies see classic cars as a much lower risk.
What classic car insurance costs: a real-world study:
In preparation for writing this article, I contacted a few insurance companies for quotes using my own personal Toyota MR2 as an example. I received ballpark estimates from Haggerty, Rates.ca, Vintage Auto Insurance, and Zehr Insurance Brokers. I’ll also share what I currently pay with Intact Insurance.
A few facts to put these numbers in perspective. I live in Ontario, Canada and have been driving for 18 years with a squeaky clean record. The car is a heavily modified 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo with an appraised value of $27,685. You can find all the details of that car here: Here are the numbers:
|Insurance Company||Price Per Month (Quote)|
|Vintage Auto Insurance||$34|
|Zehr Auto Insurance||$23|
|Intact (what I actually pay)||$32|
As you can see, Haggerty comes out as the most expensive option, although probably the most popular one. Nearly everyone has heard of Haggerty Insurance thanks to their advertising/sponsorship at the Barret Jackson collector car auctions.
It’s worth noting that insuring your car with Haggerty comes with a few perks. One of the things they are proud of is the fact that they understand that cars (even classics) are meant to be driven. They promote their Freedom to Enjoy Your Classic feature that allows you to use your car without the feeling of being held captive.
Another thing to mention is that Haggerty’s price includes the $55 per year fee for their membership program. This roadside assistance program offers:
- Guaranteed flatbed towing
- Boosting your dead battery
- Assisting when locking your keys inside
- Other automotive discounts
- Members-only events
- Haggerty magazine subscription
- Currently a 1 year subscription to MotorTrend’s online streaming service
So yes, they’re on the higher end of the price range but they also offer some extra features. For some people, these things will be really helpful, while others may want to go with one of the other options.
The number from Intact is what I currently pay for insurance on my MR2. This is not a fluke – I’ve been paying this consistently for years with no problems or issues whatsoever.
In comparison, I used to pay more than 4x this amount when my car was insured on a regular policy. At that point, it also had a replacement value of a mere $3,000. That’s a far cry from the appraised value of $27,685 that it’s currently covered for!
Requirements for classic car insurance
The rules and qualifications for insuring your car as a classic will vary based on the company you’re working with and where you live. Here in Ontario, most companies will consider a vehicle over 15 years old a classic. In other areas, the age limit is higher at 20 or even 25 years old. Sometimes they’ll allow newer vehicles if they can be proven to be special interest or limited production.
There are a few other things that can decide whether your car is eligible for classic insurance:
- You have a minimum of 10 years driving experience
- You own another vehicle for daily use
- You have a relatively clean driving record
- The car is stored safely indoors
- The mileage the car is driven every year is limited
- A vehicle appraisal may be required and may also need to be updated periodically
- Some modifications may not be allowed (Nitrous, roll cages, etc.)
There could be other requirements that are important to your insurance company so make sure you talk with them about your specific vehicle. Remember that failure to disclose information can result in your policy being canceled or a claim being denied (that can get really expensive, really quick).
Benefits of classic car insurance
Insuring your vehicle as a classic has some great benefits. It’s actually a pretty easy choice, as long as you can meet the eligibility restrictions mentioned above. Aside from the potential for limited usage (depending on the company), there are really no other downsides.
Your car is insured properly
Most typical insurance companies won’t understand what your collector car is really worth. They don’t seem to look much further than the model year and manufacturer. This is why they assumed my MR2 was worth $3,000 – just days after I had paid $18,000 for it!
Classic car insurance usually requires a vehicle appraisal. This might seem like a nuisance because you’ll have to track down an appraiser and pay to have it done, but it’s actually a good thing.
The appraiser’s job is to analyze your entire car in terms of condition and modifications, then research the market for cars just like yours to decide what it’s worth. This takes a lot of time and effort – both of which a regular insurance company isn’t willing to do.
Another reason the appraisal is so helpful is that it documents any modifications done to the car in a way that the insurance company will be content with. They’ll list anything that has been customized and provide photos for the company to see. Anyone that has owned a modified car knows how picky an insurance company can be about this, especially if they find out the wrong way.
Classic car insurance gives you peace of mind in knowing that the insurance company is aware of every nut and bolt on your car. There doesn’t need to be any secrets and they’ll take a 3rd party’s word on what your car is truly worth. No surprises when it’s time to make a claim.
You’ll pay a lot less
At one point, due to the heavy modifications to my MR2, I was paying around $250 per month for insurance. That was with a crystal clear driving record too. Now, when insured as a classic, I pay a whopping $32 per month. Same car, same driver – nothing else has changed.
Why is classic car insurance so cheap?
You’d expect fancy vehicle-specific coverage to cost more money but you’d be wrong. The insurance companies see classic cars as a much lower risk than normal ones. The restrictions that they put in place in terms of storage and limited mileage certainly help.
The fact is, the odds of something bad happening to a collector car are much lower. As gearheads, we’re known for taking exceptional care of our pride and joy. That includes staying up on maintenance, driving them carefully, and sometimes not even letting them out of our sight.
We protect these cars because they mean more to us than the average minivan – and luckily, insurance companies recognize this.
A collector car isn’t likely to be sitting in a dark carpool lot for 20 hours. It isn’t driven in horrible blizzards on the way to work every day in the winter. Hopefully, it isn’t the victim of multiple fender benders too often either. Those are things that happen to daily drivers which is why it’s important for insurance companies to know that you have another vehicle to be treated that way.
When a classic car is used mainly for pleasure, the chances of something bad happening to it drop drastically. For once, we’re being rewarded for being car guys/gals. We’re on the opposite side of the scale from the repeat drunk drivers that are likely to require multiple expensive payouts.
In this case, we aren’t the trouble makers. We’re just the folks that are cruising around late at night with our arm out the window to meet for coffee with our buddies. I’m glad that some of these companies understand that.
Tim is the creator of Canadian Gearhead. His experience with auto detailing and working for Toyota shows through all of the articles posted here. He runs the Canadian Gearhead site and YouTube channel full-time now and currently owns a 2007 4runner, 2006 Tacoma, and 1991 MR2. Read more about Tim: