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Classic Car Insurance

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What is classic car insurance?

What makes a car a classic? It’s not easy to tell – or gauge. That’s because there’s actually no standard definition of a vintage motor. Having said that, many insurance companies will provide classic car insurance for a motor that is more than 15 years old.

Vehicles that are more than 30 years old on the other hand are described as being ‘of historic interest.’ This conclusion was arrived at jointly by The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs and the Department of Transport. Since May 2018 they have been exempt from road tax.

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Meanwhile, when taking out classic car insurance you may be pleasantly surprised to find that it may be far less than you imagined. That’s because classic car owners have a reputation for taking the utmost care of their vehicles and driving them only at special times i.e. Sundays, holidays and when the weather is fine.

The result is often very low mileage and an immaculate engine and body. And, in fact, some vintage motor insurers insist on a mileage limit per policy (to ensure the car isn’t being used as, for example, a vehicle for commuting to work). The typical mileage limit is between 5,000 to 10,000 a year which, considering a classic car is usually a second car and more of a hobby, tends to be acceptable for many vintage car owners.

The downside is that classic cars don’t have modern security. As a result, they are much easier to break into and steal than their more contemporary counterparts.

Another point to look out for is that because parts for vintage cars are often so difficult to obtain – usually because they’re no longer produced – mechanics are forced to use more modern parts. It’s crucial that drivers inform their insurance company of this and any other modifications to the car which are not factory-standard.

Actually, it’s worth noting that many classic car insurance policies also offer options such as European cover, legal options and breakdown cover.


Laid-up classic car cover

If you’re not using the car because it’s just sitting in the garage for months at a time, or if it’s being restored, then this is a less expensive form of classic car insurance. Legally every car needs to be insured at all times; the only exception is if the driver has filled out a Statutory Off Road Notice.

Agreed valuation and salvage retention cover

It’s difficult to tell the true value of a classic car. Replacement parts for vintage vehicles can be expensive; the older the car the rarer the parts, for instance. Agreed valuation cover will insure a car for its value as a classic motor, rather than its market value (which is much less).

Telematics insurance

This is a form of insurance which is often taken out by younger drivers in a bid to reduce their premiums. The cost of Telematics insurance is based on data recorded when the car is driven. It’s particularly good for drivers who do low mileage and never use the car using busy commuting times such as 8 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm.

Some insurance policies record the data via a black box while others use a mobile phone app (which is more suitable for a vintage motor).

Business car insurance

If your vintage motor is used as a wedding car or some other form of specialist transport then you’ll need to register its use as a commercial vehicle.


Just like regular car insurance, classic car insurance can also fall into the third-party category. The minimum requirement for all cars in the UK, third party insurance only pays out for damage to the other driver and their car in an accident.

Third-Party Fire and Theft

This is similar to the above Third Party insurance with the inclusion that your classic car will also be covered for theft or fire damage.


This is the most extensive type of car insurance and covers the driver for damage and injury to themselves as well as other drivers, fire and theft.

Tips on getting cheap classic car insurance

  • Laid-up classic car insurance can often result in cheaper cover.
  • Join a classic car club and you’ll find some insurers are prepared to cut premiums by as much as 15%.
  • Take (and pass) an Advanced Driving course.
  • Reduce your mileage and the cost of your insurance premiums at the same time.
  • Let your insurance company know if you have another car you use as your main vehicle.
  • Wait until you’re over 25 years of age.
  • You can reduce your premiums by ensuring that your classic car is stored safely overnight in a locked garage, rather than sitting on a public road outside your house, or even in your driveway.
  • When insuring a classic car, you’re as well to think about its overall value rather than just the market rate highlighted in the catalogue.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I accidentally go over my mileage limit?

Inform your insurance company as soon as you possibly can. If it’s not possible to increase your mileage then you can always cancel your current policy and take out another.

Can I use my current no claims bonus?

It depends on your policy. Most class car insurance companies don’t allow you to transfer a no-claims bonus. However, you could use it if you were taking out a standard car insurance policy for your vintage motor.

Is it a legal requirement to take out class car insurance?

No, but it’s usually the most sensible option for a vintage vehicle owner. That’s because it’s the most suitable as well as typically less expensive than standard insurance.

What does it mean if my classic car is described as ‘a total loss’?

This means that the vehicle is unsafe, impossible and/or too expensive to repair.

Will classic car insurance cover me for road rallies and trials on public roads?

Not necessarily. That’s why it’s always good to read the small print!

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