Classic & Vintage Car Insurance Explained

How to get the right cover for your cherished older motor.

If you’ve got a beloved older machine on your driveway – or, more appropriately, tucked away in a heated, dehumidified and securely locked garage – then you’ll be needing the proper car insurance to cover it. Here’s the lowdown on Classic and Vintage car insurance.

What is a classic car, and what’s a vintage car?

They’re old cars, is what they are, but the definitions can be a little bit fuzzy. At an absolute basic level, any vehicle older than 20 years old is a classic car, while vintage cars are typically denoted as being (mainly) from the interwar period, so from 1919 up to the mid-1930s. There is some debate as to whether a car needs to be collectible, as well as just two decades old, to make it a classic, but for the purposes of classic car insurance then it simply needs to qualify on age grounds.

What is Classic and Vintage car insurance?

It’s specialised insurance, normally from specialised companies and brokers, specifically tailored to classic-car owners and users. It makes some assumptions in order to offer lower premiums, the chief one being that if you have a cherished classic or vintage car, you won’t be doing many kilometres in them every year (this is certainly true of vintage cars, which probably only come out two or three times per annum). And our early facetiousness about where the car is stored is not entirely off the mark, as the providers of this type of insurance assume that the vehicle in question will be maintained to the highest possible standard by a fastidious owner, while it should be stored in a very secure location. This is why they’re great policies if you’ve got a 1960s motor that you lavish all your love and attention on, for example.

Is there anything to watch out for?

The main thing to note is that some policies cover the vehicle for its current market value, rather than for its value as a classic. The automotive industry is less sentimental about older cars than avid enthusiast owners, so sometimes a classic/vintage car can have a lower market value than it would be truly worth if it sold to another enthusiast of said vehicle. Therefore, look for ‘agreed value cover’, which is a term that means you can arrange with the provider to insure your classic/vintage car for its true value as a collectible, rather than at its market price.