Classic car insurance

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Should I get classic car insurance?

Last updated: 29 September 2020

A classic car is more than the sum of its parts. It could be a hobby, lovingly restored that you proudly display at classic car shows. Or it might just be an old banger. Either way, read on for tips on how to get cheaper cover for older cars.

There is nothing stopping drivers of older cars from getting standard car insurance. However, classic car insurance exists because there is more to a car than just its age.

Certain cars are worth more because they are relatively rare, even if their spec is not so different from other similar models of the same vintage. Speaking of vintage, a classic car over 40 years old is classed as a vintage or historic car, but more of that later.

When does a car become a classic car?

When you think of a classic car you probably picture an Aston Martin DB5, an original VW Beetle or a 1960s Porsche, but HMRC defines classic cars as any that are over 15 years old and worth more than £15,000.

That said, some insurers will define a car as a classic once it’s over 10 years old, regardless of value. So, it is possible you’ve been driving a classic car without even knowing it.

On this point, the older your car is, the more likely you will be to find classic car cover for your car.

Classic car insurance and tax

Although there is no definition for all classic cars, HMRC defines a company car as a classic car if it is worth more than £15,000, is older than 15 years old, and has a market value greater than its list price. In this case, it attracts beneficial tax rates for CO2 emissions.

UK motor tax laws define a vintage car as one that’s 40 or more years old. Private vehicles are exempt from paying vehicle tax if they were built before 1 January 40 or more years ago and are defined by HMRC as historic (classic) vehicles.

Even though a 40-year-old car will not be subject to road tax, you must still complete and submit a tax form. You won’t need to pay anything, unless your car is used commercially, for hire or reward, which includes serving as a taxi.

Classic cars and MOTs

Once your car reaches 40 years old, and is deemed a classic car you do not need to get a MOT. However, you must keep the car in a roadworthy condition. Fail to do so and you can be fined up to £2,500 and get three penalty points on your driving licence.

Also, HMRC states the MOT-exemption only applies if "no 'substantial changes' have been made to the vehicle in the last 30 years, for example replacing the chassis, body, axles or engine to change the way the vehicle works."

How old does a car have to be to get classic car insurance?

Despite the fact that HMRC insists a private car is 40 years old to be a historic (classic), insurers are free to award a car this status much earlier will treat a car just two years old as a classic for insurance.

Classic car insurance is a specialist area, so the more you know about your car’s history the better. If you have modified your car or have it restored in some way, you will need to let your insurer know otherwise you risk invalidating your cover.

What are the benefits of classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance is usually cheaper than standard car insurance because:

  • classic car insurance policies tend to cover vehicles aged 10 or more, with relatively low annual mileage

  • classic car insurance is more widely available to drivers over the age of 25, who are statistically less likely to make claims

  • standard car insurers will base their premiums on the current market value, not taking into account anything that makes your car stand out from the crowd, and therefore have a greater market value

It’s important to read the terms before deciding on an insurer, as your cover could be invalidated if you exceed any specified mileage limits.

Valuing your classic car

Now that you know you’ve got a classic car, it might also be worth reconsidering its value, especially if you’ve owned it for a long time.

Some older models have soared in value in recent years, such as older VW Golfs and Ford Fiestas. Make sure you give your insurer an accurate value, taking into account condition, original features, prestige and popularity.

How do I get cheaper classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance can be a little pricier than standard car insurance because it is tailored to your specific car, which would be expected to be worth more than the going rate for the same make and model of the same year. However, there are ways to keep costs down.

Getting a correct valuation

Your insurer can give you what is known as an ‘agreed valuation’. This means you are covered if you have a ‘total loss’.

You may want to have an independent classic car expert to carry out the valuation or to give a second opinion before you buy classic car insurance.

Keeping it in a secure place

Some classic car insurance providers will expect you to keep the car in a garage at the same postcode as your home, or at the very least on a private driveway.

Classic car insurance FAQs

The definition of a classic car for insurance purposes is varied, but it can be used to describe cars older than 15 years.

Yes, most insurers let you insure more than one vehicle at a time.

It varies depending on the insurer and the car you want to insure. To find the best priced policy, get quotes from as many insures as possible.

No, but you need to complete a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). Here is more information on SORN and car insurance.

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