For those who grew up in an era of V8 engines, exhaust rumble you can feel in your chest and aerodynamic bodies reminiscent of jet airplanes, it can sometimes be hard to get excited about the offerings found on car lots today. Undeniably, there’s a lot of cool tech in modern automobiles that can get you from A to B without even touching the wheel. But can it actually transport you — give you that ethereal experience of blasting down an open road on the way to nowhere that you get in a vintage 1970s drop-top Chevy Camaro at full throttle?
You see … classic cars are all about the feeling, not the features.
You may have a mental image of what you consider a “classic” car: Steve McQueen’s Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT 390 from the movie “Bullitt,” a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Phaeton, a 425-horsepower 1971 Corvette LS6 or a 1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible. Hopefully you have deep pockets, because the Bullitt car sold for $3.74 million, the Duesenberg for more than $5 million and even the Corvette, Firebird or a classic Camaro can approach — or exceed — $100,000.
But classics are also not just about the price. Original Volkswagen Beetles are now classics. So is the slow-but-sporty Karman Ghia. The Datsun 240-280-300 series cars are both classic and fast, but still comparatively easy on the wallet.
There’s no standard definition for a classic car, but generally, anything that’s over 20 years old with a fan following qualifies. Insurers sometimes break the field into three separate categories. Antique cars are more than 45 years old, vintage cars are 20 to 45 years old and classics are more than 20 years old. At this point, your 2000 Toyota Prius could be considered a classic.
Regardless of your preferred flavor of classic car, they all share one important characteristic: You’re going to want to insure them. And that’s where traditional auto insurance can sometimes fall short.
Insurance Needs of Classic Cars
For an older car with no particular collector value, a traditional policy may be adequate. But if your garage is harboring a real classic — a 1959 Austin-Healy Bugeye Sprite — you’ll want to seek out coverage that’s going to make sure you and your baby sleep a little more soundly at night.
Your We Insure agent can help you customize coverage that fits the way you drive your vintage ride, saving you money and worry. They’ll also talk to you about some special provisions specific to your unique ride:
• Agreed value coverage. In this case, you and the insurer set a fixed value for the car and — should the worst happen — ensure a set payment without any deduction for depreciation.
• Road rally rider. You can opt for STP (storage, transit and paddock) insurance, which will cover you before and after the race.
• Parts from the past. Look for a policy that specifies any repairs must be made with original parts; non-original replacements typically lower a classic’s value.
• Car show coverage. Protect your car should something unfortunate happen when you’re showing her off at the Concours d'Elegance (some policies have a “no attendance” clause).
• Foreign affairs. This is needed in case you want to take your car out of the U.S. to show or drive it.
We Insure works with many different top-rated insurers. Each has a different idea about the risks of classic car ownership and what they cover. Sit down with your local We Insure agent, bring some photos of your car and talk with them about how you store and use your vehicle, how often you drive it and how far. Then We Insure can sift through the options to find coverage that will fit your classic like a new set of custom seat covers.
The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations. We Insure makes no guarantees of results from the use of this information.