Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Apr 20, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • Standard auto insurance policies do not cover collector vehicles, specialized coverage is required
  • Unlike daily drivers, collector vehicles appreciate in value over time and the insurance coverage needs to account for this appreciation
  • Collector car insurance policies can place restrictions on when the car can be driven and how it is stored

The legal definition of a classic or collector car varies from state to state, and even auto aficionados do not always agree on this issue. In general, however, the industry defines a collector vehicle as any passenger auto, truck, or motorcycle that is rare or unique in some way. Usually, these are vintage vehicles that are 25 years old or more, but some newer vehicles may also fall into this category, especially if they have been customized.

A vehicle with historical significance is also considered a collector car. Even a vintage vehicle that is not running may have considerable value and therefore should have some type of classic car insurance coverage. Read on to learn about the best insurance for classic cars and collector cars.

What does classic car insurance cover?

A classic car insurance policy covers most of the same basics as does a daily driver policy, including:

  • Basic liability
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist
  • Personal injury protection, or PIP (for those residing in no-fault states)
  • Medical payments

In addition, you can purchase add-ons, such as roadside assistance and towing reimbursement.

The major differences between collector car insurance and standard auto coverage lie in collision and comprehensive coverage. Unlike daily drivers, placing a precise dollar value on a vintage or collectible vehicle is difficult. A daily driver’s value is determined by official sources, such as the Kelley Blue Book. Therefore, assigning a monetary value to a collector vehicle usually involves the services of a professional appraiser and the use of industry standards.

In the end, insurance rates for collector vehicles are based on whatever the owner and insurer agree upon. One major difference between collector cars and daily drivers is that the former appreciates in value over time. So you can expect that your rates will change when you renew the policy.

Classic car insurance companies also require that such vehicles be carefully stored and transported inside an enclosed trailer when taken to car shows, parades, or rallies.

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What are the best insurance options for classic cars?

Classic car insurance is a type of niche coverage, often provided by boutique or specialty insurers. Fortunately, most car insurance companies are highly competitive. You have choices that include traditional insurers as well.

Boutique Insurers

Here is a list of the best boutique classic car insurance companies:

  • Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. Headquartered in the U.K., Hagerty is well-regarded among collectors and classic car enthusiasts. Their DriveShare program covers owners when they are driving another person’s vehicle, and allows them to rent their cars to others.
  • American Collectors. Insurance rates include inflation protection, up to 6% annually, at no additional cost. This company offers several add-ons to cover towing, road service, and even theft.
  • American Modern.  In addition to classic, vintage, and collectors car insurance, American Modern also offers coverage for exotic vehicles, muscle cars and street rods, military vehicles, and kit cars.
  • Grundy Car Insurance. Because collector cars typically rise in value, Grundy offers a special program that allows an insured individual to get up to 150% of the vehicle’s agreed-upon value if it is totaled or stolen.
  • Heacock Classic. A relative newcomer to the classic car insurance market, Heacock offers an umbrella policy for entire collections, so this may be a good choice if you own several classic or vintage vehicles. Pay-by-the-mile coverage is also available.

In addition to these boutique insurers, there are several traditional car insurance companies that provide classic car insurance.

Traditional Insurers

Here are a few traditional car insurance companies that currently offer classic car insurance:

  • American National
  • Farmers
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Safeco
  • State Farm

If you insure other vehicles and/or carry homeowners insurance with any of these major companies, you may be able to get a better deal by bundling your policies.

Other Coverage Options for Your Classic Car

In addition, a number of large insurance companies that do not insure classic cars directly maintain partnerships with the aforementioned boutique insurers.

These include:

  • Allstate (through Hagerty)
  • GEICO (through American Modern)
  • The Hartford  (through American Modern and Hagerty)
  • Nationwide (through Hagerty)
  • Progressive (through Hagerty)

If you are on active duty with the U.S. military, you may also be able to get classic car coverage from American Collectors through the United Services Automobile Association (USAA).

How much does it cost to insure a classic car?

Classic car owners and collectors will be pleased to learn that vintage car insurance costs considerably less than covering a daily driver. For most collector cars, annual rates average between $200 and $600 per year. Coverage for an exceptionally high-value collector car can be more, but generally, insuring a classic collector vehicle costs an average of 40% less than covering a daily driver.

The primary reason that antique car insurance is so inexpensive is all the restrictions insurers place on the vehicle’s operation. In short, terms of a classic car insurance policy limits who can drive the vehicle, under what circumstances, and how many miles per year.

Some of the factors that affect classic car insurance rates:

  • Definition of a classic car. The Classic Car Club of America generally defines a “classic car” as one built between 1915 and 1948. However, there are exceptions. More recent models, such as muscle cars from the 1970s or other rare vehicles, may also fall into this category.
  • Driving record. As with regular car insurance, classic car insurance rates are based in part on the owner’s driving record, as well as those of all licensed drivers in the household. Only those listed on the policy are allowed to operate the vehicle.
  • Vehicle use. As noted before, classic car insurance companies limit the use of the vehicle to parades, car shows, and rallies. Some insurers, such as Hagerty, allow for occasional pleasure jaunts, as long as these do not exceed a certain number of miles.

One important factor affecting classic car insurance rates is safety equipment. Most older classics built before 1940 lack modern safety features. Seatbelts were not even legally required on production cars until the 1950s.

Most states require that a vintage car have only original equipment, and some car shows penalize vehicles that have such modifications. However, retrofitting a vintage car with safety belts and hydraulic brakes is often allowed, and will also lower insurance rates.

Purchasing Collector Car Insurance

Remember that insurance coverage for classic and vintage vehicles is very different from insuring a daily driver. Classic car insurance is significantly less expensive, but there are many more restrictions and requirements on how the car is stored, who is allowed to drive it, and under what circumstances.