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Classic car insurance

A classic at a classic
A classic at a classic
Ken Spears

Insurance is a necessary evil for anyone wishing to traverse the nation’s highways and byways. Though it can seem expensive and unnecessary all is not what it seems. The first time someone backs into your car door and leaves the scene without leaving a note may be the first time you realize how important that car insurance is. Not only for the damage to your vehicle but to your peace of mind. It is also a shield against any damages that you or your vehicle causes to other people or their property. Here in Massachusetts, as in many states, it can even replace your cracked windshield for free.

On a classic ride the odds of accident are greatly diminished (for most of us) because of the little use they see. Most antiques and classics travel less than one thousand miles per year and that tips the odds in their favor. Many insurance companies now offer some kind of classic vehicle program not only where the rate is reduced but the vehicle may be insured for a realistic value in case of loss. This value is usually related directly to a comprehensive vehicle appraisal.

Another option is the tertiary insurance companies where all they do are classic/antique vehicle insurance. These may be more user friendly and, overall, less expensive. Some rates can be in the $200/year area; for some of us that is one month’s payment on our regular cars. There are restrictions, of course, on where and when you can drive, how often you can drive and how many miles per year the car will accrue. All of these should be taken in consideration when deciding the value of the policy.

The very first place to begin is to have the vehicle appraised by a reputable appraiser. A completed appraisal should contain a complete top to bottom inspection with photos and notes about the specific vehicle as well as references to current market values. From there you can decide if you want to keep a “year round” status or a “limited use” status on the vehicle. Depending on your state and the car’s condition, you may even consider antique plates from the DMV. Check your state's policies on antique plates before obtaining them; usually there are even more strict limitations involved. Once the appraisal is complete, consult your current insurance company for rates and compare them to the specialists in the industry, a list can easily be found online.

Insurance is necessary but it doesn’t have to be evil. In fact, at the classic/antique rates insurance is downright cheap protection for your car and your peace of mind.