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Classic car insurance

Classic car insurance is specifically for cars that fall into the classic bracket, and are typically driven for leisure purposes. We don't offer specialist insurance for classic cars, but you can still compare quotes from a range of insurers who offer standard car insurance. 

Although the policies can be similar in some ways, specialist classic car insurance often works out cheaper and covers for an agreed value, rather than the market value of the car. The prices we'll show you are based on the market value of the car, though some insurers may use the value you tell us when you get a quote. 

You may be able to include an agreed valuation on a standard car insurance policy that you find through us but you'll need to speak to the insurer once you've got a quote to do this.
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What is classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance is designed for older cars that are mainly used for leisure. Depending on your level of cover, it can protect your classic car against theft, vandalism, fire or if you're involved in an accident.

We don't offer specialist classic car insurance. So when you see your list of quotes, if you need specialist add-ons, check with the insurer directly first. Make sure you talk to the insurance provider for any clarification when you get your quote, and that the policy is right for your needs.

How does classic car insurance differ from standard car insurance?

There are a few things that make classic car insurance different from standard car insurance, including:

  • You may need to insure your car for an agreed valuation
  • Your policy may have an annual mileage cap
  • It may be cheaper than insuring a modern car
  • Specialist car insurance policies can have stricter terms and conditions

You may need to insure your car for an agreed valuation, rather than for its market value.  This is an amount your insurer agrees to pay if your car's written off in an accident. Check with the insurer that you can do this before you buy.

Your policy may have an annual mileage cap, so you can only drive a set number of miles a year, usually around 2500 miles. You might even have to send them annual mileage readings.

It may be cheaper than insuring a modern car because classic cars are generally reserved for recreational driving and are well looked after. Plus, their owners tend to drive fewer miles at lower speeds.

Specialist car insurance policies can have stricter terms and conditions to lower the chances of your car being damaged in an accident.

How do I get cheaper classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance tends to be cheaper than standard insurance policies. But there are some other things you can do to try and lower costs further:

  • Avoid modifications on your classic car. Anything you do to alter its risk of theft or its power could increase your costs.
  • Join a classic car club. You could benefit from insurance discounts by joining one, since members of owners' clubs tend to look after their car more.
  • Increase security for your classic car. Keep it in a locked garage overnight rather than your driveway.
  • Limit your mileage. Chances are you aren't doing many miles on it anyway, but driving fewer miles could help save you some money.
  • Shop around to make sure you get the best insurance deal.

What our car insurance expert says

Standard policies estimate the market value of your car, but they might not reflect the actual value of your classic car. If you want an agreed valuation for your car, speak with the insurer before you buy. An agreed valuation on your policy helps ensure you’re not left out of pocket if your car is damaged or stolen.

When does a car become a classic?

Generally, a car becomes a classic when it’s no longer in production and is considered a collectable. But, definitions of what a classic car is varies between different providers.

HMRC says that a car becomes a classic:

  • When it's 15 years old
  • And if it's worth over £15,000

From a tax perspective, a car becomes a 'historic vehicle' once it's over 40 years old and is exempt from paying car tax.

And for insurance companies, the definition is less clear cut. Depending on its style, rarity and desirability, a 'classic' car might actually only be 5 years old!

There's a little more consensus as to what counts as a vintage car. Generally, vintage cars are those made before 1931. These include Rolls Royce Phantoms and old-school Cadillacs.

You might find it difficult to compare vintage car insurance as, given the age of these cars and the cost to repair them, many car insurance companies don't offer cover.

Insurance provider Adrian Flux offers as a broader definition of what a classic car is, broken down into several categories covering 'classic', 'vintage' and more.

Need more help?

Can I get classic car insurance if my car has modifications?

Yes, you can get classic car insurance if your car has modifications. But the price of your policy might be higher than usual. Anything that increases your classic car's performance could mean a more expensive repair bill after an accident.

‘Substantial changes’ can also affect what you pay for your insurance. These are vehicle alterations that have changed the technical characteristics of the main features of your car. Things like replacing the chassis, body, axles or engine in a way that changes how the vehicle works are classed as substantial changes.

Like modifications, these changes have the potential to significantly increase your car insurance costs. If you're thinking about making changes to your classic car, talk to your insurer first.

If you’ve already made such changes, you’ll need to tell insurers when getting a quote. Failing to declare modifications or changes can invalidate your policy - so it’s important to be honest.

Are classic cars tax exempt?

Yes, classic cars don't have to pay for car tax.

If your vehicle was built before 1 January 1983, you can apply to stop paying for vehicle tax from 1 April 2023. You still need to go through the process to tax your vehicle, but you don't need to pay.

Don’t know when your vehicle was built? If it was first registered before 8 January 1983, you can still apply to stop paying vehicle tax.

Do classic cars need an MOT?

No, classic cars don't need to get an annual MOT.

Here the definition of 'classic' is more than 40 years old. If the vehicle was built or first registered more than 40 years ago and no ‘substantial changes’ have been made to it in the last 30 years, it doesn't need an MOT.

Can I get breakdown cover for my classic car?

Yes, you can get breakdown cover included or as an optional extra for your classic car. But it depends on the insurance provider as to how much extra this would cost, or if it's included in the policy price. If in doubt, always talk to the provider to check. When you get a quote, you'll see in the breakdown cover column whether it's included or an extra cost. You'll also see the additional cost where relevant.

There are normally different levels of breakdown cover available. But always read the policy terms or check with the provider what you're actually getting.

Depending on your level of cover, common benefits of breakdown cover include:

  • Home assistance that provides additional cover if your car won’t start, and you're near your home.
  • National recovery that covers your car if it breaks down away from home. If your car can’t be fixed locally, a recovery vehicle and team are sent out to help you.
  • European cover when driving in Europe with cover for up to 31 days a trip and 90 days a year in total. Just tell your insurer before you go in case anything happens. 

Can I get classic car insurance for young drivers?

Yes, you can get classic car insurance if you’re under 25. But there may be restrictions related to:

  • The type of car you drive
  • How and where you drive the car

Most under-25 classic car insurance providers agree to insure you only if you've had your driving licence for at least a year.

There are many things you can do to help you lower the cost of classic car insurance. You can:

  • Complete a Pass Plus driving course
  • Buy a used or older classic car
  • Avoid buying a car with modifications

Will my classic car insurance cover me for commuting?

Classic cars are usually viewed by insurance companies as for recreational use and not for commuting. Some policies also have a cap on annual mileage, for example, 2,500 miles per year.

There are policies that allow you to use your classic car for commuting but the price of your insurance is likely to go up. It's worth checking the price of a policy for commuting against social use only to see if it's worth upgrading your cover.

Is it worth joining a car club?

Classic car clubs could have several benefits for you:

  • Tapping into the experience of fellow members for expert advice
  • Potential discounts on services and related merchandise
  • Depending on the insurance provider, being a member of a classic car club could give you a discount on your policy
  • The joy of socialising with like-minded and passionate owners

You can find classic car owners' clubs at a local and national level, and you can be as involved as you want. If you're passionate about your classic car, it could be worth considering signing up.

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