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Classic car insurance

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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 the level of cover you choose, it can protect your classic car against theft, vandalism, fire or if you're involved in an accident.

We do not offer specialist classic car insurance, so when your quotes and prices are returned, if you need specialist add-ons or terms, check with the provider directly as there could be limitations. Make sure you talk to the insurance provider for any clarification when you get your quote, and that the cover is right for your needs.

How does classic car insurance differ from standard car insurance?

  • You might sometimes find it cheaper to insure a classic car versus a more modern car. This is because classic cars are usually well looked after and their owners tend to cover fewer miles at lower speeds. While most cars are used for everyday purposes, such as commuting or daily shopping, classic cars are usually reserved for recreational driving.
  • Specialist car insurance policies usually have stricter terms and conditions to lower the chances of your car being damaged in an accident. Please note, Confused.com do not offer specialist classic car insurance policies be sure to check all the terms and conditions if you buy car insurance through us to ensure it meets your needs

Remember, the cheapest policy isn’t necessarily the best and might come with hidden restrictions.

For example, there may be an annual mileage cap associated with your policy – so you'd only be able to clock up a set number of miles in a year. Many insurance companies limit owners to driving their car to around 2,500 miles per year. Many even require annual odometer readings.

Before taking out a classic car insurance policy, check you can insure your classic car for an agreed valuation rather than its market value. An agreed valuation is the amount your insurer agrees to pay if your car is written off after a crash.

When does a car become a classic?

A car becomes a classic when it’s no longer in production and is considered a collectable. However, 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
  • 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!

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.

How old is a vintage car?

There's a little more consensus as to what counts as a vintage car. Generally, vintage cars are those made before 1930. These would be your Rolls Royce Phantoms or an old-school Cadillac.

You might find that vintage cars are rarely driven due to their age and value. And any damage might be expensive to repair owing to needing specialist parts and techniques.

Can I compare vintage car insurance?

You might find it difficult to compare vintage car insurance. Given the age of these cars, many car insurance companies might not offer cover.

If you're looking to insure a car from the 1930s and before, you might need to contact a specialist vintage car insurance provider.

How do I get cheaper classic car insurance?

There are many ways you can get cheaper classic car insurance:

  • 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.

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Does 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.

Are classic cars tax exempt?

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

If your vehicle was built before 1 January 1982, you can apply to stop paying for vehicle tax from 1 April 2022. You still need to go through the process to tax your vehicle, but you don't need to pay.

If you don’t know when your vehicle was built, but it was first registered before 8 January 1982, you can still apply to stop paying vehicle tax.

Can you get classic car insurance with breakdown cover?

Yes, you can get breakdown cover included or as an optional extra for your classic car, but it will depend on the insurance provider as to how much extra this would be, or if it's included in the policy price. If in doubt always talk to the provider direct to check. When your comparison results are returned, you will see in the breakdown cover column whether it's included or an extra cost, the price of which will also be displayed there.

There are normally different levels of breakdown cover available, but always read the terms or check with the provider what you're actually getting, or could upgrade to with the breakdown cover offered. You can get additional features as add-ons or buy a more rigorous policy, as a guide here is what could be available:

  • Home assistance provides additional cover if your car won’t start, and you're near home.
  • National recovery covers your car if it breaks down away from home. If your car can’t be fixed locally, a recovery vehicle and team will be sent out to help you.
  • European cover provides protection when driving in Europe, with cover generally available for up to 31 days a trip, and 90 days a year in total. Before you take your classic car on a European break, make sure you call your insurer to let them know just in case anything happens. The insurer can then trigger your cover.

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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 insurance might be higher than usual, as your insurer could view your modification as an additional risk.

Your insurance company might see modifications, such as a high-quality re-spray or a flashier upholstery, as an attraction for thieves. Any anything that increases your classic car's performance could mean a more expensive repair bill after an accident.

If you’re going to make modifications to your car, always tell your insurer what modifications you have made. Not doing so means you’ll be in danger of invalidating any future claims.

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

A car has to be over 15 years old and worth £15,000 or more to be considered a classic car, according to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Can you get classic car insurance for young drivers?

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

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

Most under 25 classic car insurance providers only agree to insure you if you've had a driving licence for at least a year. There are many things you can do to help you lower the cost of classic car insurance like:

  • 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.

What is an agreed valuation?

An agreed valuation is the amount your insurer agrees to pay if your car is written off after a crash.

To get an agreed value, you must let your insurer know how much your car is worth. Hopefully, your classic car insurer then agrees to this amount or negotiates an alternative amount. This is the sum you get if your car is seriously damaged in an accident.

Getting an ‘agreed valuation’ for your classic car offers peace of mind if your car is written off.

If you don’t have agreed value, any claim is settled at the market value of your car the at time of the claim. This means you could lose money against its value when you took out the policy.

What does a substantial change mean?

A substantial change refers to any vehicle alterations that have changed the technical characteristics of the main features of the car. This only includes vehicle alterations from within the last 30 years.

For example, replacing the chassis, body, axles or engine to change the way the vehicle works.

Substantial changes, like modifications, 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.

Do you compare classic American car insurance quotes?

You can compare classic American car insurance quotes with Confused.com.

When you start your car insurance quote, either enter your reg number or search by manufacturer, model year of manufacture.

Depending on the age of the car, you might see fewer quotes than with a more modern car. But you can still compare classic car insurance quotes for your prized Cadillac or Chevy in no time.

Can I get classic car insurance for 17 year olds?

Getting classic car insurance when you're 17 years old might be a little trickier than for older drivers. You would have to run a quote to see if you were offered any results from our panel. But remember as we don't offer specific classic car insurance, always check with the insurance company on any limitations, or extras you might need before agreeing to proceed.

Usually, classic car insurance is only available for drivers who are at least 18 years old. This is because many policies ask for the policyholder to have held their driving licence for at least a year.

But if you can find specialist classic car insurance for 17 year old's elsewhere, there might be extra requirements such as:

  • Belonging to a classic car owners' club
  • Limits on the age of the car e.g. no older than 30 years
  • Annual mileage caps
  • Clean driving history

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.

Is classic car insurance cheaper?

Classic car insurance tends to be cheaper than standard insurance policies. This is because classic cars aren't out on the road all that often. Classic cars tend to be looked after by their owners, and those who drive classic cars tend to do so with greater care.

All this combined tends to make classic cars a lower risk to insure than more modern cars for everyday use. So you might find when comparing classic car insurance policies that the prices you see are more favourable.

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What our car insurance expert says

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

Alex Kindred

Car insurance expert