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Does Your Vehicle Qualify for Classic Car Insurance?

If you’ve got a beautiful, shining, classic car sitting in your garage, it’s probably your pride and joy. While that head-turner has probably already cost you a lot — in time, money, and effort — it shouldn’t necessarily be costing you a lot in car insurance.

Insuring your classic car can cost a whole lot less than insuring your everyday vehicle, so long as you insure it right. There are some special requirements for classic/collector/antique car insurance, but if your vehicle qualifies, and you only drive your special car infrequently, you can save some cash.

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If you’re insuring your classic car under a standard auto insurance policy, you’re likely paying too much for what amounts to inadequate coverage. Classic car insurance in Canada works slightly differently than regular car insurance. Premiums are calculated differently (often appraised on an individual basis, rather than actuarial aggregated statistics), and insurers work on the assumption that your collector vehicle will not be driven every day.

Just because your car is old, though, it doesn’t mean it’s classic. Classic cars are generally considered anything made before 1980. There are exceptions, of course. Newer cars can be considered collectables, too, and qualify for specialized insurance, but only if, for example, they’re limited edition, or a deluxe-brand car. As a general rule, your 1988 four-door Toyota Camry sedan probably won’t qualify to be insured as a classic.

While car owners may distinguish semantically between antique cars and classic cars, insurers generally cover any older specialty vehicle in much the same way — whether the coverage be called classic, antique, collectible, or vintage, it will probably be calculated similarly.

How classic car insurance works, and why it can save you money to buy a specialty policy:

  • Normal, everyday cars depreciate over time. That’s how insurers value them. But a specialty car that has been lovingly maintained and restored needs to be insured differently, because they can actually appreciate. Classic car insurance in Canada is usually covered by specialty insurers who understand the market and can better value your vehicle.
  • Classic cars will usually need to be appraised by a specialty insurer — most classic car policies will be covered with an agreed value policy, which means you and the insurer will agree on the value of the car (with the aid of an appraiser). This means that if you were to lose your car in a crash, theft, or fire, you’re guaranteed to be covered for the full, agreed value.
  • Classic car coverage puts restrictions on how often and when you drive your classic car. It’s seasonal coverage, and that’s what usually makes it cheaper. Policies restrict how you drive your car, and usually only cover your car for pleasure use or hobby-related activities, like car club meets, parades, and transport for maintenance. Policies differ between insurers, but certain policies do also allow for pleasure cruising, on a fine sunny day, for example.
  • The reason classic car coverage can cost much less than standard car insurance is precisely because they’re not on the roads very often. Specialty insurers realize you’ll mostly drive your precious car in the summer months (and this is often stipulated on a policy), on clear days. Because classic cars are valuable, insurers assume drivers will drive them more carefully and protect them better than a daily commuter vehicle.
  • Most specialty policies for classic cars cover you against for accidents on the road, in transit, or in storage. Many programmes will limit the months you can drive the car, but protect you year-round for fire and theft while in storage.

As with all insurance, though, coverages can differ between insurers and between provinces. If you want the best protection for your pride and joy, you should do your research and compare insurers and their policies, or consider dealing with an insurance broker to find the best deal specifically for your vehicle.

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