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What is classic car insurance

If you've ever seen a car show in your area, flooding the streets with all beautiful, historic, and vintage cars, you might assume they're all collector cars. However, for car insurance, older automobiles fit into 3 unique categories: antique, collector, and classic – and each one has its own type of car insurance.

According to the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA), a classic car is defined as a "fine" or "distinctive" automobile – American or foreign built – manufactured between 1915 and 1948." The classic car definition means they're often older than an antique car.

A classic car can't have been mass-produced. Instead, a classic car was built in limited quantities and was high-priced when first manufactured.

Other factors, including engine displacement, custom coachwork and luxury accessories, such as power brakes, power clutch, and "one-shot" or automatic lubrication systems, help determine whether a car is considered a classic or not.

Now, The Vintage Car Club of Canada says a classic car is 25 years or older. The Antique and Classic Car Club of Canada says they need to be 20 years or older. With that in mind, know each insurance company may differ on which cars they include under their classic car insurance coverage. If your vehicle doesn't qualify for classic car insurance, consider antique car insurance or collector car insurance.

Why classic car insurance is different

Classic cars, along with antiques and collector cars, are not your average vehicle. In addition to being from a different era, they don't follow the typical path of a standard car's value. Whereas your everyday car depreciates when it leaves the car lot, a classic car (if kept in reasonable condition) will rise in value.

Because of the lack of depreciation, how standard cars are insured does not apply to classic cars.

Under normal circumstances, an insurance company agrees to a "Stated Value" less depreciation, if the typical car is stolen or damaged beyond repair.

With classic cars, the insurance company uses an "Agreed Value," which does not include depreciation. Both you (the insured party) and the insurance company must agree to the Agreed Value before ensuring the vehicle. (And depending on the insurance company and the make of the car, they may also require an independent appraisal).

There's another reason that classic cars need their own insurance: the cost of repairs. Repairs are incredibly expensive for these vehicles because many parts are not mass-produced or easy to source. For this reason, classic car insurance typically comes with a "Spare Parts" coverage.

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How classic car insurance works in Canada

As explained above, there are two types of coverage unique to classic cars: the Agreed Value and the Spare Parts element of the policy. Otherwise, classic car insurance works just like standard car insurance, including mandatory and optional coverages.

Third-party liability insurance

Accident benefits

Uninsured motorist

Collision insurance (optional)

Comprehensive insurance (optional)

How to qualify for classic car insurance

Before you can get classic car insurance, you must meet some basic requirements. Here are 5 pieces of criteria you and your car must meet in order to qualify:

  • The insurance company must recognize the vehicle as a classic.
  • Generally, you must have an excellent driving record, with no convictions for serious traffic offences.
  • At least 10 years of driving experience. 
  • You only use the car for occasional, pleasure driving. It cannot be used as a day-to-day vehicle.
  • Depending on the insurance company, they may require you to store the car in a garage (or storage facility) when not in use to reduce the chances of theft, damage or wear.

The difference between classic, antique, and collector car insurance

Confusion reigns on how to properly identify the differences between antique, collector, and vintage.  So "classic" is often used when describing any old car that is unique on the roads; any car that makes you stop and stare. However, know that modified cars and replicas aren't typically considered in any of the categories. 

All you need to know is that each insurance company will have their own guidelines to determine what is a classic car. According to Hagerty, an insurance company specializing in all things old, historic, and vintage - any cars built between 1900 to 1979 will need either classic or antique car insurance. Anything after 1980, Hagerty says it needs collector car insurance. 

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Frequently asked classic car insurance questions

Other resources to learn more about classic cars

How much does it cost to insure a classic car?

What are the classic car requirements in Ontario?

What is the OPCF 19A?

Matt Hands, Business Director of Insurance

With 6+ years of experience at, Matt’s focus has been on growing its newest business unit, Insurance. He is a thought leader and a valuable resource to respected publications across Canada. read full bio

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