Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 24, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Many insurance companies that sell personal car insurance offer a classic car endorsement
  • Classic car insurance differs from standard private passenger car insurance because you can cover the vehicle for an agreed value instead of buying coverage for the car’s fair market value
  • Not all cars qualify for specialty classic car insurance. In order to qualify, your vehicle must be a collector that’s between 25 and 50 years old and that is used strictly for pleasure


If you have a love for fine and distinctive cars, it’s important to understand the difference between classic car insurance and standard car insurance before you start building a car collection.

Not all cars qualify for specialty classic auto insurance. To secure this low-priced coverage, both the vehicle and the driver must be considered eligible according to the company’s underwriting guidelines.

If you’re not sure if an insurer would consider your car a classic or just an older model in good condition, here’s what you should know.

Start comparison shopping today by entering your zip code in our FREE comparison tool!

What is the difference between a standard insurance policy and a classic car policy?

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If you don’t know the difference between a classic car policy and a personal car policy, you may be tempted to add a valuable collector car to your standard policy.

While you might think that the only difference is in the name, this assumption could land you in hot water when you want to file a claim.

The main difference between a standard policy and a specialty policy for classics is how the vehicles are valued when you file a claim.

When you buy standard insurance, the terms of the policy state that the insurance company will only pay up to the car’s Actual Cash Value when settling a physical damage claim. If repairs exceed this amount, the car will be declared a total loss.

Since classic cars are worth much more than similar models are worth on the market, carriers that specialize in writing classic policies use a different method of valuation.

When settling a claim, the company will pay up to the agreed value to repair the car. This agreed value, or guaranteed value, is generally the car’s appraised value.

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What are the dangers of insuring a classic car under a standard policy?

While you do have the option to insure a classic under a standard policy, it’s not in your best interest if you want to adequately protect your beloved collectible.

About half of car collectors buy insurance for classics under their standard insurance because they assume that the premiums will be too high. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The danger of insuring your classic under the same policy that you insure your commuter vehicle is that you will definitely have gaps in your coverage.

Not only will your claims payment be much lower under a standard policy, most companies that offer standard insurance don’t offer the same level of protection as a classic car insurer.

You can buy coverage for special paint jobs, restoration details, and special towing services. These coverage options can’t be added to a standard policy.

Does your car qualify as a classic car?

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There are several different definitions of classic cars. This is why it can be difficult to determine whether or not your car will qualify for coverage under a specialty policy. In most cases, classics are cars that are at least 25 to 50 years old, but age isn’t the only determinant.

Here are some other guidelines most carriers use:

  • The vehicle must be stored in a garage or a storage facility
  • The vehicle can’t be driven daily (usage restrictions)
  • The vehicle must be driven less than an allotted number of miles (2500 or under)
  • The driver can’t have reckless driving, DUI, or serious driving convictions on their driving record

What are the most common usage restrictions?

Every company has a different set of restrictions that must be used to qualify or disqualify a car from being rated as a classic. One very strict guideline that carriers consider is usage.

The purpose of your usage is something that can disqualify you from getting insurance. If you drive your classic too much, it’s too great of a risk for the company.

By definition, a classic is a car that’s not used on a regular basis. While driving the car for pleasure from time to time is allowed, you can’t commute in your car. If your classic car is what you use for your daily commute, it must be rated as a private passenger car. Here are some of the usage restrictions you should know about:

  • Can only be driven on a recreational basis
  • Can be driven to expos, parades, car club meetings, or other special events
  • Can only be driven 2500, 5000 or 7500 miles per year, depending on the companies mileage tiers
  • Can’t be driven daily for work or to drive to school

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Will you qualify with your current driving record?

Insurance companies will review your driving record closely when underwriting your application for classic car insurance. Before you apply, you should ask the carrier if you must have a clean record to buy coverage.

Not all carriers require your record to be spot-free, but most carriers will only accept applications from drivers without serious offenses.

Many car enthusiasts assume that price for specialty coverage is expensive. However, most classic car policies cost less than their standard counterparts.

If you want to see how much it will cost to cover your collector car for its appraised value, it’s time to shop around.

For quick classic car quotes, use our FREE online rate comparison tool and you can get instant quotes from the best competitors in the classic car market.  Enter your zip code to get started!