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Classic car insurance explained

Classic car insurance is designed specifically to protect classic motors from unforeseen mishaps. Find out how classic car insurance works, what it covers and typical exclusions to watch out for.

In this article
What is classic car insurance? What counts as a classic car? What does classic car insurance cover? Where can you buy classic car insurance Can I buy classic car insurance for an everyday car?
How can I get cheap classic car insurance? How to make a classic car insurance claim The best and worst classic car insurance Classic car insurance: FAQ

What is classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance is designed specifically to protect classic motors from unforeseen mishaps. 

Your car will have to qualify as 'classic' to be able to take out this type of policy. 

Classic car insurance isn't suitable for a vehicle that you use frequently, and you'll need to take out a regular car insurance policy for that. 


What counts as a classic car?

For tax and MOT purposes, HMRC defines classic cars as being at least 15 years old with a value of £15,000 or more. 

Classic car insurers and brokers, however, have varying definitions of what counts as a classic model. Some may consider cars only 10 years of age as eligible. 

We've rounded up the classic car definitions from several providers:

Admiral classic car insurance: 'To get classic car insurance, Admiral requires a car to be over 35 years old and under 70 years old.

'This varies depending on which insurer you go with, so it’s worth checking whether or not your car is classed as ‘classic’. If your car was made before 1940 it will be classed as vintage.'

LV classic car insurance: 'Your classic car is over 20 years old and has a maximum value of £40,000.'

Carole Nash classic car insurance: 'Any car over 15 years old is now classed as a classic and can receive reductions in policy price that reflect the care they’re given, and the way they’re driven.'

What does classic car insurance cover?

As with regular car insurance, there are usually three levels of cover to choose from for your classic car. 

Third-party only: This offers the lowest level of cover, protecting you against damage that is caused by yourself or one of your other passengers, damage to other drivers and accidental damage to things such as lamp posts and walls.

But it won't cover the cost of repairing damage to your car, which you'll to pay for yourself.  

Third-party, fire and theft: This offers third-party cover and also the cost of repairing your car in the event of it being stolen or damaged by fire. 

Comprehensive: A fully comprehensive classic car insurance policy offers the widest range of coverage including third party, theft and fire as well as wider damage to your vehicle.

In addition to this, most classic car insurance policies will cover the following areas as standard. 

Agreed valuation

An agreed valuation is when your insurer pays out a pre-agreed sum if your car is declared a total loss. 

Regular car insurance policies will only compensate you the market value of your vehicle, which can cause problems if your model is worth significantly more than most vehicles of the same age and type, as most classic cars are. 

Salvage retention 

If your car has been deemed a write-off buy your insurer, salvage retention gives you the right to buy back the remains. 

You'll have to tell your insurer that you wish to retain the salvage at the point your vehicle is written off. 

They will then calculate the cost of salvaging the remains of your car and deduct this from your agreed valuation. You'll get the remainder back as a cash settlement. 

Multi-car cover

The majority of classic car insurance providers offer multi-car cover to help you insure all of your vehicles.

You could, for example, insure your classic car and everyday motor under the same policy; making it simpler to handle your documents and keep track of renewal dates. 

European cover

European cover is offered by most insurers to protect your classic motor if you ever need to take it to Europe. Most policies will allow you to spend up to 90 days on the continent. 

Laid up cover

Laid up cover insures classic cars that are no longer driven on the road but still require damage, fire and theft insurance.

It's ideal for owners who have declared their vehicle under the Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN). It also covers race cars and vehicles in restoration. 

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I luxury British saloon car, produced between April 1955 to March 1966.

A classic Blue Morris Oxford motor car

Where can you buy classic car insurance

There are several ways to buy classic car insurance including: 

Specialist car insurance companies

Specialist car insurance companies offer comprehensive policies, designed by experts, to protect the unique characteristics of your classic car. 

Providers include companies like Lancaster Insurance and Footman James. 

Specialist car insurance brokers

Specialist classic car insurance brokers look at the details of your classic car and help you find the best insurer to protect your vehicle. 

Brokers for classic car insurance include Classic Line Insurance who have worked in the industry for 30 years.

Car clubs

Car clubs are membership organisations for motorists that own a certain make or model of car. 

If you own a Morris Minor, for example, you could join the Morris Minor's Owner's Club. 

Membership in a car club usually allows you to access a number of benefits including discount entry to car shows, priority spare parts for your motor and also a discount on your car insurance too. 

There is a wide range of car clubs available and you can see a full list of vehicle owners clubs on GOV.UK. 

Mainstream car insurance providers

Due to the specialist nature of classic car insurance, very few mainstream providers like LV and Admiral offer their own comprehensive policies. 

A small number of companies choose to partner with specialist brokers to provide classic car insurance policies. For example Aviva, RAC and Hiscox all partner with specialist broker Hagerty, to offer comprehensive policies for classic motors. 

On the whole, most mainstream providers don't offer comprehensive policies for classic motors. Some may at least be able to give you an agreed valuation but you'll have to get in touch with the company to agree on this. 

Can I buy classic car insurance for an everyday car?

While it might be tempting to buy classic car insurance to lower your insurance premium, it isn't advisable. The cost of classic car insurance is designed to protect older cars that aren't used every day.

So even if your vehicle is older, and could technically qualify as a classic car, but you use it frequently as your main mode of transport, you should take out a regular car insurance policy instead to avoid being caught out. 

How can I get cheap classic car insurance?

Generally speaking, insurers view owners of classic cars as less risky, because they take greater care of their motors.

Classic cars are also rarely driven and usually kept in safe and secure locations. As a result, classic car insurance policies are much cheaper than regular car insurance policies. 

But the following tips can help you get cheaper classic car insurance:

1) Limit your mileage

Limiting the number of times you drive your car lowers the risk of you getting into an accident. So, agreeing, and sticking to, an annual mileage limit could help you get a discount on your classic car insurance premium.

2) Invest in additional security

Increasing the level of security on your classic car lowers its risk of it being stolen and installing additional features like an alarm or tracking device could help you reduce the cost of your policy.

Insurers will often have a list of recommended manufacturers and lock types to choose from, so be sure to check before you make any changes, to make sure that they don't end up invalidating your policy.

3) Avoid car modifications

While making car modifications can add a unique touch to your classic car, most insurers will see them as an added risk. 

If you do decide to make modifications to your classic motor, it’s really important that you disclose them to your insurer as failing to do so could invalidate your policy. 

Find out more in our guide to how to find cheap car insurance.

The 1955 Maserati A6G Frua Berlinetta Paris

The 1955 Maserati A6G Frua Berlinetta Paris

How to make a classic car insurance claim

If you ever have to make a classic car insurance claim, following these steps can help make the processes as simple as possible. 

1) Notify the police (if your car is stolen)

It's important to notify the police as soon as you find out your classic car is stolen. Once your report has been filed, you'll get a crime reference number to give to your insurer when you make a claim. 

2) Submit your claim as soon as possible

You need to contact your insurer as soon as possible to avoid any delay in getting your claim processed. It may take your insurer longer to investigate more complex claims so it's best to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later.

3) Send supporting evidence

Depending on what your claim involves, you may need to send in evidence such as receipts and photographs. Try to gather these as soon as possible and send them over to your insurer to get your claim processed. 

Find out more in our guide to making a car insurance claim.

The best and worst classic car insurance

We’re currently analysing different policies to help you find the best classic car insurance. Watch this space as we’ll be posting the results soon.

Classic car insurance: FAQ


Does classic car insurance come with a no claims bonus?


Classic car insurance doesn't offer a no-claims bonus. Insurers often give you a discount on your premium in other ways like limiting your mileage


Can I get classic car insurance without having a garage?


Most classic car insurance policies come with a 'garaging clause,' which means that your classic car must be stored in a garage between specific times when it's at your home address.

Some companies, however, will still cover your car even if it's not stored in a garage. It's best to check with the insurer before taking out a policy. 


Does classic car insurance cover spare parts?


Some classic car insurers will cover the cost of spare parts that you already own for your classic car. These are usually stored in a safe place like a garage. The level of cover you can get will be limited, however, so it's important to check with your provider.

Sometimes you might be able to purchase additional cover if the value of your spare parts exceeds the standard limit. 

Can younger drivers get classic car insurance?


It is possible to get classic car insurance if you are a younger driver (under 25), but you may not get the same amount of discount on your premium. This is because insurers view motorists in this age range as riskier drivers. 


Does classic car insurance cover car shows and track events?


A number of classic car insurance policies protect your car if you take it to a car show, exhibition or track event.

It's important to note that you will not be covered for mishaps that occur if you drive a vehicle that isn't named on your policy. 


What if I have another question?


If you have any more questions about classic car insurance, get in touch with our experts on the Which? Money helpline or email us using money-letters@which.co.uk.