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Cheap classic car insurance

The Honest John guide to classic car insurance tells you everything you need to know about getting the best cover for your pride and joy. From how to keep your premiums down, to which specialist provides the best deal for you and your car.

We’ll take you through the best classic car policies for younger drivers, explain if you need special cover if you’re planning to use your old motor as a wedding car, and find out if SORN cover is worth your while.

We’ll also look at common misconceptions, pitfalls, offer tips and talk about how to make a claim on your classic insurance policy should the worst happen.

Looking to save money on classic car insurance?

We all worry about the rising cost of classic car insurance premiums, but if you read our guide you'll see there are a few simple things you can do to keep the costs down.

1Never accept an auto-renew quote

Never accept an auto-renew quote

We get it. You've been with the same insurer since you bought your classic. You've spoken to the same chap on the phone at renewal time and he always wants to know how the kids are getting on now they're all grown up. 

But most classic insurers provide a friendly, specailist service. They staffed by petrolheads just like you and they'll all be keen to chat about your pride and joy on the phone. Plus, a lack of loyalty is for millenials. But what's the harm in just having a quick ring round for a few quotes?

2Shop around

Shop around 

Sure, shopping around for different quotes might be time consuming - but you may also find that a few other insurers are keen to win your business and can come up with some pretty competitive numbers.

While the classic insurance sector might not be packed with comparison websites, there are a few around. And, love them or loathe them, they can dramatically reduce the time you spend on getting quotes because you only have to enter your details once. 

But they're not perfect. It wasn't so long ago that all these searches ever seemed to return was somethign along the lines of 'call for details'. That can be a good thing, though, because it means they're treating you and your car as an individual.

So if you're serious about saving money, then we reckon this is time well spent. In our experience, there can be quite a difference in the quotes provided - sometimes as much as a few hundred quid. If you do find that's the case, you can always go back to your preferred supplier and see if they can match it. If they can't, well then you know what you have to do.

3Join a classic car club

Join a classic car club

Many of the leading specialist insurers offer discounts to memebers of classic car clubs. This doesn't mean that you can buy you car, join a club, and then expect 10% off your premium - you normally need to have been a member of the club (or at least a club) for 12 months.

So what's with the members-only money-off deal? Well, it's all part of the philosophy around classic car insurance. Of course it matters what kind of car you've got. And of course it matters where you live and how old you are. But a big part of how premiums are arrived at are based on how you use the car.

Being a club member is a badge of honour. It lets the insurer know that you're an enthusiast who is going to cherish their vehicle, keep the mileage down, keep it safe overnight and generally not tool around in it like you've nicked it.

4Use a broker

Use a broker 

It can sometimes work to your advantage to have a middle man - a broker. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association is yet another comparison site - but one with a difference. Instead of compiling prices from insurers, they find the nearest brokers to you in order to get the cheapest quote they can.

5Improve your classic car's security

Improve your classic's security

Classics are great, but when it comes to security they're from a different era. Literally. Most of our cars won't have an immobiliser and you might find that you can open the door with any old key. So if you'd like to keep your quote affordable, you may need to take some steps to improve it's security.

There's a few things you can do, but probably the most important is off-road or garaged parking. The good ol' steering lock is still an excellent deterrant, but there are some more high-tech solutions such as fitting a tracking device or using something like SmartWater, which gives each car (and many of its parts) an individual forensic signature, making it hard for the would-be thief to steal it and change the identification plates or break it for parts.

Top 10: Ways to improve your classic's security

6Make sure your parts and tools are covered

Are your parts (and tools) covered? 

Your main concern is getting your car covered. But what about all those spare parts and tools you've got in your garage? Cheeck because some policies will cover them and some won't.

7Will you drive your classic at work?

Will you drive your classic at work?

Chances are, you probably won't take your classic to work. But on the odd occassion when the sun is shinning, there's not a cloud in the sky, and your car is behaving itself, you might just fancy showing it off to a few mates at work. 

And that's great. Because classics are meant to be enjoyed - but make sure you're covered. Most underwriters will happily cover you for commuting, but if you need to dash out on a work errand you might not be insured to take your old motor.

8Have another car

Have another car

As much as we'd love to bang the drum for making your classic your daily driver, sometimes it's just not realistic. Sure, the car could handle the day-to-day hussle and bustle - but if you're trying to squeeze a family of four in to a two-seater covertible you're going to struggle. Unless you're going for a new Guinness World Record, in which case - carry on. So if you do have access to another car, then tell your insurer because chances are it'll keep your costs to a minimum.

9Limit your mileage

Limit your mileage

Most classic car insurers will ask you to keep the mileage down - reducing the amount of miles you cover reduces the chances of you having an accident. Well, that's how they see it anyway. Policies vary with 2000, 3000 and 5000 common benchmarks.

If you need to cover a few more digits on the odo, then you'll need to have a hunt around. Some insurers will offer a limited mileage policy of 7500 but they're the exception rather than the rule and your policy will increase accordingly.

10Be honest

Be honest

Always be honest. Don't bend the truth and tell the insurer that your van will be stored on your parents’ leafy gated driveway if in reality it'll be outside your flat in the city centre. Likewise, be upfront about your mileage and the value of your vehicle. Remember, insurers base their quotation on what you tell them and reserve the right to cancel your policy or refuse a claim if you have given false information. 

 

What is classic car insurance excess? 

Excess is the first part of the claim you have agreed to pay. This should only be applied to claims on your own vehicles and not claims against you. These come under the following titles.

Statutory or Compulsory Excess

This is the lowest excess on your policy you can pay. It forms the basis of how the insurer underwrites the policy so the higher this excess, the higher the risk they attach to it.

Voluntary Excess

This is the amount you have volunteered to pay in addition to the compulsory excess, so the two are added together.

The higher the voluntary excess, the lower the premium will be. Make sure you can afford to pay it in the event of a claim because this will automatically be removed from the financial settlement you receive from your insurer. 

 

Top 10 cheapest classics to insure 

 1_Mini

Mini

Conceived as an economical car from the outset, the Mini is frugal regardless of which engine is under the bonnet. It might not be the fastest little car but it’s arguably the most fun and, thanks to a huge fanbase, there's excellent parts availability.

Click here to see how much it could cost you*

 

 2_Morris _Minor

Morris Minor

The Minor 1000 can be bought for relatively little and sports very appealing styling. As with the Mini, there's brilliant parts availability and plenty of support from the owners'. Fuel economy – as with any car – is down to how you drive but considerate drivers can expect around 40mpg.

Click here to see how much it could cost you* 

 

 3_Citroen _2CV (1)

Citroen 2CV

The long story of the Citroen 2CV stretches right back to before WW2 – and early production cars are incredibly underpowered and flimsy. Later models aren’t exactly solid – but at least they can keep up with traffic, as long as you're not afraid of being liberal with your right foot. With only two cylinders and very little weight to haul, fuel economy is good.

Click here to see how much it could cost you*

See which other models complete this Top 10 list

Making a claim

What happens if you have an accident in your classic car, want to claim on your insurance, or have a problem to resolve?

1What to do if you have an accident in your classic car

What to do if you have an accident

If your classic has been involved in an accident with another vehicle then it's vital that you stop - failure to do so is an offence under the Road Traffic Act and leaves you liable for prosecution. 

Switch off the engine, turn on your car's hazard warning lights (if fitted). If you don't have hazards, it's possible to retro fit them. Failing that, consider carrying a breakdown kit with a high-vis vest, warning triangle and fire extinguisher. These aren't compulsory in the UK, but they're a good idea.

Next, check that your passengers and the people in the other vehicle(s) are okay. If anyone is hurt or trapped, ring the emergency services immediately.

If safe to do so, get yourself to a place of safety. If you're on a motorway or dual carriageway, get out of your car and either get behind the barriers or up the embankment. If your car is in a dangerous position, or if there is any debris in the road, ring the emergency services.

What if someone is injured?

If you are hurt and thinkyou have back or neck injuries the emergency services may suggest that you do not get out of your car; however if the vehicle is in a dangerous position - on a blind bend or on a fast flowing road - you may need to reconsider this advice.

Do not admit liability or say it was your fault. Also request their insurance details

If possible, photograph your van and the vehicle(s) involved in the accident. Take as many photos as possible with the vehicles in situ, do not move the vehicles if you can help it.

When taking pictures, stand back to give a perspective of road layout and distance relative to both vehicles. This way insurers can see exactly which part of each vehicle has hit each other. This is very important and greatly aids your insurer to work out what has gone on.

What about liability?

Do not admit liability or say it was your fault. Obtain the other parties' details: get their name, address, phone number, vehicle registration and insurance provider. Make a note of how many occupants are in their vehicle, also note the make, model and colour of the vehicle. 

For peace of mind, (politely) ask for proof of identity, so you know the information is not false. You are entitled to do this as a refusal to give insurance information is a criminal offence under Section 154 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. So if they refuse at the scene, ring the police.

Look for any witnesses and get their details. Also look to see if any cameras are around. If possible photograph the driver and occupants - there is no law against this. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, it is up to you - but it can be of massive benefit in stopping fraudulent claims against you.

Insurers often find that the people who object the most have something to hide. If someone in any way gets aggressive towards you when you request their details, ring the police and advise them you have had an accident and feel intimidated by the other party. They will attend. If the other party leaves the scene without stopping, contact the police immediately.

First aid

Consider doing a first aid course for drivers. Although there is huge support for making first aid a compulsory part of the driving test, it is not compulsory. However, if you are in an accident and have first aid skills it could mean the difference between life and death for the people involved.

2How to claim from your insurer

How to claim from your insurer

When you claim through your insurer, you are bound by the terms and conditions of the contract you have entered into. The contract of insurance is there to indemnify you, this means you should be put back into the same material position you were in prior to the loss occurring. You should be in a no better or worse situation.

When it comes to classics, values can fluctuate over time. An agreed value policy will allow you to set a value for the vehicle, if it is beyond repair. Remember, it won't reflect the value of cash you've ploughed into it (like a £10k restoration) - agreed value just means that there's no quibbling and that reimbursement is a quick and simple.

It is very important you read the contract of insurance along with the terms and conditions of that contract prior to making a claim

Some policies allow you to nominate a preferred repairer. Keep a note of this company's details as it's often one of the first questions you'll be asked after an accident when your mind is on other things.

Something else to bear in mind is salvage retention. If your vehicle is written off and categorized as A or B, it means it’s unsafe to put on the road but you may be allowed to buy it back for parts only. Category C and D means you can buy the vehicle to repair and eventually put back on the road. 

What happens if something is stolen from your classic when the hood is down? This is a regular talking point and a grey area. If it happens at a show, chances are you're covered. If you've parked it in a mult-story and gone shopping, it's less likely. Either way, make sure your valuables are locked out of site in the boot.

3What to do if you have an accident abroad

What to do if you have an accident abroad

Before you go

You can protect yourself against the risk of receiving less compensation when you have an accident abroad by purchasing additional insurance cover.

It is important that you contact your insurer regarding the need for additional insurance cover for your travel. The insurer will then advise you which additional insurance cover would be best for meeting your needs.

If you have an accident abroad, the law of the country in which the accident happens applies. Your claim for compensation (property damage and personal injury) may therefore be submitted and handled differently to how it would be in your country of residence.

The time limit to submit your claim may be different from the one in your country of residence. It is therefore important that you submit your claim as soon as possible

If you have an accident in Europe, you can use the system set out in the European Motor Insurance Directive to ensure quick settlement of your claim. This applies to the European Economic Area (the EU member states, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland.

If the insurer falls outside the scope of the Directive, your claim may have to be made directly to the foreign insurer.

If your van is involved in an accident abroad for which the driver is being held responsible, the victim can pursue a claim for injury or damage through the Green Card System.

At the scene

If you have an accident, collect as much information as possible about the other vehicle’s owner, operator and driver.

Fill in the European Accident Statement or an equivalent form from your insurance company. The other party may ask you to fill in a European Accident Statement. It is perfectly safe for you to complete and sign this document, if you keep a duplicate of the document with the other party’s signature.

It is simply a way of ensuring that the parties to an accident exchange the relevant information and, if possible, agree on how the accident occurred.

If you do not have a European Accident Statement or insurance form, ideally write down the following information

  • The date, place and country of the accident.
  • Name and contact details of the other party (owner/keeper/driver/operator of the other vehicle).
  • Name and contact details of the other party's motor third party liability (MTPL) insurer.
  • Registration number of the other party's vehicle. If it is a lorry or a tractor towing a (semi-) trailer, note the registration numbers of the towing vehicle and of the trailer, as the registration plates may differ.
  • Country of registration of the other party's vehicle.
  • Make and type of the other party's vehicle.
  • Names and contact details of any witnesses.
  • Information (such as address and reference) about the police authorities to which the accident has been reported.
  • The circumstances of the accident. If both parties agree on these, it is recommended that both parties sign a statement.

Contact the local police. In some countries the police may only go to the accident scene and compile a report if one of the parties has been injured or if multiple vehicles are involved. You should keep any documentation that the police give you in case you need it to pursue your claim.

If possible, take photographs of the accident scene and the damaged vehicles (including the registration numbers).

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When you get home

You can submit your claim in your country of residence, in your own language, to a claims representative of the other party’s motor insurer. Your insurer (motor or legal expenses insurer), may be able to assist you.

To find the representative's contact details, contact the information centre in your country of residence. If you know the name of the insurer, the information centre can provide you with the claims representative’s contact details.

If not, they will trace the other party’s insurer and its claims representative from the vehicle registration number, make and model of the vehicle and any other details you provide them with.

If the foreign insurer has not appointed a representative in your country of residence, you can send your claim to the national compensation body. This body also intervenes when the other party’s vehicle is uninsured or the insurer could not be identified, if the accident occurred in an EEA country.

Points to remember

The time limit to submit your claim may be different from the one in your country of residence. It is therefore important that you submit your claim as soon as possible.

You may receive a different amount of compensation to that you would receive in your country of residence, because the applicable law of the country of the accident may allow for different types and amounts of compensation.

4How to claim from an accident management or credit hire firm

How to claim from an accident management or credit hire firm

If you're claiming through a claims management company, accident management company or a credit hire company, it is important you do some research.

Your insurer may pass you onto a company who will advise that they can get you in a van straight away and take care of everything - at no cost to yourself. Do nothing until you have checked the company out.

Your insurer may pass you onto a company who will advise that they can get you in a van straight away and take care of everything - at no cost to yourself. Do nothing until you have checked the company out. It's the same story if a company approaches you. You need to be assured that any company you use is acting with your best interest at heart and they will not at act in any way that could be in conflict to your interest.

It may sound odd, but whatever route you use, you need to look at what options there are to complain should things go wrong. Claims management companies must be regulated by the Claims Management Regulator. Currently, it is the Ministry of Justice that regulates over claims management companies.

This changed in 2018 when the Financial Conduct Authority took over the regulatory Authority.
It is very important that any company you use is regulated by either The Ministry of Justice, The Claims Management Regulator or the Financial Conduct Authority.

If you use a company that is not regulated by the above, then you have no recourse of action via any arbitration services should things go wrong. With claims management companies and accident management companies, should you need to complain, you can do so to the Legal Ombudsman Service.

There has been plenty of contentious media on accident management companies, who cold call asking people whether they want to make a claim or have an injury from an accident. A lot of these companies are not regulated in any way. They do not have your interests at heart but want to sell your details to get a referral fee from a solicitor.

5Can you buy back classic car that has been written off?

Can you buy back a classic car that has been written off?

In some cases your insurer will declare that your classic car is beyond economical repair - but if you have salvage retntion as part of your policy you can buy it back.

Each policy is different, but on the whole you will be paid a percentage of the car’s market value (or agreed value, depending on your cover) minus any excess that applies.

And this means that the salvage is your property.

Hagerty, use the example of a Mk2 Ford Capri 2.0 GT worth £8000 where the compulsory excess is £100. In this case, the owner would receive a pay out of £7900 on an agreed value policy. With salvage retention, that figure is £5500 as the insure retains the scrap value of the car (£2400) as well as taking the £100 excess.

This is just one example though. Some insurers offer policies where you receive the agreed value of the car, plus the salvage. So make sure you read the fine print and find the cover that’s right for you.

What is a total loss?

A vehicle that is classified as a total loss or a ‘write off’ is one where the cost of the repair is more than the value of the vehicle.

If it’s part of your cover, you can retain salvage on your classic – but sometimes this depends on how severe the damage is. If it’s classified as an ‘end of life’ vehicle, then you won’t be able to retain the salvage

Can I retain salvage on Category A and Category B vehicles?

Category A vehicles are classified as scrap. An example of a Category A vehicle is one that’s been in a fire. It has few salvageable parts and is only worth the value of its scrap metal.

A Category B vehicle is where the car can be used as a source of spare parts. However, once those parts have been taken off the vehicle, it will be destroyed.

It is important to remember that neither a Category A or Category B vehicle can be legally put back on the road. Both will be crushed.

You will also not be able to retain the salvage on a Category A or B total loss vehicle.

What do Category C and Category D mean when it comes to a classic?

If your classic has been classified as a Category C write off, then it is repairable. However, because the cost of the repairs exceeds the vehicle’s pre-accident value, it is not financially viable to put it back on the road.

Category C vehicles must undergo a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) before a V5C registration document (commonly called a logbook) is re-issued by the DVLA. The check is carried out by the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA).

A Category D car is also repairable. Again, it has been written off by the insurer because the cost of the repairs exceeds the vehicle’s pre-accident value. However, a category D is deemed to have the least amount of damage.

As a result, it doesn’t have to undergo a VIC. But you are legally required to sell it as a Category D vehicle if you wish to move it on. The V5C will also list the vehicle’s Cat D status.

6What's an 'uninsured' loss?

What's an 'uninsured' loss?

Uninsured losses are the things that are not covered by your insurance as a result of an accident. These include your excess, loss of use, the cost of arranging an alternative vehicle and for personal injuries.

When you take out your policy, you may purchase something called legal assistance. This allows you to claim for the things above that are not covered by your contract of insurance.

Aside from the above, there are many other things that are seen in court as being 'reasonable' to claim for as an uninsured loss.

If you do not have legal assistance, you may need to seek the services of a solicitor or a claims management company to claim these uninsured losses back for you.

There are changes proposed which will affect your legal rights to representation meaning that you may well have to pay for your own legal fees. This is why we suggest always paying for additional legal assistance cover if you can afford it. 

Top 10 modern cars you can get on a classic policy

 Fiat 124 2016 (1)

Fiat 124 (2016-on)

Time will be the true test of whether or not this reboot of the classic Fiat convertible lives up to the hype, but first impressions are good. The Fiat uses a 1.4-litre turbocharged powerplant, which makes for a slightly more relaxed cruiser compared to the gloriously thrashy, teeth-rattling, gear-slamming extravaganza of its rivals.

Click here to see how much it could cost you*

 Porsche Boxster (2)

Porsche Boxster (2016-on)

The Porsche Boxster is 21 years old. But you don’t have to buy a first generation model for it to be insured as a classic. You can pick up a 987, 981, or even the latest 718 and get it on a classic policy with agreed value and nominated specialists to look after the car should the worst happen. 

Click here to see how much it could cost you*

 Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 (2016-on)

You’ve been able to get early examples of the MX-5 on a classic insurance policy, but did you know you can also get the latest version? That’s right, you can get your pride and joy on a policy that cherishes it as much as you do. That means all you have to do is enjoy one of the best-handling cars on the road today.

Click here to see how much it could cost you*

See which other models complete this Top 10 list

Focus on The Insurers: Adrian Flux Insurance Logo -adrianflux -blue -outline Copy

Best known for insuring modern cars, we see if Adrian Flux also help with cover for your classic.

As one of the more specialised UK insurance companies Adrian Flux has a broader range of policies and cover types than most. Could it be the right cover for you?

 

Ask HJ

What kind of insurance will I need if I spend a considerable amount restoring a classic car?

I am planning to have a full restoration carried out on my vehicle and will spend a huge amount of money in the process. How will this impact on my insurance cover? Once the restoration is completed my vehicle might as well be a brand new car. What special insurance cover options are their ?
There are two you need to look at, One is a agreed market value policy. I often do engineers reports for these to evidence the vehicle to assist insurers in being able to underwrite the risk. The thing with this is that it still may not cover the investment you have put in the vehicle. I recently did a report for a Morris Oxford 16/6, It is quite simply the best one in the world now. The normal logic an insurer would want to apply is the agreed market value above, Realistically for this vehicle it would be in the region of £80k, the owner of this vehicle spent three times that amount on the restoration. This created a huge issue, as he stood to lose over £150k should anything happen to it. The type of policy required to cover this type of risk is called a "re-instatement" policy. This covers the financial investment, rather than the vehicle itself. You will not get it through the internet, or direct with Insurers, you will need to speak with a very good broker who deals in this area. For high networth clients that I have worked with, I use Hiscox insurance brokers. I have also used http://www.laurieross.com/ insurance brokers and found them to be excellent.
Answered by Tim Kelly
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Ask HJ

My insurer are expecting me to contribute £1000 towards fixing my classic car after someone drove into it - what action should I take?

Sadly, someone drove into my 1967 Austin Healey 3000. It was entirely their fault, he was very embarrassed and apologetic. My insurer, Trinity, have approved a repair estimate but are expecting me to contribute £1000 betterment towards the cost of a new wiring loom, plus fitting. In the collision, the loom must have shorted in some way and smoke started to appear. Thankfully the smoke ceased when I turned off the ignition. I am advised that looms do not deteriorate in use, but it worked perfectly until the accident. The repairer does not consider it realistic to repair the existing loom and guarantee it. I have also been advised that a replacement loom will not add significantly to the value of the car. I feel hard done by. Am I being unreasonable? What action should I take?
Advise Trinity that the loom has been damaged as part of the incident. It's a "consequential" loss. The incident is not your fault and you're lawful entitlement is here: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/insurance/coles-v-hetherton-what-it-means-for-you If the loom cannot be sectioned in the damaged area and has to be replaced in full, then this is down to them as part of the claim. It is not down to you because it's not your fault that it cannot be sectioned. However, I can see no reason why the loom cannot be repaired as they are very simplistic on an Austin Healey. There should be no reason a good auto electrician could not do this and guarantee it. Looms do deteriorate, especially on a car 50-odd years old, as the insulation goes hard and brittle. It may well be a perfect opportunity to get it replaced and updated. What I would do is make a claim for "diminution in loss in value " on your vehicle on top of repair cost.
Answered by Tim Kelly
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Ask HJ

Do you have any suggestions for obtaining a classic car insurance policy with an agreed value?

Do you have any suggestions for obtaining an insurance policy with an agreed value of £8000 for a 1999 Saab 9-3 Viggen? It has done 81,000 miles, is completely unmodified and hasn't been used for track racing.
You will struggle. I do agreed valuation engineer reports to assist people with agreed valuation insurance policies and your car is not worth £8000. As an engineer, I have to substantiate the value I place on the vehicle, so the insurer can then be confident they are correctly indemnifying. If a car is overvalued, they see it as a "moral risk" because they may end up paying out more than the car is worth. This is called "unjust enrichment". Contact the Saab owners club (http://www.saabclub.co.uk) and also try It's Classic Car Insurance (https://www.itsclassiccarinsurance.co.uk/?referrer=HonJohnClassic). I would suggest valuing it around the £6000 - £6500 mark.
Answered by Tim Kelly
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