Classic cars have personality. They’re attention getters on the road and are often fun to drive. However, obtaining insurance or warranty coverage for a classic car can be a challenge, although it is not impossible. That’s just one of the potential drawbacks associated with owning a classic car. However, for car aficionados, the pleasure associated with owning and driving a classic or antique car far outweigh the drawbacks.
Classic, Antique and Collectible Cars Defined
Classic car insurance providers generally require cars to be at least 10 years old to qualify, while some require cars to be at least 20 years old. Insurers generally require cars to be at least 25 years old before they are considered antique. New cars generally do not qualify as collectible, with the exception of exotic models such as Lamborghini or Ferrari.
Pros and Cons of Classic Cars
People who enjoy the physical act of driving often love classic cars. That’s because classic cars frequently require significant skill to keep them on the road. By contrast, modern cars are equipped
with technological advances such ABS that allow even novice drivers to navigate them. Classic cars are also relatively easy to service. Unlike new cars, classic and antique cars don’t have complex internal computers that control many of the essential functions.
However, the flip side of these assets are definite drawbacks. Like all older cars, classic and antique often cars lack many of the basic conveniences and necessities found in modern cars, including backup cameras, air conditioning or even radios. Important safety features such as airbags, side impact protection features and even seat belts are often missing as well.
Finally, while classic cars are often easier to service than modern cars, maintenance must often be performed much more frequently, with parts that can be extremely difficult to obtain.
Elements of Classic Car Insurance Policies
The nature of classic cars has a definite impact on the availability of insurance coverage. For instance, classic car insurance often carries significant restrictions and requirements, including policyholders to have a second vehicle designated for everyday driving. For instance, most classic car insurance policies require cars to be kept in good condition and allow only occasional or recreational driving — such as in car shows. Insurance policies also customarily require classic cars to be stored in locked garages. Finally, classic car insurers usually require drivers to be at least 25 years old and have five to 10 years of clean driving records.
Unlike conventional car insurance which covers “actual cash value,” classic car insurance often covers a “stated value” agreed upon by the insurance company. Some insurers offer restoration coverage for classic car owners who are working to restore their vehicles. Spare parts coverage covers the loss or theft of auto parts for classic cars.
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Just as with conventional auto insurance, discounts are often available for classic car insurance. Insuring more than one car, bundling car insurance with other types of insurance policies, limited driving and winter storage, installing anti-theft devices, car club membership and passing a safe driving course are commonly available policy discounts.
Features of Extended Warranty Coverage
Many people confuse car insurance with extended warranty coverage. Car insurance protects policy holders against financial liabilities associated with accidents, whether or not they are at fault. Most states require drivers to carry at least minimal car insurance. Extended warranty coverage provides protection against mechanical failures or breakdowns on the road. Unlike car insurance, extended warranty coverage is optional.
There are several available options for extended warranty coverage, with varying levels of protection. Bumper-to-bumper coverage is the most comprehensive type of protection, while power
train coverage for the engine, transmission and related moving parts, or drive train warranties that cover only the transmission, driveshaft, axles and wheels offer more limited coverage — but are more affordable than bumper-to-bumper warranties.
Other options for extended warranty coverage include car service contracts or maintenance plans that cover things like oil changes and tune-ups. Wear and tear plans cover repairs to upholstery or paint damage resulting from normal use. Performance warranties cover repairs to correct faults in catalytic converters and engine control modules that result in emissions test failures. Factory accessories warranties protect manufacturers’ upgrades such as high-end audio systems or engine modifications — but may be voided by later modifications.
Protecting Your Classic Car
Many people are drawn to classic and antique cars because of their stylish looks or the pleasure they get from driving them. Classic cars are also less complex than modern cars. However, that simplicity often translates to missing safety and convenience features — not to mention difficulty in obtaining replacement parts. Insuring classic cars often involves accepting strict driving limitations. However, a car service contract often covers breakdowns, malfunctions and maintenance for cars not covered by manufacturers or dealer’s warranties — and provide peace of mind that frees classic car owners to enjoy the time they spend driving their cars.