If you don’t know the difference between vintage, antique, classic autos and other types of valuable older automobiles and trucks, you may end up paying too much for antique and collector car insurance. In this article, I’ll try to help you through some of the subtle variations and how to classify your collector car for insurance purposes.
The history of the automobile dates back to the 1880’s, when they were called Horseless Carriages. Many experts use the period from the 1880’s to about 1916 to date the Horseless Carriage era. When you talk to ten experts, you’ll probably get five to agree upon definitive dates for antique cars. That’s why antique car insurance is difficult. I tend to believe that antique vehicles were built before the first World War.
Most experts will agree that vintage cars were built between 1919-1930. I know what you’re thinking. What about those cars manufactured during WW1? How do you classify them? History will show that American auto plants were shuttered during the war and turned into production facilities for war vehicles. That’s where we get Vintage Cars, for purposes of classifying vintage car insurance.
Some car buffs believe Classic Cars are state of the art automobiles born between 1925-1948. Others believe that any car that was built before 1973 is a Classic Car. There are as many definitions as there are “experts”. I believe The Classic Car Club of America states that an Antique Car is one manufactured before 1948.
The purpose of all the preceding terminology is to show you how confusing it gets when trying to buy Collector Car Insurance. Your true antique vehicle may be worth millions, is probably stored in a secure building and is never driven. A restored vintage car may just be driven a few times a year to car shows and parades. A classic car may be the one you drive every day, because you love the look and it’s easy to work on.
With all the experts tossing around confusing dates and terminology, your best bet for collector car insurance is to contact an independent insurance agent, that works with specialty insurers. Describe the year, make, model, your total investment, where it’s stored and the way you use your old car. Take pictures of the car, inside and out and of the storage facility. Try to find copies of all records, including original bill of sale and all restoration bills. I believe that an independent insurance agent will find a good specialty insurer that works with collector auto insurance all the time. These specialty insurance companies take all the information from your independent agent. They have their own determination of what constitutes an antique car, vintage car or classic car insurance, based on their own expert’s advice. At the end of the day, it’s the specialty insurer that will determine how much you pay for collector car insurance.