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Classic Car Insurance – What You Need To Know

You don’t want your classic beauty spending all it’s time in the garage, do you? You want to show it off out there, and for that, you need the right insurance to protect it. Let's take a look at exactly how to insure a classic car.

South Africans have always had a love affair with old, classic cars, and with the rise of the electric car industry humming along merrily just beyond the horizon, that love has grown even deeper. 

You may have devotedly rebuilt your antique auto from the ground up, or even bought it fully restored – it doesn’t matter. It’s a showpiece. It’s your passion. If you’re a classic car collector, you’re part of a club – people who appreciate history, design and good engines. You regard your car as a work of art. 

However, owning a classic car comes at a hefty price. Not just buying them, but to maintain them. Parts are often expensive and many can only be sourced overseas – and chances are you’ll have to replace them at some point, because your car is, well, old. 

So, how do you protect it? For all these reasons and more, these cars often have unique insurance considerations.

While You're Here: How Is Your Car Insurance Premium Calculated?

What Makes Your Car A Classic?

Generally, one could define a car as ‘classic’ when it is more than 20 years old and doesn’t travel more than 10 000 kilometres per year. This, however, has long divided car enthusiasts. 

A ‘veteran’ car is considered to be one built before World War I, and a ‘vintage’ car built before 1930. ‘Post-vintage’ is a classification used for cars built between 1930 and the end of World War II. 

There’s an air of indecision surrounding what cars built after this period are considered to be. Some consider cars made in the 1950's as ‘classic’, whilst others believe them to be from the 1980's. 

Modern classics, however, are generally defined as cars aged between 15 and 25 years old. 

Either way, driving a classic car even short distances on the road without auto insurance is incredibly risky, and many owners of classic cars somehow manage put them onto their regular insurance policies, provided they have actual seatbelts, but this isn’t always a good idea. 

Ordinary insurance is for ordinary cars. The book value of an ordinary car goes down every year, and so does the total amount that the insurance company will pay out in a claim.  

Well-maintained classics, however, hold their value and often appreciate in price. You definitely want the right insurance, which recognises the real value of your car.

So, What Kind Of Insurance Do You Need?

It’s fairly easy to find insurance for a classic, and the premiums are comparatively low. However, you usually have to contact a specialist insurer. 

You could speak to your local classic car club, or fellow collectors. Usage often dictates the nature of insurance, and most insurance companies will have a stipulation for maximum mileage. 

These are things you need to know before you agree upon insurance: 

  • Most classic car collectors know their way around a car and do their own repairs or work. If you intend to do so, or have your own mechanic do it, will you be covered?
  • You might want to participate in club events, rallies or car shows, and so, will they provide liability insurance for any damages occurred?
  • If the car is a work-in-progress, will they insure you during the restoration process? 

You need to consider covering the usual theft, loss or damage, and getting cover for parts that are temporarily detached for service, restoration or repairs, such as imported parts that might need replacing. 

If your car is in an accident and the claim decision treats it as a total loss, you need first option to buy the salvage (any parts of the car that can be saved and reused). 

You also need to be covered while your car is with the dealer, to ensure that any loss or damage is paid for. 

It’s important to have the true value and condition of your car independently assessed through a dealer or club. You definitely don’t want to be under-insured. 

The best bet is to compare your insurance options, speak to a knowledgeable Guru, and see which works best for you and your loved one. 

And by that, of course, we mean the car. 

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