Guide to Classic Car Insurance

Car insurance

Car insurance is required by law in the UK for anyone who drives a car and it is intended to cover the costs of any driving related damage or injury.  It is a legal offence to use a car, or allow others to use it, without suitable insurance whilst driving on a public road.

If you are the owner of a classic car you do not have to take out a specialist policy. However some insurers can offer certain features and benefits that you might not get from a conventional policy. If you own a classic car that you keep off the road for periods of time you must ensure that you complete a statutory off road notification (SORN). For more information take a look at our blog from June 2011.

Failure to have car insurance could result in a fine or even a prison sentence.  Convicted drivers could also be banned from driving and have their cars confiscated and scrapped.

Definition of a classic car

In the UK there is no fixed definition of a classic car although for insurance purposes the vehicle must be over 15 year of age. If you are thinking of purchasing a car and are unsure if it is a classic or not then you should check with your insurance company, particularly because the definition of the term can vary depending on the insurer.

Types of classic car:

There are three common terms used to describe vehicles of a bygone era, and a classic car insurance policy can be used across all three categories.

  • Veteran Cars: Manufactured before 1919 but particularly those made prior to 1905.
  • Vintage Cars: Commonly defined as being built between 1919 and the end of 1930.
  • Classic Cars: A car needs to be at least 15 years old to qualify for vehicle tax exemption.
Classic Car insurance

There are a number of advantages to owning a classic car. Firstly, cars built prior to January 1, 1973 are exempt from paying vehicle tax. Secondly, classic car insurance can be a good deal cheaper than standard car insurance for more modern cars. This is because classic cars tend to be better looked after and driven less than newer cars which results in a reduced risk for classic car insurance providers, and this in turn leads to reduced classic car insurance costs.

Owners of classic cars are thought to be among some of the safest drivers on the road but they must take extra care when considering car insurance as often specialist cover is often required. Larger insurers may not provide classic car insurance schemes so you may find that you get a better deal from a specialist classic car insurance company. When you run the vehicle details through the quote form on we will return a list of insurers that are able to offer a competitive quote for your particular vehicle details and circumstances.

A comprehensive policy for a classic car is broadly similar to a comprehensive policy for a standard modern vehicle. But there are some important differences:

Vehicle valuation:

Because of the value of classic vehicles, the smallest dent could end up costing hundreds of pounds to repair. In order to get an accurate premium quotation for your classic car insurance you should obtain an official vehicle valuation and have it guaranteed by your chosen insurer. This may cost a little more, but can pay dividends in the event of a claim because once you have agreed a valuation figure with the insurer they should guarantee to pay out that amount if your car is written off or stolen.

The value of your car will be reflected in the cost of your classic car insurance premium. The more valuable your car is, the more you will have to pay for your classic car insurance. Also, unlike standard cars, many classic cars actually appreciate in value as they get older so it is wise to check with your insurance provider as to whether you are able to increase the agreed valuation every year when you renew your classic car insurance policy.


Classic cars are not usually driven as frequently as modern vehicles, so most insurers set an annual maximum mileage, often around 7,500 miles per year. You should enquire about whether there is such a limit on the policy and what happens in the event of exceeding the limit. Ask if there is flexibility to change the agreed mileage, and whether exceeding the mileage limit will invalidate the policy.

No claims bonus:

The other big difference between classic car and standard car insurance is that drivers do not build up a no-claims discount on classic car cover. The flat rates make it all the more important to shop around for quotes, particularly at renewal.

Level of insurance cover

Some insurers will offer Third Party Fire and Theft cover but you have to weigh up the cost savings against the potential pitfalls of limited cover and remember that the cheapest classic car insurance policy may not always be the most suitable one.

There may be occasions when you need to take your classic car off the road for a period of time for repair or restoration.  A new law introduced in 2011 requires that vehicles kept off road must remain insured for the road, unless the registered keeper completes a SORN (statutory off road notification). As such, there is no such thing as a “laid up” policy any more as all vehicles, if not declared off road via a SORN, need to be covered by motor insurance.

Cover for classic car events

Classic car insurance will usually cover events such as vintage rallies and shows. If the event is abroad, however, you will probably have to pay an additional premium.

If you hire out your classic car for weddings or other events, you will almost certainly have to extend the cover because most private car policies exclude use of the vehicle for “hire and reward”.

How do I get a quote?

To obtain an insurance quote for your classic car simply click through to our car quote engine and fill out your details using our simple and easy to use Easyfill™ form.

20/04/2012 15:38:13 Mike

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