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What is classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance is designed mainly for older cars which are used for leisure purposes.

There are usually stricter terms and conditions with this type of policy, such as a mileage limit and requiring the car to be stored somewhere safe. Yet classic car policies also tend to be cheaper than standard car insurance cover.

A classic car can be anything from an Aston Martin or a vintage Porsche to any make of car that's older than fifteen years. Therefore, it is possible you’ve been driving a classic car without even knowing it.

UK motor tax laws define a vintage car as one that’s 40 or more years old. At this point they become exempt from paying vehicle tax.

Author Ben Gallizzi Last updated April 18th 2024

What's covered with classic car insurance?

Classic car insurance is specifically designed to cover select older cars used for leisure.

As with standard car insurance, there are three levels of classic car insurance cover to choose from:

  • Third Party covers damage to other people and their property if you’re in an accident.

  • Third Party Fire and Theft (TPFT) covers your car against fire and theft as well as giving you the third party cover.

  • Comprehensive cover gives you everything you get with TPFT but also covers you and your car.

You can add on cover to your classic car insurance policy. Classic car insurance covers general leisure use as standard, so you might need to take out extra cover if you’re using it for something else.

Optional extras available with classic car insurance include:

  • Driving abroad

  • Wedding days or special events

  • Track racing

  • Commuting or work use

  • Restoration cover

How old does a car have to be for classic car insurance?

If a car is over 40 years old, then it can definitely be covered by classic car insurance. But for younger cars, it can be a bit of a grey area as to how old is a car for classic car insurance. To help clear this up, many insurers will have a list of makes and models that can be insured under their classic car insurance. Others say a car must be of a certain minimum age – 25 years is typical but it can be as little as 15 years. There’s no one rule as to what cars qualify for classic car insurance.

For tax purposes, HMRC says a car must be at least 15 years old and worth more than £15,000 to be a classic car. The DVLA deems a car as “Historic” once it’s more than 40 years old.

Leoni Moninskaquotation mark

Making sure your classic car has the appropriate insurance is essential to ensuring you're properly covered on the road. As classic car owners tend to drive less miles and use their vehicles for leisure, the insurance policy is often cheaper than regular car insurance, so taking out a classic car-specific policy could save you money in the long run.

Leoni Moninska, Insurances Expert
Is classic car right for you? Graphic

Is classic car insurance right for you?

Is your car over 40 years old?

The HMRC taxman says cars registered before 8 January 1980 are 'historic' and pay no road tax. They should be cheaper to insure too.

Is your car more than 10 years old?

Many classic car insurers offer discounts for cars more than ten years old.

Do you keep your classic car garaged?

Owners who love their cars and look after them well, keeping them secure and away from prying eyes and the elements get rewarded.

Do you only drive your classic car a little?

Classic car insurers offer fixed mileage policies discounted for those who drive fewer miles.

Classic car insurance not right for you?

Compare standard car insurance policies and other types of cover with Uswitch

How do I get cheap classic car insurance?

There are lots of trips and tricks to lower the cost of classic car insurance, including the following:

  • Reducing the level of cover: If your car is not worth much you might want to consider taking out a third-party insurance policy – this is the minimum level of cover, you legally need. Third-party cover only pays out for damage and injuries to third parties in the case of an accident, and you won’t get any pay-out to repair or replace your vehicle.

  • Getting a correct valuation: Your insurer can give you what is known as an ‘agreed valuation’. This means you are covered if you have a ‘total loss’ for the agreed amount. You may want to have a classic car expert to carry out the valuation instead to make sure it's accurate.

  • Keeping it in a secure place: Some classic car insurance providers will expect you to keep the car in a garage at the same postcode as your home, or at the very least on a private driveway.

  • Having an alarm or immobiliser: Classic cars will not have the same security features installed as most modern cars. Installing security features will improve the car's security but check beforehand with your insurer what impact it will have on your premium.

  • Track it: Depending on the value of the car, having a tracking device installed may offer peace of mind. Again you may want to check with your insurance provider to see if it will reduce your premium before you fit one.

  • Use it less: The less mileage you do in your classic car the less insurance premium you will pay.

  • Join a club: Some specialist insurance providers offer discounts if you join a recognised classic car enthusiasts’ club. Being a member of a specialist club means you may also be able to get advice from other experienced classic car motorists.

Rover is the single most popular make of classic car in the UK, accounting for 10% of the classic cars sold online. Jaguar is the next most popular make of classic car sold on the web. In UK auctions, classic cars made by Rover, Jaguar and Ford are all about as popular as one another. Mercedes models also rank highly among UK classic car buyers. Over 70% of the classic cars sold at auction and online in the UK are imports.

At the higher end of the classic car market, pricier international brands like Bugatti, Lamborghini and Ferrari have a significant following in the UK. Premium British makes such as Aston Martin and Bentley are also sought after. Bugatti has the highest median asking price of classic cars on sale in the UK, followed by Lamborghini and Aston Martin.

(Data from Statista 2023)

Further things to consider when comparing classic car insurance

  • Mileage: It’s worth checking the wording of policies when you’re comparing classic car insurance, particularly as there are often strict conditions on mileage, use and maintenance. Insurers expect you to use your classic car as a second car rather than as a main car. A mileage cap of just 5,000 miles per year is typical.

  • Road tax: There’s no road tax to pay if the car’s over 40 years old as DVLA will classify it as a Historic car. You just need to notify them and update the logbook (V5). A Historic car will also get a classic car MOT exemption. But remember, classic car insurance rules mean you’re still expected to keep it in tip-top condition by your insurer.

  • Joining a classic car club: Classic car insurance tends to be cheaper than standard car insurance, but joining a classic car club means you could still save a lot more. Some insurers will give you a 25% discount if you’re a member of a club.

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