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Classic car insurance

Find out how classic car insurance works, and discover whether it’s better to go with a specialist or standard provider

Car insurance: Is your old banger actually a classic?

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When does a car become a classic car?

When you think of a classic car you probably picture an Aston Martin, an original VW Beetle or a vintage Porsche, but some insurers will define a car as a classic once it’s over 10 years old. So, it is possible you’ve been driving a classic car without even knowing it.

Another category for older cars – over 40 years old – is historic cars.

At what age does a car become a classic?

HMRC defines classic cars as being:

  • over 15 years of age 

  • valued at £15,000 or more

However, if your car is over 10 years old no matter its value, it can be considered a classic car by some classic car insurers.

This may help you to get a better deal on your insurance because classic car insurers may show up in your comparisons alongside regular insurers.

Is my 10-year-old car a classic car?

Although different insurers define the age of a classic car differently, some will define a classic that is just 10 years old. It is not a historic (classic) car for road tax until it is more than 40 years old.

The older your car is, the more options you will have when it comes to insuring your classic car.

Classic car insurance – how old?

Classic and vintage cars will be both covered by classic car insurance. 

While an insurer might define a classic car as one that is over 10 years old, UK motor tax laws define a vintage car as one that’s 40 or more years old. 

Vehicles became exempt from paying vehicle tax if they are 40 years old or older on January 1 40 years ago. HMRC defines these as historic (classic) vehicles.

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

Despite the fact that HMRC insists a car is 40 years old to be a classic, many insurers will treat a car just two years old as a classic for insurance. Classic car insurance is a specialist area, so the more you know about your car’s history the better. 

If you have modified your car or have it restored in some way, you will need to let your insurer know otherwise you risk invalidating your cover.

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Why is classic car insurance so cheap?

Classic car insurance is usually cheaper than standard car insurance because:

  • classic car insurance policies tend to cover vehicles with relatively low annual mileage

  • if you have an older car and just use it as a runaround you might be eligible for a classic car insurance policy

  • classic car insurance is more widely available to drivers over the age of 25 – if you’re above this age, your car is over 10 or 15 years old, and your mileage is below average, you could get a great deal on classic car insurance

It’s important to read the terms before deciding on an insurer, as your cover could be invalidated if you exceed any specified mileage limits.

Valuing your classic car

Now that you know you’ve got a classic car, it might also be worth reconsidering its value, especially if you’ve owned it for a long time. 

Some older models have soared in value in recent years, such as older Golfs and Ford Fiestas. Make sure you give your insurer an accurate value. 

You may also get an agreed value from your insurer – an independent expert will decide and you may need to pay for that.

Paying tax on your classic car

You do not need to pay vehicle tax if your vehicle was built before 1 January 1980 (40 years ago).

If you do not know when your vehicle was built, but it was first registered between 1 and 7 January 1980, you do not have to pay vehicle tax.

  • you must apply for a vehicle tax exemption to stop paying vehicle tax. This is sometimes called putting a vehicle into the ‘historic tax class’

  • you do not have to apply to stop getting an MOT for your vehicle each year. However, you must still keep it in a roadworthy condition

  • you can be fined up to £2,500 and get three penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition

How do I get cheaper classic car insurance?

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.

If your car is of value then this might not be the right type of cover for you.

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’.

You may want to have a classic car expert to carry out the valuation. 

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 standard in most modern cars. It may be you want to have additional security, although this may not reduce your premium, so check with your insurance provider first. 

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 a discount 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.

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Taking out a lower level of cover could save you money but be sure to compare quotes for all types of cover as in some cases it can be more expensive, for example if you’re a young or inexperienced driver. 

Read our guide on levels of car insurance cover to find out more.

When you don’t own a car

You don’t need to own a classic car to get car insurance. Unlike a full car insurance policy you won’t build up a no claims bonus, but it does mean you can drive someone else’s car, as long as you have their permission. 

If you are only planning on borrowing a car you can also compare quotes for short-term or temporary car insurance

If you are needing to insure several cars search multi-car insurance policies.

Multi insurance might also be suitable:

  • if you own more than one car

  • if you’re a family with more than one driver

  • if you’re a couple with more than one vehicle 

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch