The Best Way to Insure an Old Car

Couple in vintage car on wide road at sunset

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The average age of vehicles on the road in the United States continues to creep up and is now around 11 years old. You might think it’s less expensive to buy insurance for an older car, but that’s not always the case: there are no discounts just for driving an older vehicle.

Factors to Consider When Insuring an Older Car

When you’re considering the best way to insure older cars, you should think about all of the same things you would consider when choosing a standard insurance policy, including both your own needs and your state laws.

Decide if your car is a classic. The insurance industry’s bar for what qualifies as a classic car is pretty high—and your beloved 1980’s “hot rod” that you’ve driven into the ground probably doesn’t meet the mark. A classic car is one that is envied by collectors, stored safely, driven only by super-safe drivers, and is not your primary mode of transportation: in other words, a car that is more for show than for any practical purpose.

Consider the cost of your premium. The first thing most people consider when thinking about the costs of insuring an older car is the actual amount they pay an insurance company each month. While this is far from the only consideration, it is the top of people’s minds and important to address.

The simple answer is that car insurance premiums do not go down or up just because a vehicle is older. There is very little correlation between the age of the vehicle and car insurance rates, although you can certainly adjust your coverage levels if you would like to lower your monthly payment.

If you have a car that is beloved by thieves, if you’re an unsafe driver, or if you don’t have the best safety and anti-theft features -- which older cars do tend to lack -- then your premiums will likely be higher. The rest of the factors that go into a premium, such as your age, location, and driving history, will impact insurance rates for old and new vehicles alike. 

Know the cost of sourcing parts. If you own any sort of vehicle for long enough, the chances that you’ll have to repair it at some point or another are pretty high. If you have an older car, the chances are even higher. If you need to make a repair and your car is an older model, it will likely be much more difficult to find the requisite parts than it would be for a newer model, and the ones you do find can often be more expensive.

The cost of repairs is an important thing to factor into any responsible budget for a car, and this is all the more so true for an older vehicle. 

Consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage. Firstly, know the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage. Also sometimes known as physical damage coverage, dropping comprehensive coverage is a quick way to save in premium costs.

For some, it’s a smart idea: this type of coverage only covers damage to your vehicle if you cause an accident, and the older your car is, the less money you are likely to get back should you cause an accident and damage your vehicle.

If you are a safe driver and can set aside the cost of replacing (not repairing) your car in savings, then dropping this coverage is almost always a good idea. But if you’re accident-prone or strapped for cash, it’s probably better not to.

Some states also require this coverage by law, so make sure you check your own state’s policies before making any moves. And of course, if you’re still paying off your car loan, dropping this coverage is not going to happen. 

Don't overpay. If you’re looking for antique car insurance companies, you might think that you need to be prepared to pay a lot. That’s not how antique auto insurance works.

A study by Progressive Insurance found that classic cars cost about 40% less to insure than a typical car because policies are tailored to your specific needs.

You should make sure you have the best coverage you can afford and speak to a trusted professional: when you’re dealing with insurance for a classic car, you’re not talking about something that can be easily (and cheaply) replaced, so figuring out the best policy is more critical than ever. 

There are many insurance providers for classic cars, including Grundy Worldwide, Hagerty Insurance Agency, Heacock Classic Car Collector Insurance, and traditional insurance companies (through their affiliates) like Hartford, Farmers, Allstate, and Geico.