[ROVERNET - UK] New to classic car ownership in the US- Help!

S Manwell smanwell at sprintmail.com
Tue Sep 13 02:32:35 BST 2005


I'm all too familiar with antique car insurance in the US and know a 
little about UK classic car insurance from what I read in UK club 
publications.  The bottom line is that classic car insurance in the UK 
is much more flexible -- there seems to be coverage available for just 
about any level and type of use you can think of.  Unfortunately the US 
antique/classic insurance providers are comparatively rigid and 
inflexible -- there really is no (reasonable cost) insurance coverage 
available for that middle ground between using a classic car just for 
shows/parades/club events/pleasure driving vs. normal use of an everyday 
car.  I have never understood why this is the case, because there 
clearly is a market there.

On the other hand, most of the classic insurance companies in the US do 
allow limited "pleasure driving" in addition to driving to 
shows/parades/club events.  They all seem to require no driving to work 
and typically they say no driving on errands that a regular use vehicle 
might be used for.  That said, it appears to me that many if not most 
people with classic car policies sometimes use their old cars more 
liberally than the stictest interpretation of the policy might call 
for.  One option is to cover the car with a standard policy for half the 
year and move it to a (much cheaper) antique policy for the months that 
the car is mostly off the road.

A middle ground in coverage is a stated value policy for regular use.  
This avoids the problem in which a normal policy would "total" a Rover 
with the slightest damage because it would be assumed to be depreciated 
to zero value.  Stated value means the collision coverage will be based 
on the amount stated when the policy was started.  That's a little 
different from agreed value which typically assumes the car increases in 
value over time.  The bad news is that a stated value policy for regular 
use has the same or higher premiums than a policy for regular use 
without stated value.

You might consider carrying the normal amount of liability coverage, but 
no comprehensive and collision and essentially self-insure for these 
coverages.  If you saved $500 to 1000 per year that way you'd save 
enough every few years to replace the whole car whether or not you crash it!

Another thing to keep in mind about antique policies is that some of the 
vendors are very sensitive about the slightest modification made to an 
old car, especially if it alters the performance at all.  If you 
disclose any mods, it becomes an excuse for some of the companies to 
charge a much higher premium for their modified/hot rod coverage...  I 
found J. C. Taylor to be particularly inflexible in this area.  Hagerty, 
Condon & Skelly and Grundy are the other three usual suspects.

--Steve Manwell
Boston-area, Massachusetts

P.S. Would you like to be included on the Rover Saloon Touring Club of 
America emailing list for our sporadic newsletter and event notices?  
Maybe we should schedule daily events so that everyone has an excuse for 
driving on limited use insurance coverage...

Steven Dibdin wrote:

> Hi All,
> After a period of nine years with classic car ownership I'm stepping 
> back into the fold. Problem is last time I lived in England (my home). 
> So although we have a 'modern' car I'm trying to get the hang of 
> classic car insurance over here. In the UK I could it at an agreed 
> yearly mileage and value as long as it was kept off the road when 
> parked at my home address. Here I live in Brooklyn NY, I am renting a 
> garage and we will keep out other car as our primery vehicle. I have 
> tried the on-line quote with Grundy but when the paper application 
> came through there was a clause about only using the car for parades, 
> car shows and events of public interest! I'd still like to enjoy 
> driving the car without finding a car show in the area that I would 
> have to attend!
> Does anybody have any suggestions or recommendations to share?
> Many thanks,
> Steven Dibdin.
> 1968 2000 TC
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