What exactly is a collector car?
As with many things in life, there are differing opinions on how exactly to determine what is “collector” and what is not. The determination of a collector car varies by state, and is often based on how old the car is – some consider “collector” to be 45 years and older, while others consider it to be 26 years and older. There is also the distinction between “antique,” “classic,” “vintage” and “collector car” that needs to be taken into account.
Insurance agencies also have their own varying definitions of “collector car,” so you would need to check with the individual company.
How does collector car insurance work?
There are two types of people in this world – those who hear “collector car,” feel no sense of excitement and go back to normal life, and those who hear “collector car” and are immediately transported to a world of ’63 Sting Rays and ’69 Boss 429 Mustangs. The question of how to insure their collector car is often at the forefront of a car lover’s mind and many first time owners often don’t know where to start looking for auto insurance, and what type of policy they need.
What insurance options are there for my collector car?
There are two main types of policies offered for your collector car:
- Stated Value
- Agreed Value
Stated value is the one most large insurance companies offer for their collector car programs. You agree to a value with the insurance company, usually supported with an appraisal, pictures, etc. They may or may not have use restrictions, mileage limits, etc. as part of the policy. In the case of a total loss the policy would state:
“In the event of theft or a total loss we will pay the Stated Value
or the Actual Cash Value, whichever is less.”
So for example, you have a 65 Mustang insured with a stated value policy at a value of $30K. The car is stolen… the insurance company has the right to look at “comps” for your car just like your daily driver pickup. If they find “comparable ” 65 Mustangs at $22K, that’s all they will pay you. There is no guarantee you’ll get the $30K, you might… and you might not. You should check the language of the policy and if it states anything about actual cash value for a total loss it is a stated value policy, NOT an agreed value policy.
With an agreed value policy in the event of a total loss you get the agreed value… period. There are no “comps” to look at, no “ACV” or “Actual Cash Value” wording in the policy. This same 65 Mustang owner would be paid $30K guaranteed if there was a total loss.
How do I find the right insurer?
Stated value policies are offered by many of the large insurers you’ve been using to insure your daily driver or your home. These can save money and may have less restrictions on the use of the car, the trade-off being possibly getting less than it’s insured for.
If you don’t tolerate risk well, or just want to know exactly what you’ll be paid in the event of a total loss, it’s simple, you want an agreed value policy. This is where the companies like Grundy, Hagerty, and Heacock come in. They offer true agreed value policies. You pay “X” amount for a certain value, and in a total loss that’s what you receive. Rates may be higher, and they may have more restrictions on where and when you can drive your car. I’ve found that rates and restrictions vary a lot, so I recommend checking out more than company and compare everything before making a decision. And please, get out there and enjoy your car, they are meant to be driven.