Understanding Different Types of Collector Cars and Coverage

August 3, 2016

In summer, collector cars dot the roadways. Owners proudly display them during recreational drives and organized shows. And while they may be grouped together as collector or classic cars, there are several types.

Esurance, an Allstate company, explains the differences in collector car types on its website.1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

According to the insurer, brass-era cars were manufactured prior to 1915 and had steam or electric engines. 1908-1915 Ford Model T Roadster, 1911-1914 Mercer Raceabout, 1903-1905 Cadillac Model A. Erie explains that because these types of cars don’t handle as well, driving one is a challenge.

Antique vehicles were built prior to 1918. Esurance notes that antique vehicles were usually mass-produced and had gasoline-powered engines.

Vintage cars span the time after WWI, from 1919 to1925. According to the insurer, street paving increased during the vintage era, so its cars were better designed for the open road than earlier classic car types.

Classic or collector cars were typically built between 1925 and 1948.

The insurer also distinguishes between modified, racing, muscle, utility and modern classics (from 1990-present). Modern classics have risen to the top of most wanted classic vehicles, according to Mich.-based insurer Hagerty, which released its list of the 10 hottest cars for the summer.

1. 1986–1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL
2. 1973–1986 Jeep CJ-7
3. 1973–1987 Chevrolet C/K Series Pickup.
4. 1986–1992 BMW M3
5. 1982–1991 Porsche 944
6. 1997–2002 Plymouth/Chrysler Prowler
7. 1966–1977 Ford Bronco
8. 1994–1999 Ferrari F355
9. 1970–1974 Dodge Challenger
10. 1968–1976 BMW 2002

“The major trend continues to be the clear emergence of ‘Modern Classics’ from the 1980s and newer with new interest from younger buyers,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty.

Farmers Group Inc. offers a chart on its website to help distinguish the differences between a standard auto policy and a collectible auto policy. Key differences according to the insurer include:

  • A typical auto policy may not cover a collector car left unattended at a show, while a collector car policy will.
  • Exact parts matches may not be covered under a standard auto policy, while typical antique car policies will cover original replacement parts.
  • Agreed value may be the most important aspect of a policy covering a collector car. Standard auto policies don’t always cover an agreed value, while a collector car policy will. According to Farmers Group Inc., the agreed value should match the vehicle’s current market value.

The Insurance Information Institute recommends specialized coverage in the form of an antique car insurance policy, which will pay for costs associated with towing and replacing vintage car parts. Also, a policy that covers the higher cost of taking a vehicle to a specialty repair shop.

Because collector cars typically appreciate over time, policy limits should be reviewed annually. According to I.I.I., specialized policies offer tiered mileage plans, coverage while stored as well as while driving recreationally and to and from car shows. The Institute notes that certain types of classic cars may be excluded.

In addition, the I.I.I. recommends classic car owners review the following when purchasing insurance for their classic cars:

Vehicle usage – mileage is limited and typically ranges from 1000 to 5000 miles.

Vehicle storage – location and stored in locked, full enclosed facility.

Vehicle valuation –Agreed-value policies are preferable to stated value policies. Agreed value policies guarantee that, in the event of a total loss, the insurer will pay the owner of the car the full amount listed on the policy, minus any deductible. Stated value policies, while rarely sold, are often open to interpretation about the value of the vehicle in the event of a claim.

Vehicle condition – Insurers look for cars in good condition and may not insurer cars that have sustained prior damage or appear weathered. However, if a vehicle is undergoing restoration coverage may be available.

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