Piston Slap: A Tale of Collector Car Insurance

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap a tale of collector car insurance

James writes:

Are there any good insurance options for old, low-value non-collector cars? I’m going to have a pretty good handful of antique-plated vehicles in the next few years, and it seems silly to have regular insurance for stuff that might get driven once or twice a month, but “collector” car insurance is geared towards show-winner ’65 Mustangs and such.

Sajeev answers:

As much as I hate that picture and the publicity stunt behind it, the point is proven: nobody treats an antique like a late-model machine. Long story short, not all insurance plans are only for guys with ’69 Camaros, ’65 Mustangs or even more valuable antique machinery. But you gotta do your homework.

I’ve discussed this before, and in the interest of not being a complete shill (again), I will just say that I left the big insurance company for that other group mentioned in the hyperlink.

The big insurance company did cover my under-appreciated 1988 Mercury Cougar XR-7, but I had to fight for it. Somehow the conversation went to a 1988 Mustang GT, which did apply. And that offended me more than I’d like to admit. It is truly amazing how wrapped up us classic car guys get in our stupid machines, but I digress…

My non Fox Mustang was deemed worthy after multiple head-butts with their underwriting department: pulling production numbers (far rarer than a ‘stang, especially the XR-7), photos, receipts (showing resto-modification) to show how they can indeed prove this is a bona-fide classic car. And they capitulated.

When it was time to insure TTAC’s Ford Sierra, I called the same big company and they were miffed. Supposedly the Sierra couldn’t even be imported to America, much less insured! After I told them how to do their job (i.e. Google), I found a specialty shop.

So I got an estimate from that classic car specific company (first hyperlink) on the Cougar and the Sierra. I found the process easier and a bit cheaper. All they wanted were photos, explanation of the car’s modifications/value/usage and never mentioned how it isn’t a Fox Body Mustang. The lady on the phone also complimented me on both cars, especially the brown Sierra she’d never seen before. Which was the complete opposite of the “If This Was a Mustang, Sir!” insult I felt from the other place.

The only problem: I have yet to need the insurance policy. That’s when you actually know when you got good insurance.

So for you, dear reader, I suggest you look at all classic car insurers around, ask your friends in this hobby, and get a quote from ’em all. Maybe one price is right, maybe one agent hits all the right buttons, but in the end, it will be worth it.

[Image: Shutterstock user Mike Flippo]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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  • Compaq Deskpro Compaq Deskpro on May 16, 2014

    That 59 Chevy is a rustbucket, there is a giant cloud of rust erupting from it. It probably had just enough bodywork done to it to make it presentable, then its crunchy time. Just like the Fast and Furious movies.

  • Autojim Autojim on May 21, 2014

    My uncle insures the bulk of his fleet ('56 and '57 Thunderbirds, '57 Ranchero, '59 unrestored original Skyliner, '56 Continental Mark II) with JC Taylor and has been very happy with them for decades. The only one not with Taylor is the resto-in-progress '57 'Bird, which is on a Hagerty policy as they're the only ones we are aware of in the classic car insurance business who will write a comprehensive-only policy for a car in long-term storage or undergoing restoration. When I lived in MI, my regular AAA Michigan policy let me cover my in-long-term-storage '65 Mustang with a comp-only policy, but when I moved to Texas, AAA Texas won't do that - have to have at least property damage & medical liability as well (I thought it might be a Texas law thing, but it's not). Since the car is immobile, I thought that silly (getting them to do a comp & collision on my car trailer was a pain in the ass, too, another thing AAA Michigan had no problem with). I've gone with Hagerty for the '65.

  • Wolfwagen I always thought the HRV and CHR looked similar and ugly and unuseful
  • DedBull How much of that debt is directly tied to their purchase of ADESA? While wholesale volumes are down, the dealer auction is still a backbone of the used automotive industry. I assume ADESA was a functional and profitable business before it's acquisition. Break it back off, with some amount of it's debt following, and start shrinking the retail side until it is stable.
  • Jon This does not seem like anything new for Oxford. In my one visit to England 10 years ago I received a random bill from the rental car agency for a ticket long after I had come home. I was driving in Oxford, made a wrong turn, and needed to turn around. The street ended at a cross street so the only way to do so was to cross over a "bus gate" which was just some lettering painted on the street. I think it was a weekend and there was no traffic, no busses around, etc. I drove over it made my u-turn and drove back down the road I was on. I did not continue on in a bus lane or cause harm or danger to anyone. One of their cameras caught my error and sent a hefty fine. After I received it I did some research and found many folks complaining of the same thing after visits to Oxford.
  • SCE to AUX Probably couldn't afford it - happens all the time.
  • MaintenanceCosts An ugly-a$s Challenger with poor equipment choices and an ugly Dealership Default color combination, not even a manual to redeem it, still no sale.
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