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What age does a car become classic?

What age does a car become classic?

Is your ‘classic car’ your pride and joy? Is it a genuine classic or are you talking about that rusty old banger in the garage? Well, you might be surprised to learn that even if it’s a dodgy tin can on wheels, it could still be a classic. That’s because the definition is pretty fluid, depending on who you ask.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
posted 29 OCTOBER 2019

When does an old car become a classic car?

In truth, there’s not really a definitive answer. Some enthusiasts think classic cars have timeless design, technological or nostalgic value, and embrace the idea of modern classics. But if you’re using car tax exemption as a cut-off point, then any car that’s aged 40 years or older is a classic. If, however, you ask HMRC for a definition, then it’s anything that’s at least 15 years old and worth a minimum of £15,000. Ask a random selection of insurance providers and they’ll probably all tell you something different.

What’s the difference between veteran, vintage, post vintage and classic cars?

In short, a classic car is like beauty – it’s in the eye of the beholder. But, as a general guide, here’s what the car connoisseurs say.

Type of car Definition Example
Veteran Anything made before WW1. Renault Voiturette
Vintage Anything made before 1930. Rolls Royce Phantom
Post vintage Anything made between 1930 and 1945. 1935 Talbot 65
Classic A matter of opinion but something desirable that isn’t made anymore. Lotus Elan

My car’s pretty old. Do I need classic car insurance?

Because there’s no hard and fast rule about what a classic car is, it depends on the insurance provider. Most mainstream insurance providers will insure cars built from the 1970s onwards and at Compare the Market you can compare prices for cars from this era onwards. Get a quote for  classic  car insurance.

If your car is any older, though, you might need to consider specialist insurance.

What do I need to consider with classic car insurance?

This is a specialist and often bespoke area of car insurance, so make sure you research it properly and give your insurance provider all the information they need. This includes:

  • Agreed valuation – this means you agree up front with your insurance provider how much your car is worth, so that in the event of total loss you can be reimbursed. Getting an industry expert or classic car dealer to help provide a valuation could be useful.
  • Modifications – it goes without saying that if you’ve  modified  or restored your car, then you should let your insurance provider know. Not doing so could invalidate your policy, or you run the risk of lowering the value of your prized possession.
  • Where you are going to keep it, especially overnight – some insurance providers might expect you to keep the car in a garage at the same postcode as your home – so check the policy details before you buy.

If you’re deciding whether or not to invest in a classic car, then bear in mind that parts might not come cheap. Let’s be honest, classic is just another word for old – and old in the context of cars can mean it’s hard to fix and find parts for. Before you buy, it’s worth checking the replacement parts rules of your insurance provider to make sure you’ll be entitled to authentic replacement parts. So, while you may have a hankering for something cool and vintage, the demands on your wallet might not be so welcome.

How can I lower the cost of my classic car insurance?

  • Improve the security - classic cars don’t benefit from the security features we have these days, so it’s worth thinking about getting your car fitted with an approved security system. This could help when you’re out and about. But you may need to speak directly with your insurance provider to see how any possible improvements could be reflected in your premium. 
  • Track it – you could also consider getting a tracking device fitted. That means if the worst happens and someone makes off in your beloved classic, then you have a chance of finding it and getting it back.
  • Cut down on your mileage - it’s also worth knowing that if you limit your mileage, you could get some decent discounts (just make sure you’re honest about how much you’ll be driving your classic).  
  • Join a club - you might also get some money off your insurance (and have some fun) if you join a recognised classic car enthusiasts’ club – so get signed up.

How can I find the right classic car quote?

That’s the easy bit – you can search for a quote right here with us. You just need to tell us about you and your car and, if it’s a post-1970s classic car, we’ll do the rest.

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