When Does a Car Become a Classic For Insurance in Ireland?
In Ireland and for motor tax purposes, a vintage car is defined as being more than 30 years old. If three decades have passed since your car’s date of manufacture, a concessionary rate of motor tax will apply. However, many insurers will deem a car a classic or vintage when the car is more than 20 or 25 years’ old.
Owning a classic car is rarely about having a means of getting from A to B. It’s a passion inspired by the vehicle itself. The inner workings, aesthetic appeal and appreciating value of classic cars make them a rewarding pursuit for many. But, to ensure you’re getting the most from your investment, it’s important you really understand it inside out.
Insurance and registration plays no small part in that, which is why knowing if your car qualifies as a classic or vintage car is a key starting point. If so, buying insurance isn’t the same as acquiring a policy for any modern model. Your vintage car requires specialised protection that reflects its unique needs and value. Yet surprisingly to some, these policies are often cheaper than your standard car insurance!
What’s the difference between classic and vintage cars?
When someone refers to a ‘classic’ or ‘vintage’ car, you might picture a particularly fancy or rare model, but this isn’t always the case. These titles solely come down to the year the car was manufactured. The Irish Veteran and Vintage Car Club’s timeline sets out the classifications as below:
Pre 1905 cars – antique
1905 to 1918 – veteran
1919 to 1930 – vintage
1931 to 1945 – post vintage
1946 to 1991 – classic.
This is not necessarily definitive but gives a useful guideline as to how insurance companies may classify your car.
Is there any difference between classic and vintage car insurance?
Insurers often have ‘classic and vintage’ as one type of insurance policy, the year the car was built will be one of the factors that affects your premium. Regardless of whether your car is classic or vintage, it will need to meet a few conditions to qualify for the majority of these policies. It will usually have to be over 20 to 25 years old, in excellent condition, driving less than 10,000 kilometres a year, and most of the time being used as a second car.
Are classic cars expensive to run?
Initially, classic cars are more expensive to buy due to their rarity. They’ll then require more ongoing maintenance to keep them in prime condition. For many classic car enthusiasts, this maintenance is part of the joy of ownership, but there’s no denying that it comes at an added cost.
Unique cars require a level of care and attention that may not be offered at a standard garage, although support for these vehicles has become more easily accessible over the decades. Depending on the model you own, the requisite parts, equipment and mechanic skills may be more difficult to find. Ford, GM and American muscle models are mass market classic cars, meaning parts are more widely available, while others are much harder to come by. The work carried out on some cars is also more labour intensive than others, further adding to the cost.
Learning some basic mechanical skills yourself can be incredibly useful. Or, if you’re not confident in doing the work yourself, make sure you know what mechanical issues to look out for in your classic car. Catching problems early on makes it easier to get it to the mechanic before it gets too serious.
Usage of your car
Another variable is how often you drive your car. The more use it gets, the more regularly it will need repairs or routine maintenance. Another factor is where you keep the car when it’s off the road. Vintage cars that are exposed to the elements will likely deteriorate faster – whereas if they’re in a dry or heated garage, their lifetime will naturally be extended.
The question of fuel isn’t always without complications, but nowadays, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. Most classic cars have been modified to take unleaded petrol. If yours hasn’t, it’s well worth making the effort to upgrade the engine, as it will make running it a lot easier. This way, it can run on unleaded fuel from normal petrol stations.
That takes us onto your next running cost – insurance.
How do you insure a vintage car?
As mentioned above, if you qualify, it’s best to choose a ‘vintage and classic cars’ policy for a few reasons. The main reason is that it’s much more affordable.
Insurers make the presumption that as a classic car owner, you’re more likely to take good care of your vehicle. It’s your pride and joy, so there’s an expectation you’ll look after it well. To demonstrate your commitment to driving and maintaining your car properly, insurers will often require classic car policyholders to register as members of a classic car club. At Campion, we make ticking this box easier by registering you as a member with IVETA when you get covered through us.
Your perceived risk level is also lowered by the condition that your car will be out on the road a lot less. When it’s registered as your second vehicle, it’s assumed you’ll be using your other car for most daily driving.
Factors to consider when getting classic cover
To ensure your vintage car has the protection it deserves, it’s always good to get an ‘agreed value’ policy. This is reflective of the vehicle’s worth as a classic car. That means that if you need to claim, you’re able to get the right amount of financial support.
It’s important to consider that certain modifications can compromise your car’s status. To have it look and run exactly how you envision, modern touch-ups can be tempting – but for insurance and registration purposes, these should be kept to a minimum. It should be restored in line with original specifications, where possible using parts and materials similar to its original build.
Where you keep it
With some classic cars being hard to come by, they could be more susceptible to being stolen. Many insurers take this into consideration, and they may specify where you keep your car in their policy documents. This is worth checking when comparing insurance cover.
There are various other factors to consider depending on your planned usage and how comprehensive you want your coverage to be. At Campion, we’ll find and review an extensive range of different insurers so you can choose a policy that’s fully tailored to your needs.
How can I reduce the cost of my classic car insurance?
Classic car insurance is generally cheaper than regular car insurance. However, it’s always best to follow these tips to ensure that the price of your insurance doesn’t creep up unnecessarily.
Value your car regularly
Although classic cars usually appreciate in value, various factors could lead its agreed valuation to fluctuate. By making sure you know exactly how much your car is worth on a regular basis, you won’t end up paying a premium.
Adding modern touches to your classic car might be tempting, but it could end up costing you more to insure. If your vehicle has extensive modifications, it might not be possible to insure it as a classic car at all. Keep all updates to a minimum, and you won’t end up paying extra on your insurance.
Keep mileage down
Usually, insurance companies assume that classic cars aren’t being used as your main mode of transport. This means their mileage shouldn’t be too high. By limiting the amount you use your car, or even setting a mileage limit with your insurer, you might be able to reduce the price of your cover.
Prioritise your car’s security
The older the car, the less secure it is likely to be, which could attract potential thieves. If you can, keep your classic car locked in a garage overnight to ensure it doesn’t get stolen. If this isn’t possible, you can install alarms, tracking devices or steering wheel locks to prove that you are doing what you can to keep your car safe.
Campion Insurance – the Classic & Vintage Insurance Experts
Ready to get a quote on your classic or vintage car insurance? See how much less you could be paying by getting in touch using our easy online form. From there, you’ll get a better idea of the range of options, benefits and coverage levels available.