Often when we mention our focus on insurance for car enthusiasts, most people associate us with classic car insurance. While this comparison isn’t entire unfair, many of the companies we are agents for do sell or started out as classic car insurance companies. Also, many of the policies we sell have their foundation in classic car insurance. In fact, we sell classic car insurance, because… well, they are enthusiasts too.
However, we don’t call ourselves a classic car brokerage or agency for a specific reason. We think that definition is too narrow and leaves out some pretty significant differences between classic cars other kinds of car enthusiasts. We also feel the unique needs and challenges of broader car enthusiasts isn’t necessarily the same.
So join us as we compare insurance for car enthusiasts to traditional classic car insurance.
How Enthusiast Insurance Is Different Than Classic Car Insurance
One area we feel enthusiast insurance immediately starts to break away from classic car insurance is the idea of modifications. And we’re not just talking about upgrading your engine in a classic car modifications. Enthusiast insurance can cover a broad range of modifications well beyond what you might find with traditional classic cars:
- Performance upgrades
- Engine swaps
- Suspension systems – both track, 4wheel drive, air bags and even hydraulics
- High value wheels
- Body kits
- High value paint
The reason for these non-classic car modifications can vary. From track cars to restomods to show cars, there are a many ways enthusiasts modify their cars, even on newer models. Given that your typical standard personal car insurance policies will only cover up to $500 in permanently installed modifications, it doesn’t take much for an agreed value policy with an enthusiast carrier to start to make sense.
Track and High Performance Driving
Another area enthusiasts diff from traditional classic car insurance is the number of us who attend HPDE, drift events, track days and more. While on track coverage, generally known as track day insurance, is an entirely separate type of insurance policy from on street insurance, there is still a reason to consider getting your insurance with a company that seeks this kind of business.
Many classic car and traditional car insurance companies do not consider going to the track as you expressing your hobby in a safe and controlled manner. They often see it as you engaging in a high risk activity, which they fear could translate to carrying out that activity on the street.
In fact, both traditional and classic car insurance companies have been known to cancel or non-renew policies where they feel it has changed your risk profile. This unfortunately leads a lot of enthusiasts relaying on “don’t ask, don’t tell” or worse, outright lying when it comes to track usage.
Given there are companies who actively seek these types of enthusiasts, we find it’s better to go with a company that aligns to how you use your car.
Unique Models: JDM, Imported Cars, Exocets, Kit Cars
Most classic cars are production cars that were sold in the US. While older classic cars probably pre-date titling and other modern car ownership processes, they are often well known, if not popular sold, cars and trucks. A unique segment of enthusiasts that are often overlooked by classic car companies are non-traditional cars. This can include Japanese Imports aka JDM (including grey market), kit and home built cars like Exocets and other speciality and imported cars.
In these instances the cars may not be in many insurance databases, and determining their value can be challenging. The good news is, there are a number of companies that not only are willing to work with you, but actively seek these non-typical models and unique situations.
While both enthusiast and classic car insurance companies generally don’t allow you to regularly commute in your car, one area enthusiast friendly companies differ from many classic companies is the acceptance of occasional regular uses. Some even allow you to commute a few times a month, or use the car on the weekends to run errands. Modern enthusiasts are far more likely to use their cars for purposes other than car shows and cruises.
Other Needs Beyond Car Insurance
Classic car insurance is also generally focused on the car itself. However, enthusiast insurance through a broker like Shift Brokers covers many more things.
For example, many enthusiasts by rare and unique cars as “barn finds”. They also tend to buy less desirable cars to turn into track cars or even budget racecars. Often, these types of finds come without titles. While for non-street driven cars you may feel you don’t need a title, for anything you want to tag and drive, or if you just want to be able to prove you acquired the car legally, you’ll need to get a bonded title.
Another area enthusiast coverage differs from classic cars is coverage for race cars. While most commonly sold as “trailer and paddock“, or essentially protection for the racecar between it’s place of storage and it’s time on the track.
However, it doesn’t necessarily stop there. Many enthusiasts have dedicated track cars, or even just simply want to tag and drive their street legal racecar, will have insurance needs as well.
How Enthusiast Insurance Is Similar Or The Same As Classic Car Insurance
Don’t Generally Drive Their Cars Daily
We know many people do daily drive their enthusiast vehicle and unfortunately this remains a gap in this business. But for people who can park their car during the more mundane parts of life, their “fun” car is a weekend car. It goes to shows, track or on mountain cruises and that’s an attractive risk proposition for specialty car insurers.
For insurance companies, most accidents occur during regular uses in crowded places. Since enthusiasts are less likely to use their vehicles for these purposes, they evaluate it as potentially less risky. These all may seem small, but these little things add up to potentially making it less likely you file a claim. While you may not do each of these because it benefits your insurance company, some smart insurance companies have figured out that people who love their cars may not file claims as often.
Both enthusiast and classic car insurance is based around the idea of agreed value insurance. With agreed value insurance you don’t want until there is a claim to decide the value of the vehicle. Instead you declare the value of the vehicle up front, and you and the insurance company work to agree to an acceptable value, particularly in cases where the value comes from modifications. In most instances this is a very straight forward process.
For both enthusiast and classic insurance, this differs from the method traditional insurance companies generally use which is known as “Actual Cash Value”. While deep diving into these terms if beyond the scope of this article, the we do have a blog post that explains the difference between agreed value and actual cash value.
Both enthusiast and classic car insurance often has storage requirements, though enthusiast friendly companies are often more flexible. Still, in both situation things like shared parking lots and garages can sometimes be a challenge, particularly with vehicles that are at higher risk of theft.
Both enthusiast and class car insurance companies often require documentation on the storage, how the value was determined and even what your daily driver is. Classic car and enthusiast companies are often selective about who they take, though enthusiast companies tend to accept a broader set of vehicle types and uses. While this trade off makes it a little more work to get this kind of insurance, the benefit is the potential for better coverage, saving money or both is worth the effort.
Enthusiast insurance is a broad term where we focus the unique needs of modern car people. Of course, it’s still based on the foundational idea of: valuation, lower risk to the insurance company and non-traditional cars – either through modification, unique situation like imports, an exotic or other new collectible or modern classic cars.
More and more companies, even those who traditionally didn’t appeal to enthusiasts, are finding out what we, as car enthusiasts have always known. We love our cars, and we’re going to protect them regardless of our insurance coverage. It’s great to know that insurance companies are finally recognizing this, offering the opportunity for better coverage, and offering competitive rates based on that potentially reduced risk.
Shift Brokers Can Help You Navigate
Shift Brokers is insurance for car enthusiasts. We can help you understand the how different carriers will value your specialty car. In addition, we can help you select from insurance companies that will get you the kind of service and coverage you need. And because we are car enthusiasts and specialize in policies for car enthusiasts, we can help you navigate the unique needs and situations only car enthusiasts find themselves in. The best part is, because we are brokers, we represent you, not the insurance companies. There is never any obligation to work with us.
Contact Me About My Insurance Needs Or Questions
Informational Purposes Only
As with all of our blog posts with tips and suggestions about car insurance for enthusiasts, these are intended as general information. The specifics of your policy, state and carrier may differ. The information in this blog post is not intended to be formal insurance advice. However, if you’d like to talk to a licensed agent about your specific needs or questions, get a quote. Always read your policy carefully.