Car insurance

How to find the right cover for your classic car

If you’re the proud owner of a classic car you’ll want to protect your passion. Here’s what you need to know about classic car insurance with tips for getting the right quote for your car.

What is classic car insurance?

It’s a specialist cover designed for old or vintage cars that are mainly used for leisure purposes.

Similarly to standard car insurance, you can choose different levels of cover. You may also get unique benefits tailored to your car’s age, make and model.

It’s often cheaper, but the premium will depend on why you use your classic car and how often you drive it.

Who needs classic car insurance?

It’s a legal requirement to insure any car you drive on Ireland’s roads, but you may need a specialist insurance policy for your vehicle if it’s a classic or vintage car.

Classic cars are usually:

  • only used occasionally or for display
  • of unique market value
  • highly maintained
  • kept securely

A vast range of car makes and models count as classics. So, whether you own a classic Mini, Jaguar, Triumph or Japanese classic car it’s worth considering insurance specifically tailored to your vehicle and driving habits.

How do you know if you need specialist cover?

Some cars are obviously classic or vintage but if you’re not sure, it may depend more on how often you use your car, the mileage and its condition, rather than the age, make and model.

The definition often varies between insurers, so it’s down to the insurance company to decide if your vehicle qualifies as a classic car.

How classic car insurance differs from standard cover

Despite the similarities with standard car insurance, classic car cover differs from a standard policy because

  1. It’s assumed you’ll drive fewer miles, take extra care on the road and keep your car safe and secure so it’s based on lower risk.
  2. You can set an ‘agreed value’ for your vehicle if you need to claim. This is helpful if your vintage car is highly priced or modified.
  3. Tailored benefits - like discounts and breakdown assistance - might be offered if you’re a member of a car club.
  4. It’s more likely that your classic car will have been modified due to age, but this shouldn’t count against you, unlike with regular car insurance.
  5. No claims bonus (NCB) isn’t always offered with classic car insurance due to the low risk of a claim.
  6. Some insurers only offer classic car cover to drivers at least 25 years old or over 12 months of driving experience.

What does agreed value mean?

This is the payout sum agreed with your insurer.

It’s the amount of money you’ll get for your vehicle minus any policy excess and the most an insurer will pay if your vehicle is:

  • stolen or lost
  • damaged beyond repair
  • or if the cost of repairs is greater than the agreed value.

Classic Car Insurance Agreed Value

How old does a car have to be for classic car insurance?

Insurance companies in Ireland generally identify a car as classic or vintage when the vehicle is over 20 years old, but other factors may come into play.

In fact, every insurance company you ask may have a different definition, so it’s best to check with each insurer.

Here’s some of the criteria insurers use to qualify a classic car:

  • The age of the car: Some insurers identify cars over 15 years old as classic, while others need them to be at least 25 years old.
  • The condition of the car: The vehicle should be in very good condition for its age. Modifications are acceptable to maintain the integrity of the vehicle.
  • How often it’s used: The vehicle needs to be an occasionally-used second car rather than the main car you drive daily.
  • The mileage you do: Your annual mileage must be low, generally less than 5,000 miles.

What is classed as a vintage car?

Cars that were made between 1919 and 1930 are referred to as vintage. Before this date, they are known as veteran or antique. Some insurers may offer a separate policy for vintage cars.

Vintage cars can be extremely valuable, so you’ll need to invest time and money in finding and buying the right vintage car insurance for your prized possession.

It’s vital to have the right insurance in place so you don’t lose out financially if your car is stolen or involved in an accident. .

Types of classic car cover in Ireland

Like regular car insurance, you can choose from three levels of cover. It’s essential you get the right level of protection for a possession you value so highly.

  • Third Party only: Compensates third parties if you cause an accident. Damage to your car won’t be covered. It’s the minimum legal requirement.
  • 3rd Party, Fire and Theft: Covers third parties plus protection for damage to your vehicle caused by fire or theft. Damage by vandalism isn’t covered.
  • Comprehensive: Covers all parties involved in accidents, your car and your belongings. Plus theft and damage caused by vandalism.

What other benefits are covered?

Here are some other things you may find covered on a classic car comprehensive policy:

  • Classic car shows and display
  • Windscreen cover
  • Breakdown assistance
  • European cover
  • Legal assistance
  • Personal injury

Some specialist policies also include third-party trailer cover or cover while your vehicle is being restored.

How much is classic car insurance in Ireland?

You can generally expect classic car insurance to cost less than standard car cover, so shop around for the cheapest classic car quote with the right level of protection.

As with a standard car policy, the price depends on many factors besides your car’s make and model. Check out our guide on how insurance quotes are calculated to find out more about how car insurance premiums are set.

Why is classic car insurance cheaper?

Classic car owners can be rewarded with cheaper premiums because they are generally considered low-risk. This type of cover is usually cheaper than regular car insurance for several reasons:

  • Classic cars tend to be driven very carefully to keep them in mint condition
  • Vehicles are usually kept in a secure place when not in use
  • Mileage is low so there’s less chance of an accident or damage

All of these factors often make classic car insurance cheaper than standard car cover.

What about regular older cars?

Regular, older cars that are used as the main car are often more expensive to insure because they:

  • have fewer safety features
  • can be difficult and expensive to repair
  • can be an easy target for theft

You must get the right type of insurance for your car, even if it means paying more. Speak to a broker or insurer if you’re unsure what kind you need.

Do you need to be an owner’s club member to get classic car cover?

No, you don’t need to be a car club member, but you may get discounted insurance through an owner’s club.

It’s worth finding out from various owner’s clubs if they link up with a specific insurer or check if your insurer will issue you a discount based on your car club membership.

What are the pros and cons of classic car insurance?

There are many benefits to buying classic car insurance, but disadvantages too, like restrictions on mileage or not getting a no-claims bonus.


  • It’s normally cheaper
  • It can be tailored to your needs
  • You can set an agreed value
  • You won’t be penalised for modifications


  • Possible mileage restrictions
  • More exclusions or conditions
  • No claim bonus often disregarded
  • You may need to pay a broker fee

Classic Car Insurance

Is classic car insurance worth it?

Classic cars in pristine condition will gain value the older they get rather than depreciate like regular cars.

If you think your car qualifies as a classic car, talk to your existing car insurer and find out whether your vehicle is eligible for classic car cover.

If it is, get a quote and ask about any discounts. Once you have a price, shop around or talk to a specialist broker to compare multiple quotes.

Remember that the cheapest classic car insurance policy may not be the best option, so decide the benefits you need and check the T&Cs.

Tips to find the best cover for your classic car

To protect your classic car you’ll want to ensure you’ve got quality cover at an affordable price. Here are some things you can do to get the best value protection for your classic car.

  • Join a classic car club: Joining an Irish classic or vintage car club for around €50 a year could get you a member’s discount on your insurance up to 25%.
  • Get your car valued: Ask a professional to value your car and check your insurer will agree to this amount for claims. The market value may be much lower than the ‘agreed value’.
  • Use a specialist broker: Find a broker specialising in classic car insurance so they can search out the right policies for you. But check for any hidden fees they may charge.
  • Get multi-car cover: Normally you’ll only qualify for classic car cover if it’s your second car, so choose an insurer that offers a multi-car discount and save up to 10%.
  • Keep mileage down You may be able to agree on a mileage limit with your insurer if you have a classic car, which could earn a reduction in your premium.
  • Pay in one go: If it’s affordable, pay for the policy upfront in one lump sum, rather than paying interest on instalments
  • Set the right excess: Increasing the excess will bring premiums down, but you’ll have to pay more in case of a claim.

Other helpful considerations

Some classic car insurance terms differ from regular car insurance, and some features are more significant to classic car owners.

Here’s a couple of other things you may want to take into account:

No claims bonus

Most insurers don’t allow a no claims bonus to be used on their classic car insurance policies.

This is because, for most people, it’s their second car and is only covered for occasional use. You can benefit from a no-claims discount on your primary car.

Salvage retention rights

If the vehicle is in an accident and written off, some insurers will keep the salvage, while others will allow you to keep it and deduct its value from the claim.

The salvage can be valuable for spare parts, so if you want to retain it in this circumstance, you should ensure your policy allows this.


Although modifications are more common with classic cars, you must inform the insurer if the vehicle has been modified e.g. adding power steering or air conditioning.

You should declare any modifications when you apply for a quote and when any future modifications are made after you take out the policy, or it could invalidate a claim.

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