Old is good in the realm of antique cars

Whether it’s a 1929 Duesenberg Model J, a 1957 Custom Ranchero or a 1942 Willys MB Jeep, there’s nothing like a restored antique auto or motorcycle. The historical fascination with these vehicles just increases with time. You might even say it rises to the level of a love relationship for some people.

New York Department of Motor Vehicles historical license plates can be registered only to a vehicle manufactured more than 25 years before the current calendar year and only used as a collector’s item or exhibition piece, not for daily transportation. Given its limited use, liability insurance premium for an antique vehicle is significantly lower than regular vehicles. The owner must agree to a mileage limitation or a use restriction to specific activities in order to obtain the lower premium. Also, insurers will expect the owner to have at least one other vehicle for regular use.

Coverage for physical damage to an antique vehicle is treated differently than regular vehicles. Since the value of an antique generally increases with time, it is rated based upon an appraised value and must periodically be reappraised to sufficiently protect the owner. The appraisal will determine the policy limit for that vehicle. From the owner’s perspective, one of two bad things are going to happen if the stated value or limit on the policy does not exactly equal the actual cash value of the antique vehicle at the time of loss.

The first bad thing is if the actual cash value is less than the stated limit, the owner will collect only the actual cash value in the event of a total loss. The owner may expect to collect the stated policy limit and while this may seem unfair, insurance is meant to make the owner whole again, not yield a profit. The owner will, of course, suffer a loss of the excess premium paid for an overestimated policy limit that can never be utilized. The best solution for this problem is to purchase coverage on an “agreed value” basis. When the owner and the insurer agree on the value, which usually is based on the appraisal, that value will become the limit. When a total loss occurs, that limit will be paid, regardless of the actual value of the vehicle at the time of loss.

The other bad thing that can happen is that the actual cash value can exceed the stated limit (or the “agreed value” limit), and the owner will collect only the stated limit. This usually occurs when the appraisal is out of date, so it is important to get regular appraisals or make annual percentage adjustments. Insurers typically require the antique vehicle to be garaged when it is not in use in order to protect it from theft and the outdoor elements.

Bottom line: If you love your antique vehicle, come visit our agency and we will give it some loving care.