When does a car become a classic

Do you own an old car and wonder if it is considered a “classic?” When does a car become a classic? When is a car considered a classic? Unfortunately for owners of old cars, “old” and  “classic” are not synonymous terms. To be considered a true classic car and qualified for classic automobile insurance, an automobile must fit certain criteria. The criteria change depending on the club or organization that is determining the car’s status. However, there are some constants among most entities. It is important to know if your car has a classic status because classics have to follow specific stipulations set by insurance companies. Below are some simple guidelines to help you determine if your car is a classic, and best understand what is considered a classic car.

What is a classic car?

So when does a car become a classic car? According to the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA), what qualifies a car as classic is “a fine or unusual motor car built between 1915 and 1948”. What’s considered a classic car are cars that are considered to be special and are distinguished by a recognizable design, high engineering standards, and superior workmanship. Classic cars were often expensive when they were new. Other factors that help the CCCA to determine the “classic” status of a car include engine displacement, custom coachwork, and luxury accessories.

Other organizations do not have the same strict guidelines as the CCCA does. According to About Money, most car clubs, other automotive organizations and insurance companies consider a car to be classic under the following circumstances: age (car is between 25 and 50 years old) and distinctive features that make them collectible.

Antique and classic appraisals

Anyone who wants to have an antique or classic car insured must have the vehicle appraised. It can be difficult to assess the value of a classic car, and antique kit cars. Classic cars depreciate over time, and many factors go into assessing the value. Finding a qualified and reputable appraiser is key. It is paramount that the appraiser is officially licensed.

Valuation of a classic car

When issuing a policy for a classic car, an insurance company must take two factors into consideration: physical damage on the car and limited road usage. Policies for physical damage are based on a valuation that the car owner and insurance company agree on and is based on the appraisal. Insurance companies will also require that road use is drastically restricted for classic cars. This stipulation helps to keep the premium cost of insuring a classic car low.

Insuring a classic car

Insurance companies have an independent category for classic cars. They insure classic cars at a different rate and have specific parameters that must be followed. You must check with your insurance company to find out what their guidelines are. According to Financial Web, the standards listed below are what they follow to distinguish truly classic cars from simply old cars:


  • The car must be considered either a veteran (Before December 1904), Edwardian (January 1905 to December 1918), limited, rare, special interest, or limited edition.
  • Cars made prior to 1974 need to have/be at least one of the following to be considered classic: convertible, foreign sports car, two-door sports car, big block v8 engine, unique body shapes, or be a four-door sedan.


  • Most states require a car to be at least 15 years old to be considered a classic, although some states require the cars age to be at least 25 years old.
  • Insurance companies also place age restrictions on drivers of classic cars.

Driver background

  • Only legal adults may drive a classic car.
  • Drivers must also have an excellent driving history and extensive driving experience.


  • Insurance companies have strict guidelines regarding storing classic cars:
    • They may not be parked outside
    • The garage must be highly secure.
    • Some insurance companies require the classic car to be placed in a car storage facility.


  • Classic cars cannot be used as a primary vehicle.
  • They may only be used on a limited basis
  • They may have mileage restrictions of around five thousand miles annually.

If you own a classic car, it is crucial that you have the right insurance for it. Marine Agency can help you determine the perfect policy to fit your needs. Marine Agency has been in the business of providing insurance for nearly a century. In our long history, we have had extensive experience in insuring classic cars in NJ as well as PA, along with various other unique insurance protection needs.

Marine Agency’s qualified and friendly staff can best help you choose the right classic car insurance policy to fit your needs every time. If you have any questions about our coverage options or want to learn more, please contact us today!

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