Where is the Collector Vehicle Market Going and How Can You Help Your Clients Navigate the Perfect Plan?

The collector vehicle market is as strong as ever amongst older collectors and becoming more mainstream with younger generations too. To understand this distinct market and know how to navigate the proper coverage plans, listen to the experts in the collector vehicle industry. They know the state of the collector car market best and what the near future holds.

For instance, a recent Automobile Magazine article contends that the collector vehicle market is dynamic and isn’t going away anytime soon.[1] That’s because more people are attending lifestyle events like car tours, rallies, and races that center around cool coupes.

Automobile Magazine reports that late model Porches still do well among collectors, but American classics are also growing in popularity. Not to mention a few models whose worth has now reached one million dollars: the Marmon Sixteen Coupe and the Auburn Boattail Speedster. But it’s the under $100,000 cars that make up a majority of the market.

Keep in mind, today’s enthusiasts don’t limit themselves to what they longed for growing up (although that is one trend). They’re also inspired by movies, books, and the good old fashion desire to carry on a specific vintage car’s legacy.

Other popular trends in the market today are older pickup trucks and SUVs.  Specifically, Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford pickups are gaining momentum in the restoration world. That’s because so many part manufacturers are now providing modern day luxuries and performance parts to replace the antiquated parts those vehicles had coming off the assembly line.

On the other hand, a true “restoration” is a vehicle that has been reassembled with the goal of bringing it back to factory-stock condition only.  But “restomods” continue to gain interest in the market today. A “restomod” is defined as a vehicle that has been put back together with the addition of new modern or aftermarket parts that were not on the vehicle when it came from the factory. The modern-day performance, handling, and commoditized features they offer while often maintaining a classic look make them fun for collectors and enthusiast to drive!

If you know any enthusiasts, then you know most give their cars special attention. They store their cars under protective coverings, keep them in garages and drive them only on special occasions. So, if a storm, intruder or accident causes any damage to their beloved “babies,” they want to know that they are insured all the way down to the scratch.

That’s why collector vehicles should be insured under a specialty insurance policy. But remember, not all collector vehicle plans offer broad eligibility. American Modern’s plan does.

Collector vehicle plans are designed for owners who use their vehicles mainly for auto club and hobby activities, in addition to using them occasionally for entertaining joy rides. Pleasure drives are much different than your everyday transportation usage such as running errands or driving to and from work. So, they require a plan that matches their special usage. Annual mileage for collector cars usually has limitations of 2,500 to 3,000 miles, except in the case of Street Rods and Customized/Modified vehicles.[2]

What’s most appealing is that a specialty insurance policy can provide considerable savings for the collector car owner, as well. These savings all begin with an “agreed value policy.”

To determine what the agreed value is, you will need to identify (we’re here to help, of course) whether it’s a “professionally restored original” car, an “un-restored original” or a “driver” car.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • A professionally restored original has been restored to its original specifications yet still has the original engine and drive train.
  • An un-restored original is a completely original car that has everything down to the original paint and interior.
  • A driver car, the most common collector car, is still collectible but not worth as much because of changes made to the engine, interior and paint.

In addition, extremely modified collector cars with a custom paint job can warrant a higher value, but these types of cars are few and far between. You can help your client by asking the right questions to determine whether or not modifications warrant an increase in value.

Specialty Guidelines

You’ll want to ask the right questions to make sure your client’s collector vehicle remains within the guidelines of the specialty underwriting rules. And keep in mind, vehicle collectors actually need to purchase a special endorsement to drive to and from work.

Here are a few key questions you can ask your client to assess if the vehicle “lives the lifestyle of a collector vehicle.”

  • How is the vehicle used? For occasional pleasure, car shows, or car club activities? A collector car policy is not intended for vehicles used on a daily basis or standard auto.
  • How many miles is the collector vehicle driven each year?
  • Is the vehicle in good condition for its age?
  • Is the vehicle appreciating in value?
  • Is the car kept in a garage or under a protective covering throughout the year when not in use?

Now it’s time for you to take the wheel. Your job is to make sure your client has the proper physical damage coverage year-round.  That means if the vehicle is stored in the garage for the winter, your customer will need both a Comprehensive and Collision loss plan, and not just a Comprehensive policy only.  Additionally, if they occasionally drive their collector vehicle to work, they’ll need the proper endorsement to cover that additional usage.  Most importantly, if your customer currently has their collector vehicle insured on a standard private passenger auto policy, reach out to them and ensure they purchase a Collector Vehicle policy with all appropriate coverages.  Once the agreed value is settled on, you’re off to the races.

Don’t forget: show your clients why you care about the old cars they collect as much as they do, and how you can best protect their beloved rides. And if you really commit to it, you may even find out why the collector vehicle market is such a fun and rewarding community to be a part of. While the collectors and collectibles have changed, the trend is here to stay.

For information only. Not applicable to all situations.

  Coverage is subject to policy terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, underwriting review, and approval, and may not be available for all risks or in all states. Rates and discounts vary, are determined by many factors and are subject to change. Policies are written by one of the licensed insurers of American Modern Insurance Group, Inc., including American Modern Home Insurance Company d/b/a in CA American Modern Insurance Company (Lic. No 2222-8).

[1] Automobile Magazine. Rory Jurnecka. “The State of the Collector Car Market: May 2018: Where do we stand? Where are we headed? Our experts weigh in.” May 13, 2018.

[2] “Collector Cars Deserve Specialty Coverage.” Rick Drewry. Insurance Journal. August 6, 2012

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Ryan Canter
An authentic self-starter driven by enthusiasm, strategy and results. Love a challenge, value positive behavior, and get excited about just about anything with an engine!