Classic cars are collectors’ items for a reason. Successful ownership usually requires a motoring knowledge and dedication of time far beyond that of the average driver.
A classic car is traditionally defined as a car that’s over 20 years old - but can be much older - so it goes hand in hand that these cars aren’t known for their overall reliability. The older they get, the more prone they are to technical issues.
If you combine this with the likelihood that repairing a classic vehicle may well prove more challenging than a standard car, then the need for comprehensive breakdown cover becomes ever more significant.
In some cases, the financial value of such a vehicle might also be higher than a modern counterpart, while any parts required to fix it could also be trickier to source.
Getting the right classic car breakdown cover is therefore essential. Knowing the ins and outs of a policy is advisable in any case, but perhaps none more so for a classic car owner.
With varying values, versions and definitions involved, it’s possible certain makes and models may be excluded from some policies altogether - don’t be tempted to assume anything.
Where do I start?
As with classic car insurance, breakdown policy options to protect such a vehicle can vary significantly.
Conducting a thorough search and comparing all options available to suit your own individual circumstances is advisable, therefore.
Some breakdown providers affiliate themselves with specific motoring groups, so anyone claiming membership of a such an organisation may wish to consider the options available here too.
Some classic car clubs offer discounted prices or advice on insurers which are known to cover vehicles similar to the one you own already, for example.
In any case, online services like Protect Your Family can help you conduct a thorough search of the wider market - an essential exercise for classic car owners whose insurance needs are likely to differ from that of a regular motorist.
Levels of cover
At its most basic, a breakdown policy for a classic car should cover both roadside assistance and local recovery. You may wish to purchase add-on features or a more comprehensive policy from here, but this ideally is the standard fit for all.
Depending on your vehicle's age, and any other relevant details, you might then want to consider one of the four following additional cover options:
If your car won't start at home (often more likely with a classic car), then home assistance provides additional cover if your car won't start while you’re at, or close to, your home address.
As with many standard policies, onward travel cover offers a replacement vehicle, accommodation costs and any other specified expenses required to be covered in a breakdown situation, where necessary.
If you're looking to take part in an organised tour nationally, or visit your favourite classic car show for example, then you’ll need national recovery to protect your vehicle when driving it away from home. If it can't be fixed nearby, then your vehicle and a specified number of passengers are usually eligible for recovery to any mainland destination.
Weaving your way across the world in a vintage vehicle might sound idyllic but has all the makings of a disaster should you breakdown in unfamiliar climes, and without being able to speak the language, along the way.
European cover is generally available for up to 31 days per trip, and 90 days a year in total, to protect you and your motor from all out catastrophe. Always notify your insurer of any upcoming trips you have planned, however. With rules and regulations differing between countries, it's important to let them know how long you'll be away for, and where you're planning to go.
If your classic car isn't your only car you might decide to stick with breakdown cover only, but in all other cases it's advisable to consider the benefits of personal cover too. This might be available to you as a package as part of your wider car insurance policy, so it's worth checking what benefits might be available to you as an individual driving a classic car, as well as regarding recovery of the vehicle itself.
In any instance, properly insuring a classic car against the complexities of roadside recovery often requires specific policy provisions which are not always available elsewhere. As always, make sure the breakdown cover you decide to go for is best suited to your individual, classic car needs.