What do I need to know about classic car insurance?

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Q. In 2000 I had two cars on standard insurance with the maximum no-claims bonus. In 2001 I bought two classic vehicles and put them on a “classic car” policy. I then found I could add my existing two (non-classic) cars and pay a very good combined annual premium. Now I’m looking at buying a Ford Ka as a runaround, but despite 53 years of no-claims driving I am told by insurers that I must work on zero no-claims bonus. Is there a way round this? DC, Rugby

A. With almost all classic-car insurance policies you do not accrue a no-claims discount and your no-claims record is not taken into account when you take out the policy.

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The premium is based rather on information such as the age of the car, its value and an agreed mileage. This means that, unless you take out another (modern car) policy, your no-claims discount usually expires after a couple of years.

However, Footman James (footmanjames.co.uk), a specialist in classic-vehicle insurance, told us its multicar policy works slightly differently. This is for drivers wishing to insure their classic and modern vehicles on the same policy (provided thelatter do not outnumber the former). Such motorists continue to build up or maintain a no-claims bonus on their modern cars.

One consolation for you is that if you do separate your modern cars from your current policy, you will need only one year’s claim-free driving on a new policy to see your premium drop significantly — by as much as 30%. You may also be able to find a broker willing to factor in your exemplary driving record, at least to an extent. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (biba.org.uk) can recommend companies.

It is worth noting that premiums in general are beginning to go up after a period of falling prices, and the chancellor has scheduled a rise in insurance premium tax — from 6% to 9.5% — for next month.

Your premiums may also go up as you get older, gradually in your seventies and more steeply in your eighties.

Sunday Times Driving Car Clinic: Emma Smith, consumer advice

Emma Smith is a journalist specialising in consumer issues and is a regular Driving contributor – read more from Emma here.

Email your question to carclinic@sunday-times.co.uk or write to Car Clinic, Driving, The Sunday Times, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF, with a daytime phone number,
your address and as much detail about your car as possible. We can’t reply in person, so don’t send original documents or SAEs. Advice is given without legal responsibility.