Insurance On Old Cars

The communally reinforced mantra is that collision coverage pays little for old cars. My experience is contrary. I had generic collision and comprehensive coverage on my Nova. They were for “market value,” or what someone would pay for the car on the open market. Market value itself already factors age, so it is not like there are additional deductions because of age.

I got a check for about 5800% of what I paid for semiannual collision and comprehensive premiums. I only had to substantiate the car’s value with receipts and comparable sales ads. A 58:1 ratio is a good payout. (By the way, the insurer assessed my car at double the value of a 2001 appraisal; some appraisers are apparently idiots.)

With my experience, I have to question the value of “agreed value” insurance. Unless there is something extremely unusual about the car (e.g., it’s a Tucker or a real Yenko Nova with 5,000 miles), it is easy to determine actual market value for the vast majority of old cars.

Also: “stated value” insurance is just a crippled market-value policy. It only means that in the event of a total loss the insurer’s maximum payout is the stated value. It does not guarantee that you get the stated value. (See If you have the choice, I think a plain vanilla collision policy is far better than a “stated value” policy.

If you have a street driven car, and your car’s actual cash value (minus deductible) is significantly higher than the premium (I would shoot for at least a 20:1 ratio), then I think vanilla collision and comprehensive coverage is smart.

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