The age of your car has an impact on your car insurance rates. As it gets older, you may notice your car insurance premium changing. But it’s not just vehicle age that car insurance companies look at; the make and model of your car matters too. If you’re wondering how to insure your older car and what you can do to get cheaper insurance, Bankrate’s expert insurance editorial team has the answers.

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Is it more expensive to insure an older car?

While new cars are sometimes thought to be more expensive to insure due to their value, it’s possible that older cars can be costly as well. Although they may have a lower value, older cars may also have expensive parts that could make repairs expensive. The older a car gets, the harder it may be to source these parts for repair, which can also drive up the cost of car insurance on older cars. Additionally, older cars may not have as many safety features as newer cars, which could increase the cost of auto insurance and reduce available discounts.

Premiums for each make and model differ between insurance companies because each uses its own rating structure. A vehicle’s repair price, anti-theft and safety features are factors used to determine the final premium. In some cases, an older car may be cheaper to insure than a newer one due to not needing full coverage if its value is significantly depreciated.

Vehicles with low depreciation

A brand new car can lose as much as 10%-20% of its value in its first year, and 15% each year thereafter. After five years, a vehicle could be worth around 40% of its original purchase price. When buying a new car, depreciation is certainly a factor many drivers consider, but less might realize that depreciation can affect their car insurance premium and coverage choices too.

While all cars are prone to depreciation, some makes and models depreciate a little slower than others. Kelly Blue Book determined that some of the best value-holding vehicles of the year include the Toyota Tundra, GMC Sierra and Toyota Tacoma.

If you’re considering buying an older car, you can request a quote for the vehicle and compare the estimated premium to the car’s value to determine how much coverage would be sufficient.

What kind of insurance do I need for an older car?

If you have an older car, you may be wondering, “Do I need collision insurance on an old car?” or even “Do I need comprehensive insurance on an older car?” Neither option is an individual insurance policy and choosing whether to purchase collision or comprehensive coverage is optional. However, the decision may be dependent on other factors. With a loan on your old car, the lender may require you to carry these coverage types to satisfy the terms of your loan or lease agreement. If you own an older car, you have more options to consider when choosing auto insurance coverage.

Comprehensive and collision coverage are physical damage coverage options that can pay to repair or replace your older car if it is damaged by a covered claim. If you can afford to fix or replace your older car without insurance, you may not need either coverage. However, if you cannot afford it, then you might consider keeping these coverage options to protect your finances. A general rule of thumb used by insurance professionals in deciding on whether to maintain physical damage coverage is the 10% rule. In this case, when the coverage costs over 10% of the car’s replacement value, it may not be worth keeping the coverage.

No matter how old your car is, you are required to carry state minimum liability limits or prove financial responsibility to register it and legally drive on roads. Each state has its own requirements, which must be met and maintained for as long as the car is registered and tagged. If you can afford more than the state minimum liability insurance, it can provide greater financial protection and is recommended by most insurance experts.

State minimum insurance

State minimum insurance is the least amount of liability coverage you must have to register and drive your car. Some states also require personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments and uninsured motorist coverage. To determine the minimum amount of coverage required in your state, you could visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website, click on your state and then click “visit website” on the right side to go to your state’s insurance website.

An example of state minimum insurance limits for Alabama requirements:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

These limits are the most the insurance company will pay if you cause an accident with injuries or property damage to others. In some states, you could be sued for anything over the limits, making it important to consider purchasing as much coverage as you can afford.

Classic cars vs. older cars

While a classic car is an older car, there are key differences between the types of coverage offered for each type. Auto insurance for older cars that are not considered classic can generally be part of a standard auto insurance policy. However, a classic car may be insured under a specialty insurance product, offering unique coverage not found on the average policy.

A classic car is usually 20 years or older and has collectible value that typically exceeds its original sale price. Even with added features not offered in standard auto insurance, classic car insurance is usually cheaper. Some insurance companies only offer coverage as a specialty auto insurance policy, while others offer it in addition to standard insurance coverage.

Insuring a classic car

When insuring a classic car, you should consider the coverage options available, like restoration and spare parts coverage. If you take the car to shows, there may also be additional protection for trip interruption and other expenses that may arise.

Some insurance companies allow you to choose between agreed value and stated value. Agreed value is one that both you and the insurance company agree on, and if the car is damaged or totaled, you may receive the cost to repair or the agreed value, whichever is less. Stated value allows you to choose the amount of coverage, which could be less than what the car is worth, but may limit how much you receive if the car is damaged.

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