Most auto insurance can and should be handled by mainstream insurers, but there are times when you should consider a specialist insurance company. Classic cars, also known as motor cars, are outside of a regular insurance agent’s expertise. Import cars are another example of vehicles that most domestic agents are ill-equipped to handle. They might, for example, be uninformed about the local availability of replacement parts, or whether the vehicle is a grey or parallel import. Of course, any of these facts can be researched by a less experienced agent, but get a much better premium from professionals who know the true value of your car.
Whether or not you should get import car insurance from a specialist will largely depend on whether your car is a grey or parallel import. Grey imports are cars manufactured expressly for the sale in their respective market, so that when they’re imported, it’s unlikely that they conform to domestic regulations. This is not always a liability. Japanese imports are usually manufactured to higher specifications than cars made in most other countries. Parallel imports are designed in a foreign country, and often manufactured in that country, but also have local distributors for both the vehicles themselves and their parts. To keep your premiums to a minimum, try to avoid making any modifications to the import.
Motor car insurance purchased from a specialist will almost always be a better value in the long run, especially when it’s time to file a claim. Most auto insurance policies are based on the Actual Cash Value of the car, which includes depreciation. This makes sense for new cars, but not for vintage cars that actually increase in value over time.
Since specialists have a more intimate knowledge of a classic car’s value, you’re at an advantage if you base your insurance policy on the Agreed Value instead of the Actual Cash Value. Not only will you avoid being docked for depreciation when you file a claim, but you won’t have to pay a deductible. Another option is to insure for the Declared Value, meaning that you’re compensated for the amount that you state the car is worth at the time the policy first goes into effect. While this is more logical than insuring for the Actual Value, you still have to contend with depreciation and deductibles on Declared Value policies, so you’re still better off opting for a plan that’s based on Declared Value