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Rachel Kuntz, MA
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      You finally got an old truck. You find you only drive it a little bit each year. Or maybe you're in the process of restoring it. Or, she's your daily driver. Whatever the case, and whether it's a beater or a trailer queen, there are insurance issues that make this a different process from insuring your late-model vehicle. Rachel Kuntz, a licensed insurance agent with Master's degree in Business and series 6 and 63 securities licenses, prepared a great "info sheet" to help you understand some of what's going on in the insurance world. You may contact her regarding specific questions on your vehicle.

      Thanks to Kimberly McDowall for helping put this together.


To properly insure your old truck, here's a few things you should know.

      Insuring classic automobiles can be difficult. There are many reasons. Often, owners arenít sure what the value is, the vehicle doesnít fall into a typical category, or the insurer may not be familiar with classic automobiles. Sometimes, just finding an insurer who wants to work with you can be difficult. One of the best ways to insure a classic vehicle is to belong to a classic automobile hobbyist group. Many groups offer special insurance benefits to their members, provided by insurers who specialize in insuring classic automobiles. Unfortunately, not all groups have access to such benefits and many classic vehicle hobbyists must seek out specialty insurance on their own.

      Every insurer is different, so it is essential for the vehicle owner to ask the right questions and provide the insurer with the proper information. Doing so can make the process a little less stressful and more productive.

      Here are some tips to help with the insuring process:

      1. Ensure that your insurance agent is willing to work with you. Many are unfamiliar with classic vehicles and will either refuse to write a policy or push your classic vehicle into high-risk categories when it isnít necessarily warranted. Insurance is calculated using claims histories on a company-by-company basis. If one insurance provider doesnít have a history of claims on a given classic vehicle, rates tend to be very high. Donít be afraid to shop around for an insurance agent who understands you and is willing to act as your advocate.

      2. If you have a larger classic truck, such as a 1.5 or 2-ton Stovebolt, it may be more difficult to find an agent. This is an instance where your relationship is important. There is no arbitrary weight limit that will force you and your truck into a ďcommercialĒ class. The claims histories on these vehicles are very limited, which leads to problems for many hobbyists. Put your agentís experience and enthusiasm to work for you to select an appropriate insurer for your Big Bolt. Commercial insurers are an option, as well as those catering to farmers because many of these vehicles are still routinely used in rural areas.

      3. At the outset, establish an agreed value for your vehicle. If you fail to do this when you initially prepare the policy, you may have trouble settling with your insurer in the event of a loss. The owner should insure the classic at an agreed value to avoid this from happening. If you are currently working on your classic vehicle, it is recommended that you increase the value of your agreed value at least every year, or as often as progress on your project increases its overall value.

      4. Make certain that the classic is insured for its purpose and know the policy restrictions. For example, some insurers will only insure classics within a 250-mile radius of the ownerís home. It may be better to insure a classic for unlimited distances from home with yearly limited mileage. Many companies offer policies for vehicles driven under 5000 or 7500 miles annually, which usually is quite suitable for most classic vehicle owners.

      5. Make certain that you are adequately insured. Even though you may not drive your classic vehicle as much as one driven to and from work, donít try and cut costs by underinsuring your liability limits. According to a recent insurance publication, the average cost of a lawsuit due to an automobile accident is over $290,000, so donít lower your insurance liability limits just because your classic isnít driven everyday.

      6. Is your vehicle in storage or undergoing restoration and not drivable? Make sure you consult your agent regarding what is appropriate coverage given the storage and use of your vehicle to make sure your vehicle is still covered in the event of a loss -- If the garage were lost, such as with a fire, the property insurance may not cover the vehicle, or cover it only for $1,000 or less. In other cases, a stored vehicle may be damaged or destroyed if another vehicle were to plow into the building Ė damaging the classic. In that case, the vehicleís collision insurance may be used to cover the damage while property insurance would not.

      7. If you cannot find insurance coverage that fits your classic auto, contact your local Insurance Department for a listing of insurance companies that specialize in classic autos. Or try the Insurance Section of the Links Page

v. October 2005

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