You may not believe it but one of my passions is actually antique motor cars! Now, most articles on antique classic cars deal with car history and pedigree and how wonderful it can be own them. You often even get to read about how to find mechanics and spares for these cars. There’s one part to the antique car ownership experience that is often neglected though – storage and insurance.
There was something in the news recently about how these days, all films in the national archives are stored on hard disks. The only problem with this is that hard disks need to be spun up every once in a while. Leave them there like you would a book in a library, and a year or so later, they freeze and become completely unusable. You’ve seen those television shows about some lucky rich guy in Malibu or somewhere else who has a garage full of Rovers and E-Type Jags. The way they look, it’s they’re always standing there. The thing is though, that storing antique classic cars is all about keeping them moving often. An old car that just stands there for even a month can be far worse off for the experience.
The upholstery begins to fall apart with that kind of disuse. The tires begin to crack, the engine and transmission begin to seize, the batteries die, the fuel lines choke up, and so on. First-time classic car owners often just put their cars under a big old tarp and store them nicely all through winter and hope that in May, they can fire ‘em up and just rip through the spring air. Unfortunately, a car that just sits in the garage all through winter will barely be able to move come spring.
Before you store your car in winter, give her some detailing. That should take the best part of the problems.
Drive your car one last time before you put it in for storage for winter. And when the engine is still warm, drain out the oil, pack the universal joints with grease, refill your brake lines, drain out your fuel lines and your gas tank, drain out your radiator and the entire cooling system, disconnect the batteries, and raise the car up on jacks so that the tires aren’t holding anything up. Cracking a window before you put a big tarp on the car would be a good idea too.
Antique classic cars should usually be insured with specialty insurance companies that offer specialized programs. Companies like American Collectors Insurance and Silent Autos are particularly well-equipped.
With regular car insurance, they take depreciation into account when they value your car and compensate you went there is a problem. With specialty antique car insurance, they recognize how a classic is something that appreciates in value. They take into account how a classic is usually not driven that much too. This gets you a lower price than you might get with a regular insurance company.