Canadians embracing the classic car market and insurers respond

Published: July 11, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



If you are in the market for a new vehicle in Canada, there is a good chance you may opt for a classic car. Vintage and classic vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in the country and is becoming a big-ticket item for insurance companies.

While classic car insurance has often been a niche covered by specialist providers, the popularity of older vehicles has grown enough that normal insurance companies are taking notice. Hagerty Insurance is the leading classic car insurer and the company says more customers are coming through its doors than ever before.

A classic collector car is a vehicle of specific age. However, not any thirty-year-old junker is considered a classic. Instead, the car must hold its value or appreciate over time, according to Hagerty Canada’s VP James LaClair.

“Hagerty’s collector car insurance policies run on an agreed value system,” LaClair said to Insurance Business. “When we write the policy, we will agree upon a total value given to us by the owner. In the event of a total loss to that vehicle, there will not be any negotiation over the pay-out.

“If there are any concerns about the value of the vehicle, we have people who can go out and make an assessment. Because we write this agreed coverage, we really need to have confidence in the value of the car.”

Some vehicles fit into a one-of-a-kind bracket and are almost invaluable, especially on an emotional level. LaClair says writing a policy for these vehicles is not easy and requires specialist expertise.

“It takes a lot of experience to sort the correct policy for a really special car,” said LaClair. “We spend a lot of our time at auctions to see what’s hot in the market and what sort of price vehicles are being traded for.

“Some cars change hands every year or so and this makes it a bit more difficult to assess their true value. At the other end, you might come across a vintage racing Ferrari, which featured in a famous race with a famous driver – with that you can be looking at millions of dollars.”

One reason why more Canadians are going classic is because the average annual premium is significantly less than normal auto insurance. Indeed, the average policy at Hagerty is $400, hundreds below the national car insurance average. For Ontarians paying over $1,500 on average, classics may be appealing. Of course, the vehicle itself can often be more expensive than a normal car, but Canadians are taking notice of the market.

There are also limitations within the policy, which are often written for pleasure-use only. This means the customers cannot use the classic as a daily driver.