New classic car insurance proposals are a step in the right direction

CLASSIC car connoisseurs of the younger variety are being promised some good news by a company specialising in insurance cover for their prized machines.

Footman James announced at the Classic Industry Forum, held this week at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, that it’s come up with a new set of terms and conditions for enthusiasts aged between 17 and 23, which aim to make the dream of owning and running a classic car more accessible to genuine petrolheads.

Andy Fairchild, the company’s managing director, said: “We have been working hard with our insurance partners to establish a range of criteria that will assist us identify the true classic enthusiast.  Young drivers who purchase classic vehicles as a means of obtaining cheaper insurance are not, in our opinion, true classic enthusiasts and a risk that insurers will not take on – a decision that we fully support.”

“One of the ways of establishing true enthusiasts, in our opinion, is down to whether they are members of a car club.  We have, therefore, selected this as the primary qualifying criteria for the product and as a result, the product will initially be available to members of pre-selected clubs only.”

As someone who’s struggled with classic car policies before, and known of a case where a young enthusiast’s quote for a classic Mini shot up from £600 to an eyewatering four grand overnight due to a company’s change of underwriter, I’m supportive of any efforts to make classic cars more accessible to a new generation of genuine enthusiasts, rather than just cost-cutting youngsters who see classics as a way of cutting corners on their car insurance.

So, what’s at stake for young enthusiasts? For the new terms and conditions, which come into effect next month, the company say enthusiasts must meet the following criteria:

  •     The owner must be a member of one of the pre-selected clubs
  •     The car must have been manufactured in or before 1985
  •     The owner must have use of or own a second vehicle for everyday use.
  •     The owner must limit their mileage to 3000 or 5000 miles per year.
  •     The owner must have a maximum of one non-fault claim or minor conviction.
  •     The car must be parked off the road or garaged

Which seems fair enough (although how that’ll help one girl I know, who owns a 1972 Mini as her only car but who otherwise meets all of Footman’s criteria, I’ve no idea), particularly as it’d stop the scourge of “crash-for-cash” one insurance expert told me about – teenagers buying a classic car on the cheap, crashing it deliberately and then hammering the insurance companies for the resultant compensation. Classic car insurance, logically, should be for classic car enthusiasts – people who cherish their old cars, no matter how old the owners themselves are.

However, the acid test will be whether what Footman – and, no doubt, other classic insurers when they inevitably follow suit – are proposing actually translates into cheaper and more accessible cover for genuine classic car fans who are being hammered through no real fault of their own.

Classic cars are a passion which we twentysomethings are happy to pay out for, but not when it’s over the odds.

Are you a young classic car owner who’s struggling to get cover? Let us know what you think of the proposals by sending an email to david.simister@hotmail.co.uk or by leaving a comment below…

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