Skip to content

Why do I need Classic Car Insurance or Classic Bike Insurance?

26 January 2023

Do you cherish your classic car? Treasure your classic motorcycle? Then treat it to a classic car insurance or classic bike insurance policy!

We could sit here and debate what makes a classic vehicle, err classic until your policy is due to renew next year, but whatever policy yardsticks your vehicle must vault to qualify, here are a few general ‘rules’ worth knowing.

Why do I need Classic car insurance or classic bike insurance? - 3 classic cars     Top 5 Motorcycles of the Second World War

Classic Vehicles – the legal definition

In the eyes of the DVLA, a vehicle is classed as ‘historic’ when it reaches 40 years old – that’s four decades since it was built, remember. Many cars or bikes were registered months or even years after they were actually produced, so check your VIN – yours might be classed as historic sooner than you think. Other old vehicle categories include; Veteran (pre-WW1), Vintage (1919-1930) and Post-vintage (1931-1945).

Historic classification is a useful acknowledgement from the powers that be of the importance of classic vehicles in our society while also rewarding both the effort and funds needed to preserve and share transport from another era with the next generation. The exemption of road tax, and the annual MoT, are designed to offset cost, while also recognising that classic car and bike owners tend to take better care of their vehicles – though the ins and outs of the latter decision is a whole other topic…


Modern classics

The grey area for enthusiast car and bike owners comes when your cherished vehicle doesn’t fall into any of the pre-defined categories above. What if you own a modern classic? These are significant machines, with an enthusiast following, yet to cross the 40-year threshold. That’s where an insurer who understands the classic scene is all the more important. Plonk the details of your 20-year old hot hatch into a generic price comparison site and chances are, the policies it spits out will be more expensive, less flexible and won’t cater for your specific needs anywhere near as comprehensively (pun intended) as a tailor-made classic car policy.

A classic car insurance or classic bike insurance policy should be provided by an insurer who ‘gets’ the classic movement – like us here at Peter James. Many mainstream insurers simply don’t bother – classic policies take expert inside knowledge and interest in old cars to create in the first place. The reasons for covering your classic with a tailor-made policy are myriad and often bespoke to individual insurers, but here’s our top 5 reasons why, if you love your vehicle, you need to insure it the classic way, with us here at Peter James.



We can all relate to this familiar exchange… You’re on the phone to your generic insurer and you’ve told them the make and model of your old car, only to be met with deafening silence or a clueless suggestion. It’s not the handler’s fault, of course, classic policies, by their nature, demand a greater understanding, which is why you’re unlikely to have to repeat yourself, explain what you own and why it should be considered a classic. We have nearly 40 years of experience with insuring classic vehicles here at Peter James, so we will not only understand how specialist your vehicle is, but we will be genuinely excited to hear all about it! We are enthusiasts too.



The traditional classic car and bike season (in the UK) runs from spring to autumn – with most owners tucking their cherished classics away for the winter. Whether it’s in storage, getting some much-needed care and maintenance, or even a total restoration, a classic car or bike policy usually has a provision to keep you covered during longer periods of storage. Laid-up cover, for example, can greatly reduce your annual cost whilst keeping your classic protected from accidental damage, fire and theft.




While we’re on the subject of cost, a classic car policy will usually set you back a lot less than a modern daily-driven car policy. That’s because, in the eyes of the insurer, a classic car or classic bike owner is a much safer bet than your average motorist. There are many reasons for this but chiefly it’s because classic cars and bikes tend to be cherished, only used for occasional leisure outings. Peter James offer a variety of limited mileage options which could reduce the policy cost even further.

The easiest way to reduce the cost of your premium is to join a car or bike club – especially one that has a specific partnership with us here at Peter James. We have recently launched new and exclusive schemes with the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club and the Vintage Motor Cycle Club.

Club memberships can not only reduce your premium, but could also unlock all sorts of extra benefits and product features. To find out more about how we work with clubs, click here.




There are often great bolt-ons to classic car policies that you just won’t find on a comparison site. As mentioned above, we can offer discounts for members of classic car clubs partnered with us, for significant savings. Agreed value pays out what your car’s truly worth, should the worst happen, rather than just giving you ‘market value’. If your car is exceptionally rare, has undergone an extensive restoration or has had a famous former owner, agreed value takes all this into account. By agreeing the value of the car up front you can take away all of the uncertainty of what the car would be worth if the worst should happen. Salvage retention also permits you to get back your classic after an accident, allowing you to either repair it yourself or remove hard to source parts. Let’s be honest, breakdown cover is not only helpful it’s essential, as is multi-car cover – one classic is rarely enough.

With a Peter James multi-vehicle policy you can combine classic cars and bikes, modern cars and bikes as well as commercial vehicles on one policy with the convenience of a single renewal date. Additionally, our classic car insurance and classic bike insurance policies will include UK & EU Breakdown Cover as well as Agreed Value as standard.



Don’t worry, you don’t need to call HR, we’re talking about classic insurance services tailored to you. Classic insurers don’t deal with you as if you’re a statistic – there’s no one size fits all classic insurance customer. Our team at Peter James have the knowledge of your car and hobby that allow us to quickly and effectively understand the cover you need. We only have a UK call centre, based in the Midlands, where you can get in touch with a real human without sitting in a queue for hours on end. It’s like going back and doing business in the old days, when your cherished car was contemporary.

So, don’t spend time on the insurance aggregators or insure with a non-specialist provider. Talk to Peter James today!

Get A Quote

To get a quote, call 0121 274 5400 or get a quick quote by answering just 6 questions by clicking one of the links below.

Quick Quote – Classic Car Insurance

Quick Quote – Classic Bike Insurance

Latest in the Blog

Meet Josh – the lucky lad who got loaned a Triumph Herald

Peter James Insurance is proud to sponsor the Classic Car Loan project and help inspire and enthuse tomorrow’s classic vehicle owners. Over the coming weeks and months, we aim...

The AJS 1954 500cc Grand Prix racer

Our motorcycling legend, Bruce Cox, returns with another fascinating story from the world of historic bikes.  A “Porcupine” Without the Spikes! The original AJS 500cc Grand Prix contender made...

Twitter feed is not available at the moment.