Castleacre Insurance broker, Lee Rand , a self-confessed devotee of fast cars, explores some of the main areas for consideration when buying and insuring high value high performance cars.
Does the vehicle you want to insure already have a tracker or will you need to install one? Expensive cars are vulnerable to theft and while some insurers will fit a tracker as part of their service others will ask owners to put this in place themselves. Most insurers in this market require a Thatcham Category 5 tracker (or above) fitted to vehicles valued at over £85,000.
2.Main Driver Experience
If you have no experience of owning or driving a vehicle with a powerful engine spec you may have problems finding insurance. For example, most insurers won’t cover a 25 year old who has changed from a Ford Focus ST to a Lamborghini Aventador V10 overnight. Insurers are happier to take on a risk if they know you have driven something of a similar performance level previously – this is not based on value but engine handling experience, and so if you have driven a lower value car with a powerful engine this will be considered.
Do you have a secure place to keep the vehicle overnight? Most insurers will understandably stipulate that high value vehicles are kept in a locked garage, so if you live in London and plan to street park your car, you are unlikely to get cover, although an insurer may be willing to take on the risk if it is on a private gated driveway.
Who else will be driving the vehicle? Although insurers are particular about the experience of the main named driver most will offer cover for any additional driver over 30, regardless of previous experience or driving history. This is particularly useful for anyone who moves their vehicles around a lot, and who might need employees to assist them with this (say for example a PA taking his boss’s Audi R8 for its annual MOT whilst the client himself is out of the country). It is important to declare to the insurer exactly who will be using your vehicle and their age otherwise cover can be invalidated.
If you plan to get the most out of your vehicle with some track driving experience you should check with your insurer in advance – very few insurers offer this type of cover because of the risk involved when pushing a vehicle to its limits. Currently I am only aware of 2 insurers who offer track day cover (Hiscox and Dual). This is particularly important for any car collectors who like to get full enjoyment out of their vehicles.
6.Like for like Car Hire
Not all insurers will offer like for like vehicle hire if you do have to take your car to a garage for repair, or need a courtesy vehicle in the event of total loss. You may be the type of Aston Martin owner who doesn’t mind driving a Ford Mondeo whilst your vehicle is in the workshop but if you would rather drive a comparable car to the one you own make sure you read the small print of your policy before you sign.
For owners of high value cars (particularly classics) a policy which offers an agreed value in the event of a major claim makes the most sense and can help ensure you don’t lose thousands of pounds if you are unlucky enough to face a total loss. If you ask the best insurers in this market for an agreed value in advance, they will offer it at no additional cost.
Insurers will often ask how much mileage you intend to do over the course of the year and this can make a big difference to your premium. There is no point insuring a vehicle for 10,000 miles per annum if it is only used for the weekend trip to town when the sun is shining (which in the UK is rare!) The lower the MPA, the better the premium will be.
It is always a good idea to place a high value vehicle with an insurer who really understands the complexities associated with these cars. These insurers offer important additional benefits – such as allowing the client to choose their own garage for repairs, regardless of cost. A claim from a fairly minor incident that we looked after for a client resulted in a significant repair bill. Why? Because the rarity of their vehicle meant that only one garage in the country was able to handle it. The insurer was happy to arrange this for the client to ensure that the vehicle was repaired to the highest standard.
Finally don’t forget the often overlooked benefit of Key Cover. Keys on standard cars are becoming increasingly expensive to replace and many non-specialist insurers do not offer this cover as standard. For anyone with a high value vehicle key replacement costs can be astonishingly high, for instance replacing a BMW i8 touch screen fob costs of a minimum of £1,000+VAT.
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