Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Nov 12, 2020

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Wow! You were in a car accident and now you are stuck without any vehicle because you had no coverage on that elderly vehicle of yours. You figured that you should not waste the money on it and looking back (because hindsight is always 20/20), you find that you should have listened to those other people. Unfortunately, it’s too late for you now, but if you are considering getting insurance after the fact, take a look at our guide below – we have the lowdown on what you need and you need it when you are insuring an older vehicle.

Insuring an old car can be tricky, but remember – old cars need insurance too! (Image source – FLICKR)

The Lowdown

It’s cheaper to drive a car that you don’t have a lien on right? Of course it is! Why do people drive old cars? They love them. You don’t owe money to other people, and it’s all yours free and clear. The car might be something that you have had for your whole life and you are attached to it. It’s “memories on wheels”. Or you might have just gotten a great deal on it! Either way, you still have to insure it – it’s the law!

Car insurance can be pricey. You might end up spending more money on it then you need to, which is why you need to beware of those curious salespersons and have your facts before you walk into that car insurance office.

According to research from R.L Polk and Co. there are more then 240 million cars and light trucks on the road. It’s climbing every day. Drivers in this poor economy don’t want to let go of their old cars. It’s just sensible. Therefore, there are more and more older vehicles on the road each and everyday. And these cars should be insured just like new cars are – otherwise the damage and pocketbooks of these people that are trying to save money would be destroyed and there would have been no point to it all. Remember – car insurance is required; you just cannot ignore that. Plus, if you get pulled over and cannot prove insurance then you will be fined upwards of $400!

Used cars, older cars come in dents and scratches, cherry mint and bubble rust-there is no end to what you can find. For many of us that means that they have good old fashioned character. So now that you have decided to purchase that older car it’s time learn what to buy for insurance coverage and what not to buy.

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Types of Car Insurance Coverage for an Old Car

First, you have to know that you don’t need to pay for more than you need on insurance for that car or light truck. In fact, car insurance, according to US Department of Transportation, costs 8% of a persons annual income. Your income should be protected and if you have an older or used vehicle then you too can opt for the lesser coverage options. The options are cheaper however when you have an older car, so you are going to save a bunch no matter what.

Auto insurance is legally required, even if your car is not worth much money you are still required to have auto insurance. It protects you and anyone who might ride in your car. Remember, no matter how old your car is you can still get into an accident. After all you have a tons of metal with a force driving upwards from 65 mph hitting the roads and byways. If you hit someone else you’re going to have to pay for damages.

Insurance coverage for an older car usually includes liability coverage (which includes property damage and bodily injury coverage). For further protection, you need to have something like uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection/medical payments coverage.

If your car is older and valued at less than the deductible on the vehicle you can look into something like collision and comprehensive coverage. If your car gets totaled because it was old, you still could not get enough money to cover the price it costs to fix it. So, limited liability and cheaper collision package options should be something that you purchase for your older vehicle.

Older cars breakdown often, right? You might have to shimmy the starter with a pencil to start the car. But the fact remains that the unpredictably of an older car can make it all to easy to break down. Some used car owners, because of this, opt to get coverage options like towing and labor coverage. This coverage type will help you out in times of need, and frankly, that’s all that matters.

Understanding These Coverage Types

Liability Coverage

The first thing you need to know about this option is that it will pay for damages you caused to another party in an accident.  It is comprised of two areas. First, bodily injury-which may cover each person in the car with a maximum payout (depending on your state) of $50,000 for injury or accident and another for property damage up to 50,000. Coverage limits for liability insurance all depends on your carrier and the coverage options that you choose (as well as your state minimums).

This coverage protects you if you were the one who forgot to look both ways when crossing the street and drove your old clunker out into on coming traffic. It’s your fault that the accident happened in the first place and people may get hurt. If they do you will be liable for their injuries. So, if you have an old car or a new car this option is important. But, as always don’t pay for more insurance on the vehicle then the vehicle itself is worth.

Uninsured Coverage

This means the other person you get into an accident with does not have insurance. There are still people out there who try to skirt around without opting for insurance coverage (or, they simply cannot afford it). So having coverage like this protects you. Why? If that other person has no coverage and they are driving around and hit you they cannot pay to for your damages.

Some people with older cars decide not to carry this option, and then there are others who do. Ask your insurance agent if this coverage is important for your older car.  Everybody’s situation is different.

Towing coverage

This might be something you are interested in if you are driving a clunker. You can opt for coverage like this that will help you when you can no longer get around. It might behoove you and it’s cheaper to bundle this option in your insurance company than it is to purchase separately.  Towing coverage will be there to help tow your broken down vehicle out of a tight spot.  It can come in handy more often than you would think (especially if you are dealing with an older car).

The reality of purchasing insurance for an older car is that if you get in accident you might not be able to save the car. It’s old, it’s devalued and the insurance company won’t pay to fix it. That is why it is important to make sure that your deductible is not more than the value of the car. But,make sure that you know what your car is worth, look up the blue book value and then read into the policies that your insurer is offering you. With the right car and the right coverage all will be well.