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Ask the insurer - Insurance tips from Footman James

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It might be far from the most enjoyable thing about owning a classic car, but choosing the correct insurance policy is crucial in making sure your pride and joy is fully protected.

With the rising costs of living and indeed motoring, combined with a huge range of different policy choices in the current marketplace, making sure you get the right one is not so easy, so taking the time to talk to a specialist is time well spent.

Fortunately, Andy Fairchild, of specialist insurance broker Footman James is on hand, to make the choice that bit easier and provide some money saving tips to help keep classic enthusiasts on the road.

T: Find a policy that includes your chosen extras as standard.

Most Footman James motor policies include European and UK breakdown cover, legal expenses cover, road rage personal accident cover and emergency travel cover.

Some companies may not include these as standard, so if you are shopping round for insurance, you must remember that any price comparison has to take all differences into account.

Different brokers include different services as standard, so it is essential that you find out exactly what you are getting for your money. That is the only way to truly compare policies.

T: Ensure you obtain the true value for your classic in the event of a write-off or it is stolen, this way you will not be out of pocket.

Heaven forbid your pride and joy should come to grief, but if that fateful situation should arise, Footman James' policies offer an 'agreed value' option. This means the vehicle's true value is confirmed when you first take out the policy taking any extra stress away in the event of a claim.

T: If you have more than one car to insure, save money with a multi vehicle policy.

If you are the proud owner of more than one classic vehicle, we offer customers multi-vehicle cover, which allows drivers to insure several classics on one policy.

This may result in a lower premium, and means motorists can spend their time enjoying their classics, and only have to remember the one renewal date instead of several.

Multi-vehicle cover makes life a whole lot easier for classics collectors and provides better value for money.

Footman James is also aware that most classics owners might not want to risk taking their much-loved vehicle on everyday errands such as the terrifying weekly supermarket run, and instead have a modern vehicle as their 'daily run-around'.

In most instances we allow for modern vehicles to be included on our multi-vehicle policies, providing the majority of the vehicles on the policy are classified as 'classic'.

T: If you don't notch up many miles in your classic, you can benefit from a cheaper premium by limiting the mileage.

If your classic only hits the road on the few occasions when the British sun shines, there's an ideal option for you.

The limited mileage option is the choice of many of our classic vehicle customers as they genuinely only use their vehicles periodically through the year and therefore benefit from a cheaper premium. Mileage options usually come in various bands, such as 1500, 3000 and 4500 miles per year.

It works on the principle that the fewer miles you drive, the less your risk of an accident.

Many makes and models that are more than 30 years old automatically qualify for unlimited mileage, which is usually charged at the same premium as the 3000-mile option.

T: When storing your classic away in the garage during the winter months, remember your insurance – it's the law!

When it's the end of the show season and the winter weather has set in, many classics are stowed away safe in the garage, however, with the change in the law, many classics owners may find they have not insured their vehicle sufficiently nor have the correct paperwork in place.

Laid-up insurance may be the most cost-effective way of providing adequate cover for any vehicle that's not due to go anywhere under its own steam for a while, yet Footman James, reminds enthusiasts that they still need to complete a statutory off road notification (SORN), surrender their tax disc and re-apply for a new one at a later date.

Under the continuous insurance ruling it is an offence to own a vehicle without having valid motor insurance – this includes while a vehicle is off the road undergoing restoration or repair works.

The alternative for classic owners is to retain their existing on-road policy, particularly if they are only planning to take their pride and joy off the road for a couple of months over the winter. The important thing is to ensure you have the correct cover and renew prior to the renewal date.

The government is clamping down on uninsured and untaxed vehicles, and has a motor insurance database – a nationwide bureau to cross-reference car registrations with insurance details, which the police have immediate access to. This means that a car stored away without SORN or a valid tax disc is detectable.

According to the DVLA, the continuous insurance ruling affects all vehicles apart from those

which have not been used on the road and were last taxed before 31st January 1998, which will be exempt.

For independent advice and information on Continuous Insurance Enforcement please refer to www.direct.gov.uk/stayinsured or www.askMID.com

T: If you have made a few changes to your classic, let your insurer know as you may not be covered in the event of a claim.

We know how tempting it is to give your pride and joy that extra oomph under the bonnet, but before you set about it, make sure your insurance provider is told about any modifications to your vehicle. To put it bluntly, if you don't declare any changes made, your insurance could be invalid.

Very small alterations are unlikely to effect your current premium however all changes must be declared.

When the weather takes a turn for the worst some classic owners have decided to play it safe and change their tyres to winter ones. Some insurers may class the change as a modification and increase the premiums accordingly, but not at Footman James! We would like to know about it though, so please pick up the phone and advise us of the change and we will make a note on your file.

T: If you are a member of a car club you can receive further insurance benefits.

Our club insurance schemes offer members competitive club rates on their classic car as well as household, modern car, classic bike and modern bike.

Each policy taken out also earns money for the club on a commission basis, so there are benefits all round.

T: Taking out your insurance online may not always be the best option.

On-line quotes may seem the quick and easy option, but if you speak to a specialist insurance broker, you will be offered a choice of specialist vehicle policies to suit your specialist vehicle needs.