It’s simple, right? You don’t want to drive your classic car in the winter, you have a nice little place to store it that is secure, you’ve made a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) with DVLA, so all good. Why bother insuring it?
Shelling out for laid up or off road insurance (i.e cover for your vehicle when it is off the public highway) might seem like a needless expense, but there are plenty of cautionary tales that should give classic car owners who want to give their vehicle a well-earned rest and protect them from the elements for a while, an incentive to take out this type of cover.
In August 2019, Classic Car Weekly reported that throughout the whole month, on average, one classic car had been stolen every day. According to industry experts that trend continues and may even get worse as owners lock up their cars for winter.
David Simister, Editor of Classic Car Weekly, said: ‘The UK International Association of Auto Theft Investigators is still reporting numerous cases of classic car theft. Just yesterday we had a report of two classics stolen in Leeds.
‘Because older cars don’t have the same technology as modern cars they are much easier to steal. Once they have been stolen they can easily be broken down and that means they are very difficult to trace. The thing is, people take these cars off the road, leave them in storage away from their home address for a few weeks and return to find them missing. It’s a real problem.’
Of course, a belt-and-braces approach to security might solve part of the problem if you choose not to take out laid up insurance for your classic but there are other factors to consider, including fire.
Dave Richards, a classic car enthusiast who owns a fleet of eight vehicles including a 1990 Trabant 1.1 Kombi and a 1968 Vauxhall Ventora, explained: ‘A friend of mine in Scotland owned a BMW 540i E39 and it was an absolute minter – not a mark on it. He stored it in a secure barn for the winter and did take the trouble to get laid up insurance for it. However, after a few weeks he transferred that cover to another vehicle assuming everything would be fine. Within days, there was a huge fire in the barn and the car was totally destroyed. He was left with nothing. It was such a shame.
For me, taking out laid up insurance is a no-brainer. It’s so cheap and although it won’t make up for the loss of what are usually treasured vehicles, at least it covers the financial loss.’