Monthly Archives: April 2015

Insuring Collectible Cars

There is not usually a lot in the news about auto insurance, but occasionally there is an exception.  A couple of years ago, magazines and newspapers were active with reports that a British insurer had settled a claim with “Mr. Bean”, actor Rowan Atkinson, to rebuild his rare McLaren F1 after a crash in 2011.  The sum for the repair job on this carbon fiber specialty car was a cool $1.4 million; not mentioned was any part of the settlement that might have gone to repairing the shoulder damage he suffered in the crash.

While the settlement and repair may seem a little mind numbing, it is a great illustration of the value of this sort of specialty insurance for car collectors and – by extension – any collectors of valuable items.  Obviously, the coverage is capable of high limits for collision damage, but it is also worthwhile noting that Washington auto insurance comprehensive and liability coverage can be correspondingly higher which may be of considerable benefit to a high net worth driver.  Policies can also be written for an “agreed value” coverage which may be very important when dealing with rare collector items where “replacement value” may be determined by the next auction.  Another potential benefit – important for Mr. Bean’s McLaren – is a provision to restore the car to its pre-accident condition and authenticity.  For a classic or collector car this can be very involved and accounted for the fact the McLaren restoration took over a year.

There may be some restrictions on policies that can actually make a classic or collectible car less costly to insure than the family car. Typical restrictions can include:

•Limits on how many miles you drive the car each year,
•Restrictions on how the car is stored (e.g., in a secured garage)
•Restrictions on who can drive the car – either named individuals or driving record restrictions
•Assurance the car will not be used for participation in any racing or speed contest or be used on a race track, test track, or any other course.

The designation of “collectible” cars is always in a state of change.  Cars over 25 years old have generally been viewed as “antique” but even newer, limited production cars can be considered for coverage. Certainly Mr. Bean’s McLaren fits the exotic and collectible bill.  For any limited use vehicle, it may be worthwhile checking to see if collectible coverage would be cheaper and more effective for your personal needs.

Finally, if you are curious about why a company might consider settling an insurance collision claim for $1.4 the answer can likely be found in the agreed value coverage and the knowledge that the last McLaren F1 sold on the open market fetched a bit over $5 million — and as of January 2015 Rowan Atkinson’s repaired, twice-crashed McLaren F1 was up for sale for $12 million.

No matter what the value of your collectible, antique, or everyday-use car, Homer Smith Insurance would be happy to provide a quote for you to insure it.  Visit our website at or call one of our knowledgeable agents at 888-433-0031.