Over the past 25 years, collector-vehicle insurer Hagerty has seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to claims.
Although collector-car owners generally drive their vehicles less and take better care of their cars, sometimes these vehicles get damaged, and the experience can be stressful. To assist with sometimes-unavoidable situations, Hagerty compiled a list of tips for filing an insurance claim on a collector car.
“Although car enthusiasts are generally safe drivers and take great care of their vehicles, you cannot predict when something will go wrong,” says McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance. “It is always best to be prepared in the event that you suffer a mishap, because the consequences of being unprepared can prove costly. This is particularly true for collector-car owners who have invested a great deal of time and money in their vehicle.”
Hagerty Insurance offers the following tips for a stress-free claim on a collector car:
• Be prepared for an accident. Stay calm and quickly assess if there are injuries. From the passengers in your car to the occupants of the other vehicle(s), be aware of any potential injuries both for safety and insurance purposes.
To ensure you accurately record the incident, keep a disposable camera in all of your vehicles to record the details of an accident. If one isn’t available, consider taking a picture with your cell phone. Photographs of vehicle damage and the road and surrounding area, including any skid marks, often paint a better overall picture of what took place and will help to clarify the situation.
Additionally, in the event of an accident, it is important to know your legal obligations as specified by your insurance policy. Many companies will require you to take reasonable steps to ensure that your vehicle does not incur further damage once it is involved in the initial accident. Some of these steps, such as moving your vehicle to secure temporary storage, may be paid by your insurance company.
• Document your vehicle’s value. If you do not have an agreed-value insurance policy, you may have to prove your vehicle’s value in order to receive a reasonable settlement. Documentation that can help you prove your vehicle’s value includes mileage and maintenance records, pre-accident photos, receipts for work done to the vehicle and any awards the car has won at shows.
• Consider fixing it yourself. If you are a do-it yourselfer, consider repairing your car yourself. Some insurance companies will allow this, and they may even pay you for your hours. All they usually require is an estimate from a reputable body shop you might normally use for repairs. You would receive your claims settlement based on this estimate, as long as it is fair and in line with damages. If you do not have a shop, your insurance company may assign an appraiser and pay you the going labor rate in your area.
• Screen for a reputable repair shop. If you take your collector car to a repair shop, make sure they have a good reputation. If the business specializes in collector vehicles, research other collectors’ experience with the shop. Your insurance company may be able to recommend shops that have generated positive feedback, as well.
• Be patient when searching for parts. Finding the correct and authentic parts for your collector car can be more time consuming and challenging than repairing an ordinary vehicle. An insurance company that specializes in covering collector vehicles — one that has an in-house claims department that has dealt with such issues — can be one of your best resources when searching for replacement parts. Take an interest in the actual parts your insurance company/repair shop is proposing to use to fix your car. There are many different types of parts for collector cars, ranging from OEM (original equipment manufacturer), NOS (new old stock) and aftermarket. Make sure you get the best part to maintain the value of your car.
• Do not accept your vehicle until you are 100 percent satisfied. Personally and carefully inspect the repairs. Take it for a test drive to verify that it drives just as well, if not better, than it did before the claim and inform the repair shop of any concerns you have before taking your car home.
Hagerty Insurance Agency, Inc. is a leading insurance agency for collector vehicles in the world and host to the largest network of collector car owners. For more information, call 800-922-4050 or visit www.hagerty.com.
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