When is a car considered a classic?

Classic vehicles might range in age from 10 to 50+ years old, and the term "classic car" may include vintage, antique, and collector vehicles. Ultimately, it depends on the classic car definition used by your state, insurer, or car collecting club — each may have its own age rules.

For insurance, how old does a classic car have to be?

Your car's classification for insurance will ultimately depend on the rules of your insurer and sometimes your state, which may factor in age, weight, usage, manufacturing, and historical interest. Progressive Classic Car Insurance by Hagerty can insure a car of any age but has requirements around the vehicle's usage, storage, and more. The common thread among classic car owners is that their older vehicles are worth preserving and may even be collectibles. Learn more about classic car requirements for insurance.

Here are some examples of popular classic car makes, models, and years:

  • 1963 Mercedes Benz 300SL
  • 1967 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 1969 Dodge Charger
  • 1970 Datsun 240X

Learn more about the most popular classic cars.

For vehicle registration, what year car is considered a classic?

Each state has its own definition for what's considered a classic vehicle. If your car qualifies, the license plates they issue may use different labeling — like antique, classic, historic, and vintage — depending on your car. Note that age is only one factor states consider for your car's registration type. They may also consider its weight and manufacturing.

Some states may also apply limitations on classic car use that are stricter than your insurer's. For example, while classic car insurance policies might permit occasional recreational use, some states may restrict your car's use to specific purposes like driving directly to classic car events or participating in parades. Contact your state's BMV or DMV to find out their requirements for your vehicle. Find out the steps for registering a classic car.

Is my car a classic, vintage, or antique vehicle?

While it will depend on the insurer, state, or club, there are some loose definitions for vintage, antique, and classic cars:

  • Vintage car definition: Many organizations consider vintage cars to be manufactured between 1919 and 1930 (if they even distinguish vintage cars from classics and antiques). The vintage car period generally ends in 1930 with the start of the Great Depression, which greatly impacted the players in the automotive industry.
  • Antique car definition: Antique cars are more loosely defined as being at least 25 to 45 years old, depending on the organization.
  • Classic car definition: Even more loosely defined, and still dependent on the organization, classic cars might include antique, vintage, and collector vehicles that are at least 10 to 25 years old.

If you need to determine what your classic car is considered for your state, insurer, or club, consult with them to find out the qualifications they use.

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