How does classic car storage affect my insurance?

Your method of classic vehicle storage can affect your ability to qualify for classic car insurance and get a lower rate. Classic car storage for insurance typically involves protecting it from nature and theft, but requirements will vary by insurer and state.

4 min to read

Do insurance companies have guidelines for how to store a classic car?

Yes, insurers often have guidelines for storing a classic car. Proving you follow their guidelines can help you qualify for a classic car insurance policy and a better rate.

Progressive Classic Car by Hagerty prefers that your classic vehicle is stored in a:

  • Private garage

  • Storage unit

  • Pole barn (a type of post-frame building that allows for significant open space on the inside)

All other factors being equal, these ways of storing your antique vehicle can lead to a better car insurance rate. There may also be considerations for carports, driveways, parking garages, and car hauling trailers.*

If you won't be driving your car for an extended period, find out if you need insurance for a car in storage.

Classic car storage tips

Use these classic car storage tips to help keep your vehicle safe and good shape. Consider researching the recommended practices for your classic car — local and national classic car clubs may be helpful resources.

Prepare your classic car for long-term storage

If you'll be storing your classic car long-term, experts recommend changing the oil and oil filter and driving the car for a dozen miles or so until the fresh oil is fully worked into the car's systems.

There's some debate over keeping gas in the vehicle. The safest action is to drain the fuel tank as much as possible before storage, but some experts say you can fill the tank with recreational fuel, add a stabilizer, and drive it a few miles.

Aim for the best-case classic car storage scenario

Some owners use their classic cars as daily drivers, but many store their classic for most of its life and drive it only occasionally. If you'll be storing your classic for long periods, especially more than three months, many classic car storage experts agree that you should aim to follow these tips for how to store your classic car:

  • Store your classic in a dry, climate-controlled, secure facility

  • Wash, wax, and buff the car before long-term storage

  • Clean and vacuum the inside, and close convertible tops

  • Remove the wiper blades, and wrap the wiper arms to protect the windshield

  • Ensure fluid tank contents are full and fresh (transmission, coolant, brake, power steering)

  • Check your freezing point with a hydrometer or test strips to insure you’re good for the lowest of winter temperatures in your region

  • Unhook the battery cables, or attach a battery tender to ensure your car can start and your clock and radio settings remain — just don't use a trickle charger

  • Use tire chocks instead of the parking brake

  • Dry the car thoroughly before applying a fitted breathable cotton or flannel cover

  • If the car is being worked on, rest it on jack stands with a plastic tarp underneath the car

  • Fill the tires so they're full or slightly overinflated

  • Apply mouse/rat deterrent and stations under and around the car, and put steel wool in the exhaust pipes and air cleaner snorkel if rodents are a real problem

Storing classic cars in an unheated garage

It's not ideal, but storing classic cars in a garage with no heat is better than storing them somewhere more exposed to the elements. Any garage can also help deter theft. If your classic will be stored in an open-air carport, avoid surfaces that trap humidity like grass and dirt.

Looking to get the right insurance coverage for your classic car? Quote classic car insurance online or call 1-888-534-8980 to speak with a representative from Progressive Classic Car by Hagerty.

Keep moisture out

Moisture is often cited as the worst enemy of classic cars in storage. To keep your storage space dry, consider adding a dehumidifier to the space. You'll need to check it regularly and empty the reservoir bin often. Also, a container of baking soda and/or moisture-absorbing dessicant bags can help keep the interior fresh and prevent mildew. Some outlets sell desiccant packets that serve a similar purpose.

Other classic car storage considerations

Experts tend to disagree on these classic car storage topics. Consider researching each to decide what's best for your vehicle and storage situation.

  • Battery storage: Should you leave it attached or remove it?

  • Engine preparation: Should you run it for 15 minutes every month or so, or leave it alone the whole time?

  • Spark plugs preparation: Do you keep them in or take them out? What about lubricating with engine oil or fogging oil?

  • Tire storage: Should you leave them on or take them off?

  • Windows: Is it better to leave them down for air circulation or up to prevent rodent and bug issues?

Consulting with experts or car clubs specific to your classic car can help you make confident decisions regarding your options.

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Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. Read our editorial standards for Answers content. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.