Daily driving a classic car: What to know

Before daily driving a classic car, you'll need to make sure the car is roadworthy with regular inspections and preventative maintenance. Certain steps might help lower your risks on the road, but a classic car may still carry significant safety concerns because of its age. If you drive your classic car every day, you'll need a standard auto insurance policy rather than classic car insurance.

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Can a classic car be a daily driver?

Yes, it's possible to use a classic car as your daily driver. The car must be roadworthy if you're going to use it frequently, which usually means more maintenance and repair.

What kind of insurance do I need for my classic daily driver?

You'll need standard auto insurance for your daily driver classic car. That's because specialized classic car insurance typically requires the insured vehicle to not be driven daily.

When insuring a classic daily driver, consider getting comprehensive auto coverage and collision auto coverage on top of your state's required liability auto coverage to more fully protect the vehicle. You may also want to add optional roadside assistance coverage in case your classic breaks down on the road.

What are the pros and cons of a classic daily driver?

Whether you're new to buying classic cars or you're a collector, weigh the pros and cons of using a classic car as your daily driver.

Pros of driving a classic car daily

  • Driving a classic car daily can be a way to get more enjoyment out of your classic car

  • Classics made by Ford, GM, Mopar, and other manufacturers generally have parts you can easily find

  • Classics can be fairly easy to work on

  • Replacement parts and specialized maintenance information can often be found online

  • Regularly getting out on the road in your classic can create more opportunities to connect with fellow enthusiasts

Cons of driving a classic car daily

  • The safety risks of driving a classic car daily are higher, even with newer classics

  • Modern cars have better fuel economy, so expect to pay more for gas

  • If the environment is a concern for you, older cars emit more pollutants than newer ones

  • Using an older car for commuting could be uncomfortable and inconvenient, especially in extremely hot or cold weather

  • Daily use can put significant wear and tear on your classic car, potentially requiring more frequent ongoing maintenance while lowering the value and making it harder to sell your classic car

  • Wet, cold, and harsh road conditions can cause rusting and corrosion

  • Insuring your classic car with standard auto insurance will likely cost more than insuring it with classic car insurance, and your car might be covered only up to its depreciated value rather than an agreed or stated value typically used by classic car insurance

Is driving an old car every day safe?

The chances of fatal injuries in a collision increase with a car's age, according to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Older cars lack safety features such as seat belts, airbags, crumple zones, electronic stability control, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) systems, and crash avoidance technologies that save lives.

How to make a classic car safer for daily driving

Nothing can make the vehicle as safe to drive when compared to a modern car, but you can take steps to help reduce your day-to-day risks when making a classic car your daily driver:

  • If seat belts didn't come in your car, it's possible to add three-point aftermarket belts

  • Keep jumper cables and a fire extinguisher in your car

  • Do regular inspections and preventative maintenance

  • Replace any component that's not working correctly before you daily drive your classic car

  • Install high-quality headlights, brakes, and tires

  • Pay attention to the oil level and consistency since older cars go through it quickly

  • Keep the tires properly inflated and inspect them often

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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.