Despite classic vehicle theft being on the rise, with more classic cars reported missing daily, classic motoring insurers have not seen an increase in policy claims according to Heritage Classic Car Insurance. Worryingly most of the cars stolen either don’t have the correct type of cover or have been in storage and don’t have any insurance at all!

The specialist brokerage checked with the leading insurers it works with who reported claim numbers were actually going down or staying the same rather than increasing.

Managing Partner Mark Wilkinson said: “On seeing the number of classics reported stolen in the magazines and enthusiasts spreading the word on forums and Facebook, we did some investigating internally before contacting our insurers and we were surprised that the number of claims doesn’t reflect the crime levels.”

Confused by the lack of claims, Heritage contacted PC Alan Colman of the Central Motorway Police Group and West Midlands Police Crime reduction team to find out more about the thefts themselves and alarmingly discovered that the victims sit in these two camps – neither of which gave them any financial recompense for their loss.

Alan said: “Most of the victims we spoke to have brought their car insurance from an online aggregator and therefore have ended up with an off-the-shelf policy that hasn’t given them the cover they needed.”

Mark added: “With classic car policies, we go into much more detail as well as providing an agreed value so that if the worst happens, the owner isn’t out of pocket.

“We explain the reasoning behind every question we ask and the impact it can have on the policy. There’s no such thing as an off-the-shelf policy when it comes to classics. Like the cars themselves, each policy has its own story to tell.”

Alan also went on to explain that the rising popularity of project cars and barn finds, with television shows highlighting the increase in value to the cars when restored and the market for car parts for such vehicles, is also making these vehicles a target.

He explained: “In most cases these cars are in storage so the owners haven’t got them insured to the correct level or insured at all as the cars are not on the road. To make matters worse, if the owner doesn’t make regular trips to where the car is, it can be two to six weeks before the theft is discovered.

“In that time, the car would have been broken down and sold for parts, which aren’t traceable in the same way as modern car parts. We’ve had one case where it was six years between the owner’s last visit and the discovery that it was missing.”

“This is why owners should either have a full classic car policy that covers them for all eventualities,” Mark comments. “They should also make sure they follow the advice given by the police on precautions they can take to make it harder for thieves and help the police trace the vehicles.”

A list of advisory precautions can be found on the Heritage Classic Car Insurance website at or speak to one of Heritage’s experts by calling 0121 2489304.

Top Police Tips for Your Classic

  1. Regularly visit your car if its stored remotely – if the facility is being watched, they won’t know when you are coming and you’ll also be able to report your car missing as soon as possible.
  2. If you keep your car on the driveway, block it in.
  3. Use a steering lock and other visible anti-theft devices
  4. If the car isn’t in use, remove and securely store the wheels.
  5. Keep a charged GPS mobile phone hidden in the car
  6. Ask friends and neighbours to keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour in the area.
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