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Otis

Insurance (long question)

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What insurance company are you using? If a classic car company, which one? In your opinion, good, bad, indifferent? The issue came up for me today, not with Otis, but with Izzy. But the issue applies generally, so I'll post here.

When I titled Izzy the Isetta, I also tagged him. I did so for two reasons. First, it's illegal in Montgomery County MD to keep an untagged car in the driveway, and although Izzy mostly stays in the garage, sometimes I roll him out to work on him, or take him for a brief test spin (and besides, I wanted to lock up the personalized license plate, before someone else claimed the name). Well, things were going along swimmingly until the bureaucrats at the MVA (Maryland Vehicle Administration) added 2+2 and saw "tag with no proof of insurance - aha, must unduly harass citizen." Whereby they sent the standard letter threatening fines, etc., unless I show proof of insurance on a Maryland Form FR-19.

No problem, I think -- I call up my trusty insurance company (which insures all my other cars), and slap on some minimum amount to statisfy the bureaucrats. Big Insurance Co. shifts me over to Classic-Car Underwriter, which starts asking questions. Stupidly, I spill the beans that Izzy's engine is out of the car, being rebuilt. They immediately deny coverage, since the car doesn't run right now. Several calls later, I obtain limited coverage from the main company -- but not without a whole lot of fussin' and fightin'.

So my real question is, what do most folks do during a rolling restoration? Isn't it a Catch-22 -- you need tags to do a rolling restoration, and if you have tags you need insurance, but if your car is undergoing restoration, the classic-car insurance company won't insure you. Which all seems silly. The easiest thing to do, of course, is lie -- i.e., don't tell the classic car company that the car is undergoing restoration of any sort. But that's pretty hard to do, when they require pictures (and thus see body filler, etc.). Besides, why should we have to lie? Certainly, mine is not the first car that someone had to insure, but from which the motor might be pulled at some point.

So, what do you do? What do you recommend? Again, please don't advise avoiding getting plates -- this is a rolling restoration issue. Also, please don't advise doing what my neighbor does -- he keeps one set of plates for his resto projects, and just switches the plates around. I'm trying to do the right thing here -- but "the man" is fighting me.

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That seems strange, as I would think the insurance company would WANT to take more of your money. How much of a risk could your car be on the road with no frickin' engine? And an Isetta at that.

Perhaps they felt that with the engine out, there was the chance that a family of squirrels may take up residence, thus quadrupling the power output of your car?

I have been with Farmers and the same agent for the last 20+ years. After my only two dealings with them, I don't have a warm fuzzy feeling anymore. I guess customer loyalty means absolutely nothing anymore. I will start shopping around as I get a deal with GE insurance. I will also look at Hagerty, as I start to get warm fuzzies with them.

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Haggerty would not cover my Touring because I told them I take it on occassional trips into town. Without these odd trips, the car would sit for months on end. Next time I try for classic insurance I will "bend" the truth a little!

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Everytime you drive the car into town, doesn't somebody always ask, "What kind of car is that?" ? Wouldn't that make each and every trip into town as an "event"?

Arent the trips into town used in preparation for an "event"? Getting fuel, having an alignment done, road testing the systems?

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Man, what is it with the insurance companies being such putzes? I've had a go around today with mine over the stupidest, most illogical stuff..things that shouldn't even be an issue are becoming issues. I'm about ready to try good old fashioned bribery of an agent...what the hell, it might save a whole lot of headaches and 1-800 calls where you're put on hold forever. I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to have a policy on your vehicle, not matter whether it's pristine or wrecked. As the other responder pointed out, it's money in their pocket so why should they care. Again, I think bribery is in order.

Benzo

'71 verona

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I've got coverage from J.C. Taylor but have no claim experience so really can't say how they do under pressure.

I do recall during my research that there was a company that handled the whole restoration thing...would provide insurance for ongoing projects. Not sure if that was Taylor or somebody else, but a Google search and you'll probably find it.

Good luck! As another Maryland citizen, I hate the draconian tags/insurance thing.

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I agree with Steve...what kind of insurance co. doesn't want more of your money???! When Hugo was being restored, I kept upping the insurance coverage for just "comprehensive" - to cover a loss due to fire & theft. I had him appraised initially, then I just kept upping the coverage...keep your receipts as proof should the ins co want proof of value.

Comprehensive coverage is dirt cheap for the peace of mind it brings...You're not driving the car while being restored, so the risk is minimal. Change insurance companies if they deny coverage in such a situation...that's dumb!...sheesh!

Now, after restoration, I have American Collector Car Insurance....been very satisfied so far...but no claims yet fortunately! I have 3 Bimmers covered and it costs me about $550 or so a year. Those cars "are not" daily drivers! :-)

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I have my non-collector cars insured by Allstate..been fair with me so far...have stated value on my '76 '02...no problem.

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American Collectors Car Insurance was the culprit here. I made the exact points above with them -- what kind of insurance company refuses money on a car whose risk profile is zero? That is, what kind of insurance company analyzes an application like this --

"Let's see, the engine is out of the car, so the car won't be driven, therefore our risk of loss is nil -- thus, we'll require the applicant to put the engine back in car, so that he can drive the car, therefore increasing our risk profile (particularly in an Isetta, which would lose in a collision with a tricycle). Only then will we take his money."

Yeah, that's the ticket! There are many words for this form of business -- stupid, idiotic, dumb, head-up-butt, etc. etc. etc. I'll never use that company, ever again, for anything.

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so far so good. They ask for a picture or two of the car, a garaged parking space, at least one other car per driver in the house, and of course the dreaded questionair. The cost for my declared value of $10,000 is only $144 per year and I hope I never get to test the claim response.

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independent ins agent)--they have never asked me the status of my cars, and in fact several of them are either not operable (under restoration) or haven't moved from the garage in several years.

True antique coverage (cars over 25 yrs old) is on a sliding scale, so that liability coverage is free for any cars over three--you're just paying for comprehensive and collision.

All I submit each year is the number of miles driven the previous year, and on 5 of my cars that's zero.

mike

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I have American Collectors, yes....but I also have Allstate, and Allstate is the company I used during Hugo's restoration....very good to work with.

I only signed on with American Collcetor's "after" the restoration. They've been fine with me, but I didn't try to insure a car "in pieces" with them either. Possibly, they merely don't wish to have policies on cars until they are on the road. In a way I can understand that...because their rate structure is set up for "roadworthy" albiet "very limited use" collector cars.

I'm not sticking up for them, just trying to analyze why they denied your coverage...they also probably don't want to cover a car that has "questionable value" anyway (not that yours is in that condition), but with the engine out how can you establish true "value"...follow?

You might change your mind about American Collectors once your '02 is on the road, and you start checking around for coverage & prices! They are pretty good IMHO!

Good Luck,

John

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Here's Izzy in present condition -- perhaps I should not have mentioned that the engine is out (and hey, I haven't installed the windshield wiper that Rimspoke gave to me, either -- no wonder they denied coverage!). But as noted above, why should I have to lie? Too honest for my own good, I guess.

Hagerty seems to be building a consensus here (including some off-line comments that I received - thanks). I have two cars insured through St. Paul's (per Mike's post), and they've never asked any questions -- but then again, those cars run (well, sometimes, at least). And who knows, maybe I'll leave Izzy in this condition -- if so, I'll be gunning for that Patina Trophy at the 2007 [email protected]

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You might be interested to know that I know the son of the original manufacturer of the Izetta....Piero Rivolta (he was a client of mine in Florida many years ago)...his father Renzo and his head engineer in Italy developed the Izetta, then sold the rights to BMW in the 50's. Between the Izetta and the '02's...they saved BMW! :-)

Small world huh?

I'm old enough to remember seeing my first Izetta in Sarasota, FL in about '59 driving past me on my way to Jr High School riding my bicycle. It was bright shiney red (and new no doubt). That was a cooool little car! :-)

Good luck insuring "Izzy"

John

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good Lord-

out here in the wikky- wikky wild wild west the only one who cares if

you're insured is the man in blue with the blinky blinky blue lights...

it was a real shock to discover that, although insurance is now mandatory (after 1993) the only time you get checked is when you get nabbed.

sheesh.

And every time I get hit, the SoB doesn't have insurance.

Wonder if there's some connection, eh?

Toby

Washington. Not Warshington.

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