It takes time and money to build a car from scratch – and that makes kit cars special. So how do you make sure you have the right insurance to protect your prized possession, whether it’s a Lo-Cost Lotus Seven replica, an AC Cobra, or a Challenger E-Type?
Kit cars are not like ordinary vehicles. You don’t drive a kit car out of a showroom, but piece it together in your garage. Off-the-peg insurance is fine for standard cars, but owners of kit cars usually need specialist cover, tailor made to suit their requirements. You might have to pay a bit more for your kit car insurance, especially if you have modified the vehicle, but the extra cost is often worth the extra peace of mind.
Kit cars and the law
To drive a kit car legally on the road it must pass an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) test, which costs about £199. Tests are carried out at approved sites by inspectors from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. Once your kit car has passed its IVA it will not normally need an MOT for another three years. But your kit car must have a valid tax disc or statutory off road notification.
What does kit car insurance cover?
Insurance for kit cars covers all the usual risks to your car, such as theft, fire and damage as a result of a road accident. But a specialist policy can also include build up cover, which insures your kit car as soon as the parts arrive. In other words, you would be able to make a claim if your car or parts were lost or stolen before it was fully assembled. Some kit car insurance companies also offer protection for component parts that are damaged or lost in transit. The parts for kit cars can be pricey, so build up cover can be a financial lifeline.
A specialist insurer will also usually pay out an ‘agreed value’ if the kit car is written off or stolen, unlike standard insurance policies, which typically pay out the market value. An agreed value is important because it is often hard to put a price on a kit car, especially if it has been modified. Also, kit cars are different from ordinary runabouts because their value does not always depreciate over time. In fact, kit cars can sometimes increase in value as the years go by. If you agree a value with the insurer at the outset, you can be sure that the policy will pay out the full value of the vehicle in the event of a claim.
If the worst should happen and your car is a write off, you might want to salvage the parts, especially if they were expensive. Salvage retention cover enables you to buy back the wreckage and use any salvageable parts to build a new kit car. But bear in mind that if a wreckage is seriously damaged, it might be illegal to salvage any parts because of the potential safety hazard.
Can I add extras to my kit car insurance policy?
If you need a bit more than basic cover for your kit car, you can usually add a range of extras, though you will have to pay an additional premium. Some breakdown policies exclude kit cars, so owners should check the details if they want emergency assistance. It might also be a good idea to add legal expenses to your kit car insurance to cover any court costs.
If you are a track or racing enthusiast, make sure you have appropriate cover for these activities. The same is true for kit car owners who use their cars for weddings or other formal occasions. And if you plan to drive your kit car overseas.
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