American Collectors Insurance Prices and Review

Based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, American Collectors Insurance has been providing coverage to vintage vehicle collectors since 1976. American Collectors Insurance is easily among the top two providers of classic car insurance, alongside Hagerty Insurance. There are reasons you may choose American Collectors Insurance over the other options, which we’ll detail in our review.

Pros and Cons

  • Low insurance rates
  • Easy underwriting process
  • Higher mileage limit option
  • Fewer fringe benefits than the big guys
  • You have to have a daily driver registered and insured

American Collectors Review

Among the companies that provide insurance for collector vehicles, American Collectors Insurance is probably the one other company you’ve heard of aside from Hagerty. They’ve been in the business for a long time -- about a decade longer than Hagerty -- and they’ve provided excellent service along the way.

The advantage that a company like Hagerty has is that the guy whose name is at the top of the policy still works there. Yes, it’s a big company, but it’s still a family operation. That was true of American Collectors Insurance until 2014. They were a scrappy company focused on the same kinds of things that Hagerty was: outstanding service, low premiums, and a focus on the needs of the car collector.

All of those things are still true, but American Collectors Insurance is now part of a much larger insurance company: NSM Insurance Group. That’s a company that takes in about a billion dollars in insurance premiums every year, servicing Commercial, Hotel, Condominium, Staffing and Workman’s Comp clients.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. American Collectors Insurance is still headquartered in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, as it was when it was an independent company. They still provide excellent customer service and low premiums for collectors. There was a fear when American Collectors Insurance was purchased that it would lose it’s small company feel, but that seems not to have happened.

What’s interesting, though, is that NSM Insurance Group simultaneously bought out two other vintage car insurers, and they maintain those companies under their original company names: Heacock Classic and Condon Skelly Collector Car Insurance. Both of those companies have moved their headquarters to American Collectors Insurance’s home base in Cherry Hill, making you wonder if the only difference in those companies is how they answer the phone when it rings at the office.

But the bottom line is that if you’re insuring a vintage vehicle, you absolutely should be insuring it through a specialist like American Collectors Insurance. If you’re not, you are not only spending more than you need to every year, you’re setting yourself up for a potential loss if something bad happens to your car.

How American Collectors Insurance Works

American Collectors Insurance isn’t all that much different from Hagerty in the core insurance products it offers, and the ways in which they keep insurance cheap for collector car owners who don’t drive their vintage cars much:

  • Agreed Value: Like the other companies who provide this type of insurance, American Collectors Insurance offers an “agreed value” policy, meaning that you and American Collectors come to an agreement on what the vehicle is worth, and they set a rate based on that value. That’s not to say that American Collectors Insurance is going to insure your beat up ‘75 Chevy Vega for $70,000. What they will do, however, is take your vehicle’s condition, trim level and market value into consideration when they insure it. If you happen to be driving a Cosworth Vega that you think is worth in the $30,000 range, they’ll insure it for that and write you a check if something happens. Your average insurance company has no idea what a Cosworth Vega is, and they’re going to try to cut you a check for $3,000 if something bad happens to it.
  • Daily Driver Requirement: This is the downside to having a collector vehicle insurance policy -- you need to have a daily driver which provides most of your driving mileage. They want to know that you’re not commuting regularly in your vintage car. If you are, you need a different kind of insurance.
  • Use Limitations: If there’s one area where American Collectors Insurance elevates itself over Hagerty, it;’s in the mileage limitations. Hagerty really doesn’t insure cars that are driven more than 5,000 miles a year. Yes, if you have something special you’re doing with the car, you can work that out with Hagerty, but American Collectors Insurance has something called the Freedom Tier plan that allows up to 7,500 miles of coverage in addition to occasional general use. It’s more expensive, but it does offer more freedom in the way you use the car. This is especially an advantage if you live in parts of the country where the sun shines more than 150 days a year..
  • Garage requirement: This is one that’s less strict now, but in the early days, you had to prove that you had a permanent structure to park your car in. Hagerty is more lenient on this now, and will provide coverage on cars that are stored in non-permanent structures. But they get a little nervous about covering cars that are parked outside, because it exposes them to greater risk of theft and damage by the elements.

These are the things that are more restrictive than traditional insurance coverage. But their are benefits that hugely outweigh those limitations:

  • Cost: The annual fee is going to be about 10% what you might expect from a traditional insurer providing full coverage for the same car.
  • Restoration or Parts Coverage: American Collectors Insurance provides a lot of options for vehicles that are either under restoration or are in parts. As you get your vehicle through the stages of restoration, it starts to become more valuable, and you can always adjust the agreed value as you go.
  • Inflation Guard: This is unique to American Collectors Insurance. I In the event of a covered total loss to your Collector Car, Inflation Guard adjusts the Agreed Value of the vehicle up to 6%, meaning that even if you haven’t readjusted your agreed value, you’ll recoup some benefit to your car’s rising value if it’s totalled in an accident.

American Collectors Insurance Rates

This is really where you need to pay attention. It’s really hard to compare costs with Hagerty, because Hagerty doesn’t have a deductible. American Collectors Insurance does, and allows you to customize it to your particular need. For example, we priced out insurance for a 1966 Jeep CJ5 and it came in at $151 per year, but that’s with the least expensive $300 deductible. You can adjust that deducible based on a dollar figure, or you can make it a percentage of the car’s value. Keep this in mind when you’re shopping.

Vehicle TypeAmerican Collectors Insurance Sample Rates We Found

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Who has the best classic car insurance?

You can’t answer that without understanding your particular situation. There are times when Hagerty Insurance is the best, and others when American Collectors Insurance shines. For example, American Collectors Insurance provides coverage on more than just cars. They’ll insure your vintage wine, stamps, books, art, or guitars if you’re interested. Read more on the Best Classic Car Insurance here.

How old does a car have to be to qualify for classic car insurance?

This is all over the place with every one of these companies. For example, if you go out and purchase a 2021 Porsche 911, American Collectors Insurance would probably cover it, because it’s considered a collector car, rather than just daily transport. On the other hand, if you’re looking to cover your 1982 Dodge Colt Vista, they may give you a hard time about whether or not it’s collectible.

Is insurance cheaper on a classic car?

Yes, it’s way cheaper if you’re choosing to insure it through a collector car specialist, and if you’re willing to live with the limitations. If you’re planning on driving it every day as your only car, you’re going to want to look elsewhere for coverage, and you’re going to pay more for it. You’re also going to get less for it if something happens to the car, because companies like GEICO aren’t interested in your story about how your 1970 ‘Cuda is one-of-one with a 340, a Mod Top and a three-speed on the column. They’re just going to give you the average used car value and then whack you for a hefty deductible on top of that.

What qualifies for classic insurance?

American Collectors Insurance puts the emphasis on “collectible.” They’ll cover anything collectible from your ‘65 Buick Riviera to your baseball card collection.

How many miles can you drive with classic car insurance?

American Collectors Insurance offers mileage caps up to 7,500 miles. That’s quite a bit more than Hagerty, but we’ll say that in the entire time we’ve had Hagerty insurance, we’ve never bumped up against that mileage cap, and most people who have collector car insurance won’t.

Can I use a classic car as a daily driver?

You can, but you need conventional insurance to do that.

Do I need comprehensive insurance on a classic car?

If you insure through American Collectors Insurance, and you live within the limitations of classic car insurance, you get comprehensive insurance as part of the deal, and it’ll be cheaper than if you just got compulsory insurance through a traditional insurer.

Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.