Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • The term “hot rod” is used to refer to classic American cars that have been modified to increase speed
  • A hot rod is no ordinary vehicle, and a traditional car insurance policy can’t provide sufficient coverage for your hot rod in the case of loss or damage
  • It’s not easy to find auto insurance for a hot rod because just like any other modified vehicle, it’s not easy to establish the value of a hot rod
  • You can buy hot rod insurance from a traditional insurer or collector insurance. Auto insurance for hot rods is considered to be a specialty program, and only a few major providers offer this type of coverage
  • The price of coverage depends on whether you buy from a traditional auto insurer or a specialized/collector provider. Hot rod auto insurance may be cheaper than regular car insurance

A hot rod is an older vehicle with several modifications all tailored to improve performance and linear speed.

Some of the most common modifications in a hot rod are revamped engine, lowered suspension, custom carburetor and exhaust system, chopped off body parts, et cetera. Hot rods need car insurance to be operated on public roadways.

Before you purchase a car insurance policy for your hot rod, do your research.

Shop around and compare quotes from different providers before you decide on one of them. Comparison shopping helps you get the right coverage for your vehicle at an affordable price.

Getting Coverage for a Hot Rod

Any driver should always make sure they have the right type of auto insurance. Auto insurance is an investment, and it won’t be of much help if you don’t choose the coverage that’s right for the car you drive.

If you own a special vehicle, a hot rod, for instance, you’ll need more than a regular car insurance policy. Your car insurance will fall in one of these categories.

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Modified Vehicle Coverage

If a vehicle is highly modified, some insurers will recommend that you purchase a modified vehicle coverage for it as opposed to a traditional car insurance policy.

Hot rods come with a lot of modifications to the body, suspension, engine, interior, chassis, and the full body.

Therefore, you may have to purchase the modified vehicle coverage for the vehicle, depending on who you are buying from.

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Antique and Classic Auto Insurance

With most providers, a hot rod will fall under the antique and classic auto insurance category. A car is considered a classic if its 19-24 years old.

Many auto insurance providers consider any vehicle older than 25 years an antique. Alongside kit cars, replicas, exotics, and muscle cars, hot rods fall under this category of auto insurance.

A hot rod is not your everyday car and when looking to purchase coverage, keep in mind that regular auto insurance is not going to cut it. When it comes to car insurance, hot rods and other classics are unique.

We all know that the value of a car is a huge determinant when it comes to insuring it. While the value of a regular car depreciates over the years, hot rods and other classics/antiques appreciate.

Make sure that you and your insurer agree on the value of the vehicle before you buy the policy.

If possible get an appraisal for the car’s value because without one, the insurer will have to go with the car’s market value when paying for the car after it’s totaled in an accident.

The market value doesn’t take into account the modifications made to the vehicle. The very nature of hot rods/classics/antique vehicles makes it hard to get coverage.

Qualifying for Hot Rod Coverage


You do not qualify to purchase a hot rod insurance simply because you own one. There are requirements, these vehicles are expensive, and auto insurance providers will take every measure to minimize risk and protect their bottom line.

Here are some of the criteria auto insurance providers use to qualify hot rod owners for coverage.

  • Driving record – If you have a DUI/DWI, speeding violations, reckless driving, or any other serious traffic offenses on your driving record, you may be denied coverage. Some providers will still sell coverage to you, but at exorbitant rates.
  • Secure storage – Hot rods, classics, and muscle cars have powerful engines and other body parts that are appealing to car thieves. Insurance providers will want to know if you have secure storage to keep your special vehicle when you are not using it.
  • Car shows – Most hot rod owners are car enthusiasts who collect these vehicles for occasional drives and show them off at car shows and meetings. Your coverage may cover these events or not, confirm with the provider before you buy coverage.
  • Limited usage – Hot rod insurance comes with a lot of travel restrictions and mileage limitations. These vehicles are not designed for everyday use, and some providers will even require that you have a primary car before they agree to sell a hot rod insurance policy.

Requirements for hot rod car insurance vary from one provider to the next – some being more lenient than others. Not every special car will meet the qualifications stipulated by every insurance provider.

If you can’t seem to find coverage, don’t give up. Just keep looking. Get as many quotes as you can and compare. You’ll find an insurer who is willing to provide coverage for you.

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How much does hot rod insurance cost?

The cost of insuring a hot rod is contingent on where you purchase coverage. Traditional auto insurers tend to have higher rates that specialized providers. A hot rod, despite its modifications, may be cheaper to insure than a regular car.

Providers take into account that these vehicles have limited use — they are used on occasion — and drivers have invested a lot in modifications hence more likely to be extra careful.

A lot of money, time, and effort go into the creation of a hot rod. To avoid a major loss, make sure that you are protected from all the losses you may incur in the case of an accident.

When shopping for auto insurance for your hot rod, compare quotes from various providers and increase the chances of landing a good deal.