Keep Classic Car criminals at bay

There’s no doubt that the Classic Car season is underway - the clocks have changed, there’s been more than the odd glimpse of sun and ‘National Classic Car Day’, supported by Classic Car enthusiast Chris Evans which raised money for Children in Need, provided a great excuse for owners to dust off their pride and joy for charity.

But when something becomes hot property, it tends to become a target for thieves.  And boy, Classic Cars have become hot property.  Classic Cars have even managed to outperform the global stock markets between 2005 and 2013*. Just look at the way the Escort MK1 has jumped in value over the last 10 years. Back in 1999 and 2000, Ford Escort MK1 models cost around £2,000 and it is expected that they would now sell for 10 times this price!

So whether it’s a clapped out VW camper with 100,000 miles on the clock or a Classic Porsche in prestige condition, you’re probably on to a nice little earner.  Mustard yellow Austin Allegro?  Yep that’ll do nicely, or how about an almond green Morris Minor Traveller?  Very nice too.

Sadly, it’s these old Minis, Ford Escorts and VW camper vans, currently in big demand that have also become prey for thieves. 

As the good weather brings plenty of opportunities for Classic Car owners to show off their pride and joy at organised Classic Car events, Sunday afternoon jaunts and to carry out needed work and repairs, the heightened visibility can attract additional attention from more than innocent passers-by.  So owners are reminded to check that the right security measures are in place so that their Car can be fully enjoyed through this summer and many more to come.

The Top Classic Car Events 2014

  • Fawley Hill Steam and Vintage Transport Weekend (16th-18th May)
  • East Yorkshire Thoroughbred cars East Coast run   (8th June) 
  • Silverstone Classic (25th-27th July)
  • Beaulieu ‘Simply Classics & Sports Car’  (24th August)
  • Goodwood Festival of Speed (26th-29th June)
  • Tatton Vintage and Classic Show (16th-17th August)
  • Salon Prive London (3rd-5th September)
  • St James Concours D’Elegance  (5th-7th September)
  • Goodwood Revival (12th- 15th September)
  • NEC Footman James Classic Motor Show (14th-16th November)

Here’s what you can do to reduce the risk of your Classic Car ending up in the wrong hands.

Living conditions

During the winter it is likely that your Car was stored away from prying eyes and whilst it may be tempting to leave the Car in front of the house during the warmer months, ideally the Car should be kept in a garage or at least under wraps. This will reduce opportunities for thieves to inspect the Car for desired parts. If you have a second more modern vehicle, then try to block your Classic in on the drive.

Track her!

Trackers can be fitted really discreetly within the vehicle and in the event that the Car is stolen the GPS can be activated to locate the vehicle.  Car alarms and immobilisers also act as a great deterrent against potential thieves.

Prove it

It is really important that you have Classic Car insurance for your vehicle, such as our Optima Classic Car policy, rather than an adaption of a standard Motor policy.  Keep your insurer up-to-date with any enhancements made to the Car and hold on to the paperwork to support these changes. You should also make sure that the valuation of the vehicle is supported by evidence such as photos of the restoration process too.

Time is of the essence

If your Car is stolen then report it to the police and your insurer as soon as possible. Classic Cars are desirable to thieves due to their individual parts and therefore thieves may break the Car down. It is also worth monitoring Car websites to see if anyone is selling a Car or Car parts unusually similar to yours.

Word of mouth

If the Car is stolen then spread the word both on and offline as quickly as possible. As the Classic Car is likely to look distinctively different to standard Cars, there is more chance of it being spotted if you make others aware.

Blog by Ian Pritchard, Niche/Schemes Underwriting Manager, Personal Motor, Ageas UK