Classic car insurance and regulations in California
Insurance guides

Classic car insurance and regulations in California

Discover the Golden State particularities for insuring your Classic Car, whether antique or vintage.

Looking for informations on Classic Car Insurance in the US ?

Classic Car Insurance Guide

Collector car according to the state of California

The state of California considers a collector car cannot be used primarily for transportation. To qualify as a collector car, the model has to be 35 years or older (or at least 25 years old with Historical license plates) or classified as a special interest vehicle.

Kit cars do not qualify as collector cars.

Historical license plates in California

Your vehicle is eligible for Historical license plates if it is a vehicle of historic interest manufactured after 1922 and is at least 25 years old. The vehicle must not be altered from the manufacturer’s original specifications.

These special plates, issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, give you numerous advantages, as a one-time registration (implying a one-time fee), less inspection, and lower premiums.

You cannot use a Historical vehicle for your daily drives, so you will need to have another car registered for primary use.

Plates personalization

In California, historical vehicle license plates are not available as personalized plates.

The historical plates assignment is definitive.

California Smog Certification Program

All 1975 and older vehicles are exempt from Smog Check.

Models 1976 and later collector cars are not exempt, but eligible for an abbreviated inspection.

The Smog Check inspection for a collector car can only be performed by a State-authorized referee station.

Vehicles exempt from smog inspection:

  • Gasoline-powered vehicles: 1975 year model or older (including motorcycles and trailers)
  • Diesel-powered vehicles: 1997 year model or older or with a Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 14,000 pounds.
  • Vehicles powered by natural gas and weigh more than 14,000 pound
  • Electrical vehicles
  • Gasoline-powered vehicles (less than eight model-years old).

Save on your classic car insurance in CA

Most of the time, you will get discounts from your insurance carrier if you are a member of a club.

Here are a few examples of the car clubs you can find in California:

  • West Coast customs
  • Alfa Romeo Club
  • Classic Car Club of America

Is my classic car insured for events?

If you go to an auto show (such as the Sacramento Autorama, the Rendezvous Back to Route 66 car show, the Grand National Roadster show, or the Valley Nationals), your car should be covered by the event’s insurance.If you are hosting an event yourself, some companies insure auto shows, like Heacock.

Where can I find a local broker for my classic car?

If you live in the San Francisco area, Hot Rod Insurance is the best choice to handle your classic car needs.