The Phoenix Insurance.  Auto and Homeowners Insurance in Dallas
  • April11th

    I write a lot of insurance policies. “That’s great, braggart”, you say, “But what does that mean to me?” Most people buy insurance 8-10 times in their lives; I buy that many policies every week, so my knowledge of insurance tends to be more up to date, and that makes it easier for me to help customers maximize their insurance dollar. Some people call me an insurance “salesman”, but I prefer to think of myself as an educator; I do much more teaching than selling. Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and other “fast” cars present a bit of a challenge when it comes to insurance, because the same car can be a daily driver for one person and a dedicated track machine for someone else. In today’s blog, we will address how to cover a car that you do not run on the track, whether it’s a daily driver or a weekend only sunny day car.

    exotic auto insurance


    If your fast car is your primary mode of transportation, you probably have it on your regular auto policy, which is great when it’s a new car, and easy to value, but not so good when it gets a few years old and value becomes a little more subjective, according to the “market”. (Cars have value markets as well- early Porsche 911’s are gaining value daily – and they are worth 2x what they were just a few years ago.) Most standard every day driver policies are based on an “Actual Cash Value” form, which means that if you total your car, they are going to pay market value of your car. That’s fine if your car is more valuable today than when you bought it, but problematic if you are upside down, or if your car has not begun appreciating yet. This isn’t ideal, but if you are driving your car every day, you don’t have a whole lot of choice. There are some coverages that you should discuss with your agent to make sure you get maximum value in the event of a claim; make sure you get OEM parts coverage, Roadside assistance, and glass coverage. You are most likely to use the latter two, and they can save you pretty good money in the event of a nuisance claim (broken windshield or breakdown).



    If you have a modern (less than 15 years old) fast car, but only use it as a sunny day/weekend driver, you can cover your car with an “Agreed Value” policy as a modern collectible. This type of policy is the best kind for a special vehicle, as you decide up front what your car is worth in the event of a loss, and that is the amount you get, not subject to market or bluebook values. These types of policies are available on a limited or restricted mileage program, and often include greatly reduced deductibles and coverage for spare parts, as well as roadside assistance. Most policies even allow for you to drive your car to work a few days a month, if showing off for your peers is your thing. In order to insure your car with a policy like this, you must have a daily driver car on a regular insurance policy. Agreed Value specialty policies tend to be a bit cheaper overall, because the company knows it’s not insuring a car that is exposed to a ton of risk, driven by someone who is taking extra care and precaution with their special car.


    custom car insurance

    Most important, when you discuss coverage for your exotic car – or just your really fast Subaru, make sure you talk to an expert. Sure, lots of insurance agents CAN write you a policy on your exotic, but is it the right policy? I’ll give you an example to help you understand why (in most cases) your regular agent is not qualified to write your specialty policy. You wake up one morning and find a growth on your face. Are you going to just any doctor to see what to do about it? Probably not – you are going to find an expert who ha lots of face growth experience, and can speak about the situation from knowledge. Sure, any doctor can just whip that thing off with a scalpel, but is that what you are looking for  when it comes to a growth on your face? No. You want to know that it’s something that doctor has dealt with in the past, and has some experience with. Treat your insurance the same way. It doesn’t take much to get an insurance license; that’s easy. Being an expert, on the other hand? That’s tough. We are classic, exotic, and racecar insurance experts – and we are not going to ever tell you something you want to hear to make a sale. We are going to help you make a wise decision based on what is realistic for your special auto, and your needs.


  • January6th

    Ah, the first Cars and Coffee of 2014 came, and The Phoenix Insurance was there as always. Sadly, our Divco Lightning is in drydock for some new seats before we bring it to Autorama, so I just took my 1979 GMC Caballero out and went kind of “incognito” to see what showed up. It was cold and crisp, with an excellent turnout – the NSX crew were out in full force, and there were so many Porsches that they overflowed where they usually park. We also met the guys at this week, and are storing our truck there while we freshen it up for 2014 – and the photos of the Porsches inside show who our uncouth truck is rooming with.


  • November18th

    So while we spend a lot of time doing insurance for expensive classic cars, rare muscle cars, and even exotic racecars, we also spend  time watching what is on the market. We spend a lot of time looking at cars and talking about cars, and we don’t just hang out at high end car shows. We are at the street meets where kids bring their stanced Acura out and park it next to the Miata with an LS swap, as well as at the shows where every car is at least $100,000. One of the my favorite conversations at every meet is ”what you would do with $100,000?” For some of us it would mean one nice high end car, and that’s great. But for others, it would mean a garage full of $5000 cars. In that spirit (and since that is always my answer) I thought I’d go through Craigslist and see what kind if interesting cars you could get (and insure) for less than $5k. Most likely, by the time you read this, these ads will be long gone, but this is a selection culled on November 18, 2013 from the Dallas, TX Craigslist. Obviously, these picks are no more than my opinion – but you can get a “Special interest” car for much cheaper than you think. Any one of these would be eligible for a stated value or agreed value collector car insurance policy, as long as you have an “every day” driver car to put a regular policy on. My only parameters were that the car be running and driving, so it can be enjoyed at the time of purchase – there are a ton of cool “projects” available for under $5000, but it’s more fun if you can actually drive what you buy. That being said, let’s go shopping!


    1. Either first or second generation Toyota MR2. The MR2 was Toyota’s mid engine sportscar, produced from 1984 – 2007. On today’s craigslist you can go for a 1st generation 1984 MR2 for the whopping sum of $900. I am assuming you have the budget of $5000 altogether, because while this car does run, drive and is tagged, I’m guessing that it has some deferred maintenance issues as well as cosmetic fixes you will need to attend to right away. With about $4000 in your pocket, you can come out of this deal with a pretty nice mid engine sportscar.

    This is a $900 MR2

    This is a $900 MR2

    If you like the MR2 idea, but would like a little more power and a little less project, there is a second generation 1991 MR2 Turbo available as well, though it’s listed for $4000. Along with several photos comes a list of completed items, including several aftermarket bolt-ons and a long list of maintenance recently done. The addition of the turbo puts this little rollerskate in the 200hp range – good fun.


    This is a $4000 MR2

    Both of these cars are under 100,000 miles, and are both potential classic cars in the years to come. Since both are over 20 years old, both can find a home on a classic auto insurance policy, and will likely cost under $100 a year to insure.


    2. Your choice of hot Mustangs. Full disclosure here; I am not a big Mustang fan. I don’t know why, but the marque doesn’t appeal to me. That being said, I’m not stupid, and recognize a classic when I see it, and here you once again have a choice of two generations of vehicles for under $5000. Sure, there are a lot of mustangs around that can be had for less than that, but the two I have found today are ones that will command some interest in the future – and there is nothing better than actually making money on a car, trust me.

    For $4000, you can snag this 1988 fastback Mustang GT. In basic black, it looks good, and has a reported 50,000 miles on the clock. I think that the Fox body mustang is getting ready to “pop”, collectability wise, and a nice, low mileage, unmolested GT from this era has a real upside potential. Being an ’88 it isn’t technically a “classic” yet, but it’s rapidly appreciating. Buy one of these now before the price settles in the five figure range.

    1988 Mustang GT - $4000

    1988 Mustang GT – $4000

    This next mustang is a hair over $5000 at $5400, but I am counting on you to have some sort of negotiation skills and talk them down into your price range – and you should, because the car we are talking about is a 1998 Ford SVT Cobra Convertible. This body style of mustang is my least favorite, but as a Cobra Convertible, I would guess that in a few years it will also command some collector interest.

    1998 Cobra Mustang. $5400.

    1998 Cobra Mustang. $5400.

    3. One Camaro. Once again, there are some different generations of Camaro available in this price range, but most of the F-body examples are pretty beat. Instead, we will go a little bit older and take a look at this 1989 Camaro listed as “completely restored”. This car looks to be a solid runner, in a body style you don’t’ see around that much any more. While it’d be nice if it were an IROC or an RS, the fact that it looks so nice makes up for the (still good) 305 engine. While this car might not make you a ton of money going forward, it would be a nice sunny day driver to get some looks. At 42,000 miles, you still have quite a ways to go before your engine starts to get tired.

    1989 Camaro, $4800


    4. A mint condition 1979 Buick Regal.  Sure, there are lots of “hot” cars out there, as can be seen above, but the real rare cars are the ones that just got “used up” – and the 1970′s family sedan is a great example of that class. In the 1970′s they were kings of the road, by the 1990′s they were outdated boats that were the first car for many high school students, and in the past decade they have quietly disappeared from the roads. I can tell you from personal experience that there is no better ride than a giant 1970′s American family sedan. Plenty of room, lots of luxury, and miles of windshield. This 1979 2 door regal is listed as having some minor paint wear and under 90,000 original miles. These types of cars are getting rarer and rarer in this original condition, and I think this example would be a solid investment. At $4000 in value, you would once again be insuring this classic car for about $100 a year.

    1979 Buick REgal, $4000

    5. A running, driving 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza convertible. The Corvair was Chevrolet’s answer to the Porsche 911, and was in fact slated to become its own “brand”, like Saturn or Scion – but bad press derailed that plan shortly into production. This Corvair Convertible, while a little rougher than my other picks, is a solid start to a project. The seller states that it is a good start for restoration, but that it can also be enjoyed as is. That being the case, this is certainly a car that can be purchased cheaply, enjoyed, and then most likely sold at a profit, even if the new owner never turns a wrench. It’s too bad that the Corvair line didn’t take off, as they are (in my opinion) beautiful cars. For $3750, this is an inexpensive way to buy a true classic.

    1964 Corvair Convertible, $3750

    And because this car is so pretty, it gets two photos in the article.

    The dash isn’t even cracked!

    As you can see, it doesn’t take a ton of money to get into the classic car hobby. While we would all love to stumble across a Super Bee in a barn somewhere, the more likely scenario is that it’s easy to find our favorite “fun” car, but it’s very hard to justify the cost for a car that might get driven a few days a month, if it’s nice. Look around, determine what your budget is, and then be open to “potential” classics as well. There are a whole group of people that had posters of the hottest cars in 1986 on their walls as kids. Those folks now have enough disposable income to see about making the car on that poster a reality; position yourself to be ahead of the market, rather than chasing it.

  • September25th

    So you have spent hours watching “Fast and Loud” and “Dallas Car Kings” and “Chasing Classic Cars”, and the Mecum auction runs in your house like CSPAN runs at Nancy Pelosi’s house – all of the time. After such a glut of classic car buying shows, you are finally onboard – and you have come to a classic car insurance expert to help you decide if you can even afford to own a classic. Insurance is expensive, right? Wrong.  Assuming you aren’t purchasing a $3 million dollar classic, your insurance will be fairly inexpensive, as I have said before. However, there are other things you need to look out for when buying a classic that can certainly cost you money in the long run. Hopefully your humble author will help you avoid some of those pitfalls.

    I’d better close my other “research” windows before the wife gets home…

    1. The first thing you need to do is research. It’s not hard to find a classic that you like – heck, I see a few cars that I’d like to buy just about every day – and sometimes, I have acted upon that impulse. Since buying my first couple of cars (and learning afterwards what kinds of mistakes I made) I have instituted a firm “You had better research it” rule before purchasing anything. Yes, classics look supercool, but a lot can be masked by a good cleaning – you can get so impressed by the car that you overlook all of the bad stuff. In todays internet age, it’s very easy for you to find a group of enthusiasts for every car.  Take advantage of that; look, learn, and chat a little. Unless you are looking at a car that is only available every 20 years or so, take a breather and do some learning. My first ‘classic” was an automatic Porsche – and the piece that makes the automatic run is a giant rubber bagel. That giant rubber bagel is 2 things; expensive and fragile after 30+ years. Had I known that before buying the car, I would have bought a standard, and saved myself a $3500 repair bill. That’s where the research comes in. Learn before you buy.


    This one is going to need a little body work.


    2.  Inspect the car. This may seem like a no brainer, but with a lot of classic car purchases, the car might not be close enough to you to easily do an inspection in person. Photos can be deceiving, and might not show you all of the little things that the car may need. Tires can be cracked, there can be small rust and dings that aren’t readily apparent in the photos, and paint will shine even on a bad car if the photo is taken in the right light. It’s important to look under the car, check for rust and leaks, and etc. If you are not local, there are services close to most major cities that will inspect the car for a fee. However, before you pay one of these services, you should ask them what their inspection entails, and go over the specific items you are looking for on the car you are considering.


    3.  Purchase your car. Most people buying classics have been saving up the money for a while – and whether your budget is for a “project” or complete car, you need to move pretty quickly, especially if you are looking at a rare and/or desirable model. If it’s nice enough for you to buy, there is probably someone else considering the purchase as well. Once your inspection questions are answered move quickly; make an offer right away. If for some reason you don’t’ have the cash to make the purchase outright, there are companies that will finance a classic - but you want to have that all lined up before you find your car. Then once you find it, you don’t have to wait for approval. If at all possible, try to negotiate with cash, because waving a preapproved check doesn’t get you the best deal – but fanning a handful of hundreds tends to get the seller’s attention.

    Classic Auto Insurance  (20) 4. Arrange to get it to your house. There are multiple shipping companies out there that will ship a classic (or anything else) you want to get across country. There is even a chance you will get on TV if you accept the right bid. That’s assuming your car is an ultra low mileage example, or undriveable. If it’s a good, road worthy car, simply ensure you have roadside assistance on your policy and fly in to get the thing and drive it home. Enjoy your honeymoon with the car, plan a vacation around it, and enjoy your new purchase. There is nothing quite like a road trip in a classic, and there will never be a road trip that is more exciting than your first trip in your new old baby.


    Make sure door dings aren’t going to be an issue.

    5. Arrange for storage and maintenance. This should probably be done first, but it’s an important consideration. I assume you have a regular car that you will be driving on the regular, and that it probably lives in your garage. ?Unless that car (or the wife’s car) is getting the boot, you need a place to store your presumably expensive new toy.  There are many storage facilities and many levels of storage – everything from air conditioned storage with “car exercisers” to start your car and keep it running, to places that have enclosed storage with nothing more than a roof and 4 walls. In addition to storage, you need to arrange for maintenance.  Lots of mechanics have no idea how to work on a classic – so you need to find a specialist. Ask around at car shows and see who your new friends use.


    6. Get insurance. I guess this should have happened when you bought the car, but you do need insurance. Don’t just “put it on your regular policy”, because most “regular” policies don’t cover classics as they should – you will most likely end up on an actual cash value policy – which means that your car is paid out on the cost to purchase another - less depreciation. That’s the part you need to be worry about. Depreciation is the killer there; by definition a classic is an old car. If they depreciate it at the minimum of 1% a year, you are losing value there. Instead, do it right and call a classic insurance expert. When you put a car on a classic policy, you arrange for “Agreed value” coverage – which ensures that you are covered for what you have in the car. It’s a good idea to think realistically as well and remember that while you got a good deal today, you might not be able to get one in six months. Plan (and insure) accordingly. Most classic cars tend to appreciate in value, so insuring for what you paid today could make it hard to find another should something happen.

    Obviously, these aren’t all of the things you need to consider when purchasing a classic (or exotic) car. These are the mechanicals you should consider. I’ll do another post soon that delves into the best ways to make an “investment” in a classic. There is much more to consider on that front, but for now if you already know what you want, this list should help you make a wise purchase. When you find your dream car, I look forward to talking to you about how best to protect it.

  • September3rd


    A clever headline, yes. It might even be the reason I’m writing this blog post at all, to be honest. Actually, no, that’s not fair – it’s only 50% of the reason I’m writing today. The rest of the reason is my relentless need to answer questions. Since we have opened the doors of our commercial department, we seem to have more and more contractors asking us about bonding. At first, we wondered if our reputation as amateur glue makers had gotten around, but after some thoughtful probing we realized that people were interested in learning what it takes to get a performance bond – and we learned why you should start the process before you actually need the bond. Hopefully this blog post will help you prepare so you can get the big jobs.

    First, let’s get this out of the way – “What does a performance bond do?” An excellent question, and one that I am more than happy to answer. A performance bond guarantees the project time – so that if the project isn’t complete in the agreed upon time period, the bond is forfeit – and the person doing the renovations can use that money to hire another contractor to complete the job in a timely manner. Generally, performance bonds are required by companies doing large scale time sensitive projects, as well as by municipalities doing public works projects.  A bond will be posted in the amount of the bid – so if you bid $160,000 to re-letter the town water tank, and you tell them you can do it in six weeks, you would post a $160,000 bond with a six week timeframe. If the job isn’t done, or isn’t done correctly (you paint it upside down) then the city has $160,000 to start all over again.

    What does it take to get one of these bonds? It’s actually a lot like getting approved for a loan. Since the insurance company is guaranteeing your work, they want to get to know a bit about who they are partnering with – and they are partnering, because the bond for the $16,000 job up there, it only costs a few hundred bucks. How is that for some risk?

    So what do the insurance companies need to know in order to get you bonded? First, they will need financial records, prepared by a CPA – records for both the business, and for the owner. I see you over there, asking “why” – because they are putting up money at pennies on the dollar that you are a reasonable person – who won’t abscond with the first payment, or who needs the money from this job to pay off  a job he did six months ago. One can never tell who will be bad with money, but having someone with a solid financial history on paper is better than nothing  – and I promise, you aren’t getting a bond until the company sees your statements, so go ahead and start putting them together now. Don’t know who to call? Call us, we will help you find someone.

    Start typing up a resume while your CPA works on your financial statement. Obviously, it’s no all about whether you are going to split with the money – they also need to know that you are actually capable of getting on that water tower and getting the letters painted. So put together a resume for the company to look at. You can leave off the job you had at Wendy’s in high school – but if that’s your only experience and you are looking for a performance bond, you might just be out of luck.

    Finally, the bonding company is going to want to know what your last few jobs looked like. Put together a description of your last five or six jobs, and what they cost. Once again, the insurance company is going to be backing you with their money – so they need to know that if you are bidding big jobs that you have done more than handyman work over the past year.

    Once you have done all of those things, we will fill out an application and send your paperwork off for a Bonding Pre-Qualification Letter. As you can see if you read this post (and if you aren’t reading, why are you spending so much time on this page?) it takes some time to put a bond together. I bet you can also see that it wouldn’t pay to bid a job and then realize that you don’t qualify for a bond in the amount of your bid. In fact, some government projects may require a Pre-Qualification letter to be submitted with a bid. With proper preparation, you can bid jobs to your heart’s content, and know that if your bid is selected that you can be at work in a matter of days, rather than weeks.  Call us today and let us help you make the next step in your company’s evolution – and let us make it a pleasant experience.




  • July22nd

    So, the economy is booming, and either things are picking up for you, or you have decided that you have had enough of working for “the Man” and you are opening your new business. Either way, this blog is for you. Yes, we are going to talk about insurance, but that’s what you come here to read about anyway, right? I mean, you don’t come here just for the classic car stuff, do you? Or had you not realized that this was an insurance website, and bookmarked it as just a good place to get info? Well, I hate to break it to you, but this IS an insurance website, and we do need to keep the lights on around here, so today it’s going to be an insurance intensive blog. Most of the commercial insurance information I’m going to share with you here is going to be sort of generalized, but some may apply specifically to our big two cites where we write the most commercial insurance; Dallas and San Diego.

    So why do you need commercial insurance? Let’s say you are a painter here in Dallas. Things are picking up, and you almost can’t keep up with the business. Insurance is just another expense taking away from your bottom line though, right? I man, you aren’t ever going to make a mistake big enough to need a million dollar liability policy, right? That’s just crazy? Right? Right?

    Who thought MONKEYS would be a good cost saving method?

     Wrong. So I will tell you from my humble experience as a painter. (Yes, that’s right dear reader, your humble author once wielded the brush and spraygun for a living.) I was in my twenties, and was working for another friend of mine who was just a little older, but had come up with the pawn money to buy a spray rig and print business cards. It was a boom time then in Dallas as well, and he thought that commercial insurance was for the big guys. Sadly, he just didn’t count on your humble author to paint for him, he also had another person working with me who wasn’t much smarter than a rock. We two were working in a recently renovated condo one day, and while I painted the kitchen, he was busy working upstairs in the loft area, doing some cut ins around the edge. I was busy spraying, and when I turned the compressor off, I heard a very large crash. A very large crash. I ran out of the kitchen only to slip in the rapidly spreading pool of white paint that now covered the recently laid hardwood floors. One lesson I learned that day is that no matter how many rags you have, they will never be enough to mop up the paint you have spilled on a beautiful new floor. The lesson my friend learned? That insurance would have been a better investment than the matching T shirts he made us wear. As this process went on and on the homeowner got more and more upset, and the general contractor got more and more upset, and my friend went out of business. He didn’t have the money to pay for the repairs, and he just had to dry up and blow away. Commercial insurance for a painter is cheap – it probably would have cost him less than $100 a month to cover himself and let the insurance deal with it.  Last I heard, he worked at a Blockbuster…

    As a painter, there are few worse feelings. Except being this painter’s boss.


    “What does that have to do with me?”, you say a little smugly. Smug mostly because you are a photographer, but mostly smug because you know that a photographer doesn’t have to worry about commercial liability insurance. “I’m not going to spill paint everywhere.”. Oh yeah? Paint is small bones compared to what a photographer can be sued for. This one comes from a friend of mine, but I was at the wedding, so I can count this among my own experiences. She had a wonderful wedding – the champagne was flowing like wine, the cakes were delicious, the meat was either chicken or beef (vegetarian by special request), and the photographer was everywhere, flash bulbs a popping, waving his finger to get your attention, and just being an all around good documentarian. He went home, plugged the photos into his computer, and went to sleep. During the night, something mysterious happened, and all of her wedding photos were lost due to the mysteries of computers and electricity. Just gone, as if it never happened. What could our intrepid photographer do in this case? Not a thing, but suffer her wrath, and bad reviews, and try to fend off her lawsuits, and try to put back together the deposit money she had paid him a long time ago. Or, he could simply call his insurance company and claim his electronic document coverage, and see if they could recover what was gone. Or he could let the company fend off her lawsuits. Either way, he would have been able to continue business as usual. The kicker? Insurance for him would have been cheap.

    This is how my memories of her wedding look – open bar!

    So both of these examples are things that actually happened – things that the person who should have bought insurance was actually responsible for. What if you are a contractor (or anyone else, really) and just meet a person who has the money to make your life harder – even though you have done no wrong? Pull up a log and let me tell you my third and final story.  I once had a client who was a general contractor – and a good one who worked in your higher end homes. I had done his insurance for years, and he was an excellent risk who guaranteed his work, had good insurance for his guys, etc. I even referred him to our clients when they didn’t know anyone. He was hired by a woman to remodel her house, and he did a fantastic job, and in fact was so proud of his work that he had featured some of her project on his website as examples of the quality of work. He was as pleased as punch, and when he went to present her with the bill, there were suddenly problems, and she presented him with a lawsuit. And then another, and then another. She just didn’t like him, and rather than letting him try to make it right, she decided to sue. Luckily, he did have commercial insurance, and the insurance company was there to defend his lawsuits. Again and again, until she gave up. Ultimately she ended up not paying him at all, but rather than losing the pay he expected and every dime he owned, he had the insurance company there to fend off her lawsuits.


    This is what getting sued looks like over the phone.

     I’m going to stop here, because I could continue telling you horror stories all day; I’ve been in this business for a while, and have dealt with many business owners and commercial insurance policies. If you are thinking of starting your business, or have even been operating without insurance for a while, then it’s time to consider commercial insurance. Remember, you don’t have to be in the wrong in order to get sued, you just have to bump up against someone who has more time on their hands to file lawsuits than you do. They don’t have to get a judgment to cost you money; all they have to do is find a lawyer willing to file. You have to defend yourself and your business, and in a lot of cases, the lawyer fees for one case are more than it would have cost you to put some insurance company lawyers on your side. Insurance is something that lots of small companies and contractors think is “too expensive”, but it’s actually a lot more expensive to go without. Call us today and see just how inexpensive commercial insurance can be. If you at least do that, I’ll feel better, and you can make an informed decision as a business owner. Half of the people we talk to about commercial insurance are shocked at how inexpensive it can be, and how much value they get for their dollar. Next time I will discuss some of that added value, but for me the liability coverage has the most value – you get an insurance lawyer at your disposal for pennies on the dollar – and those people are bulldogs. I know for sure you don’t want to be on the other side of that transaction.

  • May1st

    We dont’ always go to the “big” shows – just this last weekend we went out to a small local Mexican restaraunt and checked out their Sunday show.



  • April29th

    This was one of our first local prize wins – our DIVCO Lightning walked away with the 1st place in the “Special Interest” category. We met some great people and had a great time at the show.

  • April26th

    As you well know, we recently took a trip out to Del Mar California to visit the GoodGuys Del Mar Nationals. It was a great weekend, a great show, and we will be back next year. This was our first “prizewinning” show, as we took home the “dare to be different” award for our DIVCO Lightning.




  • April18th

    As some of you who actually read this blog (and follow our adventures) know, we recently made a road trip to California in our 1955 DIVCO Lightning to participate in the 13th Annual Del Mar Nationals Good-Guys show. To be honest, I thought that taking our products into California and talking to folks about the way they insure their classics would be the same as it is in Texas; classic car insurance is classic car insurance, right? The folks driving the cars are the same as everywhere else, and so it should be easy, right? Wrong.

    Our roadtrip vehicle. 1955 DIVCO milk truck, somewhere in New Mexico.

    1. People in California drive their classic automobiles. On our first day in town, we decided to have some lunch near the beach while we got the road grime cleaned off of the DIVCO Lightning. After we negotiated a price to get our hot rod milk truck washed, we strolled down by the beach, and I counted not less than 4 cars from the 1950′s and 60′s with surfboard carriers strapped to their roofs. There was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel air, a “Ratrod” woody, a 1960′s MG coupe, and of course, a VW bus. Driving your classic car is not a problem, but in order to make sure your car is properly covered, talk to an agent. Lots of classic auto specific policies forbid using your car for anything other than parades or car shows. I could tell already that California classic owners were a different breed, and I hadn’t even talked to any yet.

    This is a pretty pricey truck anymore.

    2. Everything is expensive in California. I also learned this on the beach – at a lunch joint. Why is this important when it comes to writing classic car insurance in California? Because Californians don’t believe that ANYTHING worthwhile can be as cheap as classic auto insurance is, and they certainly think that if it’s as cheap as it is, they don’t want anything to do with it. In this case, living in California has skewed their opinions in the wrong way. Classic car insurance (in California or anywhere) is cheap and worthwhile. Some inexpensive things have value, and classic car insurance is one of them.

    This is another thing that is super expensive in California. I’d go pedestrian if I had to see this every day.

    3. People love “woodies” in California. Which is great, and a long part of their beachgoing tradition. I also learned woodies are expensive. I had guessed as much, but had no idea that an “average” woody can go for upwards of $100,000. I was also surprised at the number of folks with six figure rarities that just kept liability coverage, “because I don’t really drive it that much”. I’ll say it again; if you have a classic or collector car, getting full coverage through a specialty program is generally cheaper than just having liability coverage through your regular carrier. That $100,000 woody wagon? It’d cost under $600 a year to insure it for the true value, and come out of an accident with enough money to build a new one.

    This is a 1948, and you are looking at probably 125-140k of American iron and wood “on the hoof” as it were.

    4. Roadside assistance is very worthwhile coverage, every time. On our way back home, we ran over a bag that contained something sharp enough to put a 2.5″ cut in the white part of our whitewall tire. When I discussed our policies with California folks, they just about all dismissed “Roadside assistance” as something they didn’t want to pay for on their classic auto policy, because “I have it through AAA” or some other reason. I guess that’s fine, but all of our classic policies have flatbed towing guaranteed, and not every roadside program does. I was impressed with the response time as well; we picked up our flat in Yuma, AZ at 6:30 in the morning and were on the back of the tow truck within 20 minutes of calling our classic car insurance company. The best part? Roadside assistance is a built in coverage, so you aren’t paying any extra for it.

    You want to consider how good your roadside is well before this happens.

    I learned a lot more than these four things on our California road trip, but those are for another blog post. Our DIVCO Lightning won an award, and was very well recieved by the folks at the show, and we met lots of really nice people who were looking to do business with the best classic car insurance agency in California. Luckily, we were there.