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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.