Whether you are building a street car or a track car, you should consider what it would mean to you financially if your project car were lost in a fire or theft, or accident in transport. Even as a pile o' parts, there is a significant investment in your car.
The traditional answer to this problem is insurance. But it's a little more complex than it might seem at first. Your current auto insurer doesn't see your kit as a car, and won't insure it. Hey, it doesn't even have a VIN, so the insurer can't even begin the paperwork he fills out for your neighbor's Camry!
One possible solution is to try to cover your project with either your existing homeowners policy for your home, or with a specific rider to your existing policy. You'll need to talk to your agent to get the details.
Another option is insurance from specialty insurers that understand cars like ours, even the ones that are incomplete, and can write policies that cover them.
Best of all, depending on the kind of policy that you select, the premium can be surprisingly affordable, even for the relatively high valuations that our cars typically bring.
Kinds of Insurance For Your SL-C
Stated Value vs Actual Cash Value
Unlike your other "normal" cars that have policies that will pay claims based on what the insurer determines is the nominal value of the car or "Actual Cash Value", our cars don't have a value that can be looked up in a trade book. And it's hard to find another equivalent car in any case.
So almost every SL-C owner selects a kind of policy that is called "agreed value". Check this resource out for a complete understanding of the topic, but essentially agreed value policies insure the car for a specific value that is agreed upon on issuance of the policy, so the amount is fixed, and does not go down each year as other policies that use the "actual cash value" method of valuation. The insurer will typically want pictures of the car, or a professional appraisal, to be sure that the amount of insurance you request is consistent with the actual value of the car.
You will likely be able to negotiate terms like the number of miles you can put on the car, the amount of the deductible, and the kinds of use that are acceptable (can you drive it to work, for example?). All of those factors will drive the premium, so work with the agent you choose to get the combination that makes sense for you.
The policies above are the kit car version of regular policies- they are acceptable to all states for which they are written, and typically include not just collision but comprehensive and medical payments.
"Paddock" Insurance Policies
But if you really aren't driving your car, and just want it insured while you are working on it, or trailering it to the interior shop, or coverage while it is at home or at another shop, there is another kind of policy to consider. Typically called "Paddock" insurance, it covers all risks to the car (but typically does not cover medical, etc) except when your car is under power. This is a great kind of policy to have while the car can't actually be driven because they aren't assembled enough, or for race cars for which you are willing to assume on-track damage, but want coverage for all other risks. Most of the vendors in the chart below will write this kind of policy. Note that this kind of policy doesn't meet the standard that most states have if you live where insurance is legally required- but those apply to cars that are already registered and driving anyway.
When Your Car is Completed
When your car is completed, the insurance situation brightens considerably.
Here's a table of insurers who typically insure specialty cars like the SL-C.
|American Modern||Insures several builder's SL-Cs directly, and underwrites some other sellers as well.|
|National Corvette Musuem||Insures more than Corvettes, and several SL-Cs have insurance through the NCM. One builder says to ask for Adam Boca.|
|Grundy's||Long-term player in the specialty car insurance business.|
|Heacock Classic||Mostly "classic" cars|
|Barrett-Jackson||Yes, the auction powerhouse also sells insurance. Kind of one-stop shopping when you buy one their cars at auction.|
|Midwest Classic||Another long term player, despite the comical website. Worth a call.|
|Hagerty||Good experience with classics.|
|Leland-West||Another option worth investigating.|
Experience with many SL-Cs has shown that they can typically be insured for amounts from $80,000 to about $130,000, depending on the car.
The insurers will look at your driving record, so if you have speeding tickets, or worse, try to time the application for insurance so that they will have fallen off the timeframe the insurer will consider them. If you do have current tickets, and there is an explanation, have that ready when you apply, so your case can be made as strongly as possible.