Five Facts about Collector Car Insurance

Collector car insurance has existed for over fifty years, but less than half of the vehicles that qualify for such coverage are not covered by specialty programs. Instead, most owners of collector cars, street rods, antiques, and exotics pay more money than they need to in exchange for standard insurance policies that are often more restrictive and less comprehensive.

If you own a collectible or exotic car, ask yourself the following questions:

  • If my car is totaled, will I receive its full value?
  • If I file I claim, will I get personal service?
  • Do I mind paying for more than one type of liability?
  • Do I mind paying a premium than is significantly higher than that of other companies?

If you expect excellent service, full coverage, and answered “yes” to the last two questions, collector car insurance may be for you.

Of course, you’re probably also concerned about rumors you might have heard, that insurance for collectible autos comes with a lot of rules and regulations, or isn’t meant for cars that are actually driven. Here are five things to help assure you that collector car insurance is a viable option.

1. Coverage: There are three basic types of automobile insurance coverage: Actual Cash Value, Stated Value and Agreed Value. Actual Cash Value (ACV) is what most standard street cars have. It pays out the “book” value of your car minus any depreciation in the event of a claim, which means the older your car is, the less value it has. Some mainstream insurers also offer Stated Value policies, which allow owners to “state” a value for their car or motorcycle that is greater than the depreciated “book” value. While this sounds good on the surface, and it is a better option than ACV, Stated Value policies still include some depreciation, and are also written so that the insurer only has to pay out an amount “up to” the value of coverage, not “equal to.” Only Agreed Value policies guarantee a full payout in the event of a claim. With these policies, you and the insurer will agree on a value of your which recognizes the fact that collectible cars become more valuable as they age, and also takes into account any aftermarket modifications or restorations that have been made. Most reputable collectible car insurance companies offer only Agreed Value policies.

2. Valuation: While every insurance company handles valuation a little differently, most follow the same guidelines. Appraisals may or may not be required, but the following factors are considered:

  • Originality: If the car is a stock original, valuation is much easier as there are statistics tables and book values that can be used to establish a fincial value. Modified and restored cars are more difficult to compare.
  • Aftermarket Parts: The depth and details of a repair or restoration, or a modification, are considered. In all cases, you will get the best value for your car by providing detailed descriptions of any new parts – replacements or add-ons – that have been installed, preferably with pictures and receipts.

3. Vehicle Age: Some insurers require collectible cars to be at least 25 years old, but many are increasingly accepting brand new exotics, street-rods, and other collectible vehicles. Almost all collectible auto insurance is offered on a case-by-case basis.

4. Mileage Restrictions: Most owners of collectible cars, whether they’re exotic performance cars or antiques, want to be able to show off their rides, but it is generally understood that such cars, even the exotic sports cars, are not driven to and from work every day. Some companies do impose annual mileage restrictions of 2,500 miles, but most have different scales of usage, and some offer unlimited mileage.

5. Other restrictions: Because collector car insurance is meant for the discerning, experienced, vehicle owner, there are common restrictions that exist. One is that drivers must usually have at least ten years of driving experience, another is that they must have clean driving records for two – and in some cases four – years, and a third is that the car must be stored in a locked facility when not in use. The vast majority of such restrictions are common-sense standards, and not at all detrimental to the enjoyment of your vehicle.

But What About the Money?

One of the major collector car insurance, Hagerty, claims that their policies are 500% less expensive than standard insurers, but this is based on antique vehicles. Still, the average premium on a collector car policy, even when covering a sports car, is significantly less than the same coverage (assuming it’s available) would be from an everyday insurer. This is largely because insurance premiums are based on risk, and since most collector car insurance clients are experienced drivers who take good care of their cars, and live in upscale neighborhoods with extensive security, there is a lot less risk.

The bottom line? If you have a vintage motorcycle, a performance sports car, or even a real classic, collector car insurance will save you money, and give you the coverage amount you really deserve.

I Didn’t Win Powerball, But I’m Keeping The King Air Dream Alive!

As I checked my numbers for Saturday’s Powerball, I immediately saw that someone had in fact won the jackpot. And it wasn’t me. Again!

Before checking the numbers, we took a quick trip to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. I’ve lived here way too long to have never visited. And it’s almost equally as bad that I didn’t take any pictures. But there are lots to be seen on Flickr and I posted some below:

The museum is fantastic and should be seen for the Spruce Goose alone. But they have a great selection of aircraft that delight on their own merits.

Upon returning to the house, the bug to fly was really hitting me hard. So naturally I went surfing for King Air videos and found these two that I think you’ll enjoy.

The first is a great landing in Nelson, BC, set to the sound of Chris Cornell performing Seasons:

 

The second is the absolutely disgusting commercial for the King Air. Even if I was that wealthy, I’d like to think this ad would turn my stomach. You be the judge:

Long story short, I’m very seriously considering joining the OSU flying club, which makes getting your license and access to aircraft, very reasonable. Gotta live the dream in any capacity you can right?!

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We Stop By The Seattle International Motorcycle Show

Saturday morning, Paul, Scott, and I bombed up I-5 to catch the Seattle International Motorcycle show. It was a cool show with most manufacturers represented and lots of bikes to sit on, which is what makes these shows so much fun to attend! Here’s the raw and unsorted pictures from the show:

My pick of the show is fantastic Aprilia RS125. At only 280lbs, it’s light as a feather and makes my Ducati at 380lbs feel a bit chunky! Too bad the 125 isn’t street legal though…

Here’s a review of the RS125 on Motorcycle-USA.com

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Manufacturers Withdraw from Major Motorsports Arenas

They’re falling like domino’s with two more announcements today: Subaru and Suzuki are out of the World Rally Championship and Porsche is leaving the American Le Mans Series. Earlier this month, Audi declared they were also leaving ALMS this season, which followed Honda’s decision to pull out of the pinnacle of auto racing, Formula 1. And yesterday, Honda announced it was also pulling out of AMA motorcycle racing next year as well.

With this many high profile exits, I wonder how many more will jump ship before the 2009 season begins?! Do you think it will cause the collapse or consolidation of any major racing series?

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{sorry for all the inline linking, but I wanted to note sources}

HockenheimRing Museum Pictures from my Trip Last Spring

Euro Trip 2008 170 copy

Here are my pics from the HockenheimRing Museum this past spring. I forgot I had even taken these until I stumbled on this eBayMotors auction for a Ducati 350 racebike. When I saw the pictures (which are worth checking out) in the ad I thought to myself, “that reminds me…”

The reason I forgot though is because my pictures are forgettable. They’re out of focus and poorly exposed mostly. Which is really disappointing because I had the whole place to myself.

I had only a day or two left in Germany and I was determined to fit this trip in. So I got up early and drove the doors off our little Merc so I could get there at 10am when they opened. The plan was to be back by early afternoon. I was pretty proud of my planning as I rolled into the HockenheimRing complex at 10:05. No on-track access in the middle of the week, so it was an easy drive right up to the Museum located just outside the track. Apparently they don’t get many visitors on off race weekends as I arrived to find the doors locked. I actually found this pretty shocking as everything in Germany operates as advertised. I pressed my face closer to the glass door and you could clearly tell the lights weren’t even on yet. I was pretty disappointed as I accepted the fact that they might be closed for some reason, and I had just driven nearly 3 hours to get here on a precious last day of the trip. I was just about to drive away when the nice woman who runs the museum flagged me down and let me in.

A lot of the pics are bad because the lights were still off for most of them and I fooled myself into thinking a tripod would’ve been a waste of space on the plane. But for the next hour and a half, I had the entire place to myself and I had a great time soaking up all the great hardware on display. Probably 80% motorcycles, and they all looked like they were kept in preserved and running condition. Most had drip pans underneath and were very original rather than restored.

Enough blabbing, onto the pics! If you have details on models, please feel free to leave comments on the blog post or click through to the Flickr account for each picture.

An extra special thanks to the Museum employee who not only made sure I got to see the collection, but spent at least 20 minutes with me sifting through original HockenheimRing event posters for my souvenier!

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Announcing the MotoringBlogs Automotive and Motorcycling Blog Network

First I want to say how much fun I’ve had bringing readers at dancrouchblog.com the diamonds in the rough over the past 4 years. I have really enjoyed connecting with like minded enthusiasts and I look forward to making that experience even more meaningful moving ahead.

Now it is time to take my career more seriously, and that means making a transition from passive enthusiast to eventual full-time automotive and motorcycling, web and blogging specialist. I’m a bit premature in the announcement of this plan, but I want to keep dancrouchblog.com readers in the loop!

The most immediate and visible change is that I am splitting the topics that are most popular at dancrouchblog.com into their own blogs: German Cars For Sale Blog and Rare SportBikes For Sale. If you’re a fan of dancrouchblog.com, you’ll love these two blogs! They both follow the familiar “best of for sale” listings and resource guides you’re used to at this site, but both have much nicer .rss and email subscription options than I have utilized before. I hope you’ll consider subscribing. If not, don’t worry, I’ll still be highlighting these new blogs on dancrouchblog.com on a regular basis.

These two blogs are the first to be part of my new automotive blog network, MotoringBlogs. My hope for the network is two fold:

  1. Provide greater focus and detail to the automotive and motorcycling niche that the enthusiast searches for. The ability to provide more than a highlight reel or summary of information, and instead cater to the intense and educated enthusiast with detailed and opinionated editorial blog content.
  2. Build a network of authors, websites, and enthusiast readers that grow together to gain access and knowledge via an entertaining and informative blogging style to address sports cars, motorcycles, amateur motorsports, and the latest in breaking industry news.

The MotoringBlogs concept is in it’s infancy, but will grow quickly. More details will follow in the coming months. I will of course keep dancrouchblog.com readers informed first!

I hope you’ll find MotorBlogs to be an even better resource than dancrouchblog.com has been and I welcome your feedback in the comments below.

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Paul and I Return to PIR After a 2 Year Hiatus

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After our second session, the ear-to-ear grin that was covering my face reminded me how much fun track days are. I can’t believe I found excuses for the last 2 years not to go for one reason or another. But I know now that I have to make this happen more often!

In addition to it’s recent tune up, and race gas flowing through her veins, our MK1 Rabbit/Golf track car also saw her first ever action on real racing slicks. This lightly used set of Hoosier slicks were generously provided by the Sports Car Shop, and gave us a whole new level of satisfaction in the Rabbit. It was totally subtle at first. I didn’t notice a sure difference until I was out in the second session by myself after being approved for solo runs. The track was warming up nicely as the sun moved more overhead. Suddenly I was having trouble reaching for gears because I was reaching to downshift from 3rd to 2nd, but kept finding the car in 4th. It immediately dawned on me that I was a full gear higher through corners 4 to 7! And then it was on as we both experienced the never ending grip and predictability that slick tires provide at temperature.

PIR 9.12.08 102 PIR 9.12.08 030 PIR 9.12.08 032

I’ve bragged before about chasing down S4’s in the hands of less skilled drivers, but now, the Rabbit can hang with just about anything with less than 250hp in the tight corners of PIR. That’s no lie as we both enjoyed a day of dicing it up with a Lotus Exige S, 95 BMW e36 M3 (OMFG, there were two there, same year, color and wheels as my old one!), Mazda RX-7 FD3S, and other very respectable company.

I certainly want to thank Sport Car Shop again as the addition of the slicks made a huge difference and made our day. And of course no Track Rabbit post would be complete without a big thank you to Paul for building a budget conscious, bullet-proof-start-every-time-drive-to-and-from-the-track, car that still amazes year after year. Where will the Rabbit lead us next?

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Check out the complete gallery slideshow below. Some sweet cars for this event including an e39 M5, multiple Evo’s and STi’s (hi Mike!), a beautiful white s2000, and even a brand new R35 Nissan Skyline GT-R!

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“Hey, I’ve Never Been on this Road. Let’s Go to Deschutes Brewery!”

Do you ever pull out the map just to find long stretches of twisting road that you’ve never ridden on before? So do we! Paul and I were planning a day of motorcycling from Eugene to Bandon via some back roads, and then back up the coast via 101. But the weather forecasters suddenly warned of an incoming front that could drop rain as early as 11am at the coast. We decided to go east instead to seek out warmer temperatures and avoid the rain until the last minute on the way back.


View Larger Map

Nothing really that special about this route except that I had never been on Highway 242, which is actually the old pass highway to and from Eugene. The road isn’t really maintained anymore and is actually closed most of the wet season. It starts out very inviting, similar to Highway 199 from Grants Pass into the Redwoods, or Highway 1 in NorCal: a thin strip of asphalt draped in the middle of a dense forest with corners ranging from 15 to 35 for at least 10 miles. It would’ve been pure bliss but nearly every corner had the gravel marbles dragged into the roadway by the oversized RV’s littering our beautiful road. Nonetheless, the scenery was incredible!

After tap dancing through these tight and sometimes treacherous corners, we left the forest and ascended to the 5000ft summit where the road opened up a bit. Suddenly the vegetation was becoming non-existent as we crossed through the lava field. The landscape changes so quickly and completely, it was like being on another planet. Here’s a picture I found on Flickr:


Highway 242 conveniently links right up to Sisters, where we would’ve ended up anyway had we taken 126 to 20. We pushed through the annoyingly crowded main drag (no choice) and headed onto Bend. And gosh, as long as we’re in Bend, we better hit the Deschutes Brewery for lunch. I had the Ham wrapped Halibut, and washed it down with their Sagebrush Classic Pils. A really tasty lunch to say the least!

Not the Pils, but a shot I took of a Deschutes bottle a while back:
inversion_ipa_bottle

Then back to business as we headed home. Except the business of enjoying the 30+ miles of tight corners through the Santiam Pass that was practically ruined by the endless stream of RV’s, dawdling sedans, and small trucks towing boats. It’s a public road and all, but please use the turn-outs folks!

All and all though, another great day trip through western Oregon covering nearly 300 miles. And we beat the storm back home. It’s been raining ever since I got home. Perfect timing!

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Motorcycling Trips to be Remembered: Sonomafest 1995

We attended the AMA Superbike races at Sears Point 13 years ago when we made a week long trip down to Sonoma to catch Sonomafest. If I recall correctly, we decided on this trip after reading the recent Cycle World magazine, which features our favorite automotive and motorcycle journalist, Peter Egan and his account of the trip the previous year. Sitting on the porch (the tiny concrete pad in front of door) of my duplex, we once again let beer decide, and we were going. Unfortunately we didn’t meet Peter that year, but did pull a great motorcycling and camping trip that we haven’t really duplicated since. Recently our motorcycling trip to the Olympic Peninsula was our chance to relive that trip.

Suddenly it seems like an eternity ago (see, there it is again), but years ago our trip began by suiting up for our 2 day trip to the bay area from Corvallis, Oregon. Looking back, I was hardly prepared for such a trip, but that naive and youthful nature is what makes the trip even more special to remember.

{Note: time stamp on photos is incorrect.}

dan and bikes and 145 wagon before roadtrip

posing with the bikes before the trip

When we arrived for Thursday evening practice, tent camping inside the racetrack hadn’t opened yet. We were pointed to another track campground called ’40 acres’. Turns out this was only a mowed field that served as overflow parking for the NASCAR event to accommodate the 100k+ fans that turn out for their biggest weekend of the year at Sears Point. Or in other words, no services, including honey buckets. We were the only fans to show up that early and had the entire field to ourselves in fact. All the other early fans stayed in Sonoma a few minutes away. Needless to say, our budget working pizza jobs didn’t accommodate such luxury. It was actually just us and our tiny tent, and a half rack of Coors Light, whom we later decided had sponsored our camping weekend. Amazing the creativity of 21 year olds with a marker and a stack of beer cans!

sonoma road trip camping 40 acres

katana sonoma loaded up with coors

bikes and tent at sunrise

Best I can recollect, we made the trip in 1995 when Sears Point legend Miguel Duhamel was still the man to beat at that track. Upcoming stars that year included Ben Bostrom, Nicky Haden, and my favorite, Australian Anthony Gobert. Here’s a pic with Doug Polen, Miguel Duhamel, and a very young Nicky Haden. In the very back it might be Eric Bostrom. Either the Superbike or SuperSport class. Hard to know without notes and help from the internet. I tried though. If you can help, please comment below!

sears point camping view

That shot was taken from the campground when campsites were still located in the middle of the track in the carousel complex. You would literally wake to the sound of the street sweeper and then the first run group at 8:00AM every morning. Ready or not, here come 30-50 high strung motorcycles, all screaming around the back of your head. Talk about a wake up call! I distinctly remember wishing I hadn’t smoked so many cigarettes the night before!

Here are some more shots of us that weekend:

setting up the new campsite at the track

fzr and katana at sears point

There are many more memories from that trip, like the massive Cycle World group ride that rode more like a GP race and resulted in Editor Edwards getting a fat ticket! But really it serves as a reminder that sweet road trips have been few and far between since graduating college. I’m going to have to make some changes to tour more often, on two wheels or four. A great memory awaits that won’t be experienced from the couch.

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2008 EESCC Larison Rock Hillclimb: Two New Personal Bests!

I had a fantastic time again this year at the EESCC Larison Rock Hillclimb. This group has to be one of the friendliest in amateur motorsports. I feel so lucky to be able to participate in such a great hillclimb each year, less than 2 hours away, in a really scenic part of Oregon!

This year my buddy Paul joined me for the weekend event. After loading up the Rabbit at the Sports Car Shop after work on Friday, we hustled our way down Highway 58 and pulled into the (now-outrageously-priced $348 for two days!) Best Western in Oakridge. We swallowed the price because the A/C does work, it also serves as race headquarters for the event, and the internet was reliable enough for us to lose all our sit-n-go’s on Pokerstars. After flying through tech that evening, we did a couple of reconnaissance laps up the course and settled in at Mazatlan Mexican Restaurant for a really nice dinner and some cervezas. We were off to a good start already!

Larison Rock 2008 Day 1 001

The next morning we dragged our asses out to the track by 7AM to be in time for the track walk/school at 7:30. Instructed by Brad Moffit, he reminded us of all the proper lines, areas of concern, and tips for success. As usual he did a great job, though we would be lucky to remember only a few tidbits as we returned to the pits. Realizing we hadn’t used the car at all in a long time (in fact I haven’t driven it all since the last Larison Hillclimb), the butterflies and anxiety started to mount. The forecast for the day was mid 90’s and when standing in the morning sun, you knew it was going to be a hot one. We enjoyed the cool morning shadows knowing the afternoon was going to be a killer.

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Larison Rock 2008 Day 1 003

I was up first in run group 2 of 4 and I made a leisurely run up as I got familiar with the car and the course again. The car was loose and I noted that downshifting to 2nd in tight corners was really working much better than lifting and pressing on uphill in 3rd at low revs and no torque. After Paul’s run, he was in agreement. Our afternoon runs both showed improvement with the hotter temperatures really helping the tires and utilizing the 2nd gear redlining method in tight corners.

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Day 1 was concluded with pizza and probably several gallons of Coors Light, going with the “light beer rehydration” theory after the hot afternoon. We drank a few with Derek who was pitted right in front of us on the hill. He campaigns a white 4 door 72 Datsun 510 out of San Francisco. Great looking car with a lot of cool mods like retrofitted MegaSquirt fuel injection on the L18, full cage, and gun metal grey alloys on both the race and road wheels. Cool Canadian guy with some impressive credentials including two trips to the Targa Newfoundland (!) and track time at Laguna Seca, Thunderhill, and Sears Point to name a few. Nice to meet you Derek, and hope to meet up next time we’re in the Bay Area.

With our times still well short of Ed’s best run last year, Day 2 started with a more serious tone. At least it did for me. While I really wanted to improve over my run the day before, what I really wanted was to beat my personal best time at Larison Rock of 2 minutes 14 seconds (and change). And it would be extra sweet if I could beat Ed’s best time, the best time ever in our Rabbit at Larison, of 2 minutes 11 seconds.

Paul was up first and posted a 2 minute 17 second run to match my best of the previous day. Fueling up on RedBull, I was ready to lay waste to the track feeling confident and juiced. After what felt like a good run, I actually ended up 3 tenths slower than the previous day. And I was bummed out big time. Having been beat by Ed the previous year at his first time at the hill, for my 3rd visit, I still had a bad taste in my mouth. I mean, he’s my close friend and all, but I’ll be damned if that wasn’t still leaving me with a rash!

Then Paul made his afternoon run after lunch, and came back in with a 2 minute 16 second run. I was really stoked for him for a while. Until it dawned on me that I may not have the goods to do any better and be bested two years in a row. As we melted back in the pits on a day that felt even hotter than the day previous, I decided to keep a good attitude at the event I look so forward to each year. I figured why not try a few changes and see how things go. No sunglasses (which had been working well for Paul), and only use 2nd gear for the two most uphill and tight corners, 6 and 8. Having reviewed the video for Ed’s best run last year, this method seemed to work for him.

Ed’s best 2007 run:

After waiting on the grid for what seemed like an eternity (the most overused cliche in all of automotive writing), I made my run. And it was going really well through the first 7 of 14 corners on the track. I knew I was doing well and it really put me at ease. As I entered the long and fast turn 9 from the uphill climb of turn 8, I had just finished a rather bright sun-in-the-face ascent. I entered the darkness of the forest and my eyes took a second to adjust. The narrow road section of the “forever corner” number 9 was a touch scary and I was going faster than I ever had through here. My fastest radar speed out of 9 the day before was 70 miles per hour, and as I blew past the radar complex and slid through the bend towards 10, I knew I was going to post a really good time. I handled the last few corners before the finish and arrived at the top of the course shaking very badly with a huge adrenaline rush. Turning around to park at the top, the upper grid marshal greeted me with my time written on a yellow sticky. I accepted it from him without looking and remarked, “Tell me it’s 136 [seconds] or better”. He grinned and said, “you did alot better than that!” I looked down and saw a new best time ever at the hill for me at 133, nearly 4 seconds better than my best the whole weekend, and I was really, really stoked!

While I’m still really excited and proud of my new time, I need to give props to Ed as his time stands by nearly two seconds! Paul and I both left the hill that day thinking there wasn’t much left with the car we have in the current configuration. But I guess there’s at least two seconds before we make excuses like that. Nice job my man! And as a side note, let me also add congratulations on your wedding this weekend 😉

So before anyone goes thinking that we’re made of the Right Stuff, there were many more notable entries for the weekend. Including Sonny, who is always a top contender for the fastest time of the weekend, who posted a new personal fast time of 1 minute 49 seconds. One of the coolest dudes at the hill and almost always the fastest too. His good friend Dave Kipperman was back as well with a new Z concoction with a 364 all-alluminum v8 and massive flare and body work special (pitcured below). And the hill is dominated with a field of probably 40% A1 and A2 Volkswagens. Hard core one’s like Ty’s Red GTi and Brad’s 300+hp Scirroco. They both made sub 2 minute times look like common place — and they’re not. These guys have balls of steel and the right machinery to match their skills.

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After a year out of the car, my first impression was that Paul really did a nice job over the winter freshening up of the car. Hard to believe our project car has seen nothing but basic maintenance over the last 6+ years and some severe beatings in the process. It’s a true testament to Paul’s abilities and decisions in the build. Thanks again for the best “arrive and drive” car I could have ever imagined!

And a big thumbs up to Emerald Empire Sports Car Club for another well run, safe, and really fun event. I can’t wait to go again next year!

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