Whilst the motor car was not invented in Britain, for many decades we produced many of the most famous makes and sold them around the world. Rover remains a popular classic car marque.

Rover cars had manufactured cars from 1904 to 2005.but started life as a bicycle manufacturer in 1878 (some sources say 1896) and went on to produce quality motorcycles from 1902 to 1924. Useful trivia: Rover and Skoda both use a Viking longship as their logo. The Rover brand is now owned by Jaguar Land Rover but is considered dormant and unlikely to reappear.

But what constitutes a “classic” Rover? DVLA lays down strict rules about what they consider to be what they call “Historic”, which is a car registered prior to 1st January 1982 (at the time of writing) but insurance companies do have differing views. Some will consider classic status from 15 years old; others require cars to be over 25. Exemptions may apply in the case of particularly rare models or cars which have a special history – perhaps celebrity-owned. Most examples of what people think of when Rover is mentioned do qualify. Collaboration with Honda produced the 800 series, popular with many UK police forces, as was the SD1.

Rovers continue to be popular as they are generally easy to maintain with parts readily available, many specialists across the world and several active and supportive clubs. Although most people relate to Rovers as producers of the “Auntie” P4 models, they made some very nice family cars in earlier years. They were generally of good quality – in the 1950s considered a serious rival to Rolls-Royce – and often sold to bank managers and business owners. The P5, especially the P5B which introduced the 3528cc Buick V8 which went on to power any number of kits cars as well as being used in Range Rovers, the MGB V8 & RV8, the very rare now Triumph TR8 and by other manufacturers such as TVR in engine sizes up to 4.9l, sold in significant numbers. The P5B found favour with the Royal family and when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, it was her favoured official car. Collaboration with Honda produced the 800 series, popular with many UK police forces, as was the SD1.

Rover cars include:

  • P5
  • 75/90/100/110 as well as later model called 75
  • SD1 – 2000, 2300, 2600 & 3500
  • 800/820/825/Sterling
  • P6
  • 600/620/625
  • 12
  • Light Six
  • P3
  • P4
  • 200/25 including coupe, turbo and “Streetwise” (looked like an off-roader but wasn’t) versions
  • 400/45
  • 6
  • 8
  • 10
  • Scarab (very rare and I cannot find any record of one still existing)

It is difficult to think of Rover without also thinking of their Land Rover/Range Rover sibling which have launched a huge range of cars and commercials with hugely successful world-wide sales and which are still very much in production. Land Rover started in 1948 as an alternative to the Jeep and found instant success. Land Rover has produced too many variants for military, expeditionary and other uses to list here. There are even Land Rover/Range Rover fire engines still in use today. I overtook a fleet of Range Rover limousines a while back – it took me a while!

Vehicles produced by this offshoot include:

  • S1/S2/S3 – the “Series” Land Rovers were produced from 1948 to 1985.
  • Discovery
  • Freelander
  • Defender
  • Range Rover and so many variants

With their timeless quality, many Land Rovers have been modified and upgraded over the years. A friend runs a Land Rover parts company and built himself a lightweight S1 SWB with a twin-turbo 3.9l engine and permanent 4WD which would spin all 4 wheels on accelerating at 70mph – not recommended. I think a ride in that created my first grey hair. Our insurers can quote for most modifications.

Obviously, later models do not qualify for classic insurance, but we can still provide quotations for standard car policies.

And what is “classic insurance”? Essentially, it is pretty much like normal car insurance with the added benefit of an agreed value should your vehicle be stolen or damaged beyond economical repair. For most cars, our insurers will agree a value based on a photo array – all four sides (must show registration plate), engine bay and interior. For higher values or where the insurer cannot agree a value based on photographs, a valuation from a car club – most marque clubs offer a valuation service – a dealer or other expert can be provided. However, the valuer must not be someone who has worked on the vehicle themselves – vested interest and all that. Without an agreed value, the car can be treated as just an old vehicle and valued pretty much as scrap.

Most of our classic insurer partners will allow for vehicles to be repaired at a garage of the owners’ choice – subject to being able to agree costs. Where a car is “written-off”, the agreed value is paid but generally the owner can purchase the salvage if required.

Commonly, the classic vehicle insured must not be the only vehicle in the family. There must be a “daily driver.” There is always a maximum annual mileage – anything from 1,000 to 5,000 generally and driving is restricted to named persons. Classic car policies do not accrue no-claim discounts, mainly because the premiums are too low to warrant them. On the other hand, having a claim means not losing any bonus. A garage or other secure building is preferred but insurers will consider – for most vehicles – secure off-road parking on the customers’ own land. Cover can include use for wedding hire and classic rallies, including off-road, but not for competitive racing. Cover for overseas use – what used to be called “Green Card” – is normally included free of charge.

Cars not in current use or being restored can be insured on an off-road basis – a garage or secure building being essential – but valuation can be difficult, especially if the car is in pieces. We did once insure an Aston Martin V8S in five separate places, which is now in one piece, very beautiful and insured for £350,000. Cover does not apply for damage incurred whilst the vehicle is being worked on, so you need to be careful with that welding torch.

Some of our staff have over 25 years of experience in providing insurance for classic vehicles and can provide the best independent advice available. Please call us on 01442 242400 or visit our website www.aicinsure.co.uk.

Talk to one of our friendly consultants to assess your needs and find a bespoke insurance solution to suit your business.

01442 24 24 00

7 High St, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP1 3AA