Appraising and Insuring Your Classic Pontiac Firebird
Successor to the GTO, the Pontiac Firebird began its run on America's highways in 1967, inspiring the admiration of multitudes of fans, even after its discontinuation in 2002. The continued popularity of the Firebird is in great part due to the facts that it was an integral member of the elite pony car club, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, as well as its own legendary muscle car performance characteristics and eye-popping styling. It also leads owners to insure them for every penny they are worth.
Those who aspire to restore a classic Firebird know that to bring them back to as close as possible to showroom newness will maximize their value. Such irreplaceable pieces of automotive history, when preserved in their original condition can bring a small fortune when owners sell them at auction. A 1980 Trans Am Bandit Special Edition with only 500 original miles which recently sold at auction for nearly $80,000 is by no means a record.
A model such as the Bandit Special Edition would need the assessment of a specialty insurer to write a policy with affordable rates. Make sure to shop around and get prices before insuring your vehicle with any particular insurer. A specialty insurer would understand that this model will not be driven on the street and will be stored in a locked garage. The little that it would be driven would be on closed venues such as at classic car shows. The owner would also be required to carry no deductible and show proof of ownership of a daily driver car.
The classic car aficionado knows that a "matching numbers" car with all of its original parts is more valuable than one with replacement parts. With many collectible cars not being produced in large numbers, this is particularly important. In 1969, Pontiac built fewer than 700 Trans Ams. A commonly-accepted Vehicle Condition Scale is used by appraisers to determine classic car values; Excellent being the top rating, with maximum professional standards of quality and appearing as new and in perfect operating condition.
An underwriter of specialty or classic car insurance will write a policy for your Firebird or other collectible vehicle by establishing its "agreed value" based on its age, condition and rarity. The "agreed value" is the value of the vehicle which meets your approval and which the insurer is willing to pay in the event of a (gasp) "total loss." The safest way to be assured that you are properly covered is to obtain a professional vehicle valuation appraisal. In preparing to get this done, make sure appraisals are accepted by your prospective insurer.
Even if your vehicle is not so rare or perfect, you still need to protect it with the right insurance policy at the most affordable rates. If you own a classic Firebird or other muscle car and plan to drive it like it was meant to be driven, taking certain steps can help keep your rates down. Keep your mileage down, your driving record clean, your credit score high, and your deductible low. Take a defensive driving course and enroll in a car club for lower rates. Traditional insurers tend to assume the worst when they decide on premiums for muscle cars, so putting your best foot forward can help.