When classic cars are passed through the family, they have to take an often-lengthy stop through probate. Through this process, the courts make sure you can take legal ownership of the vehicle in question and verifies it has a clear title. In Canada, probate usually takes about three months, giving you plenty of time to anticipate receiving the treasured vehicle.

Once it ends up in your hands, however, your journey has only just begun. There are still many more steps you must take, such as:

Take a Good Look and Assess Its Condition

Just because a car is a classic does not mean it is in good condition. In fact, after spending decades on the road, or worse yet, sitting in the driveway, its advanced age can mean just the opposite.

So, take a good look and consider bringing in an experienced classic car mechanic and technician to kick the tires with you. As you determine what condition the vehicle is in, you can start to make decisions about its future in your garage.

Perform Maintenance and Repairs

With help from your mechanic and tech, you can quickly see what maintenance and repairs the vehicle needs. They can give you a detailed estimate on the total cost of performing those services with a breakdown of parts and labour.

The cost of parts can vary greatly between different makes and models, depending on the level of aftermarket support the vehicle receives. The labour rate can increase as well if the car is exceptionally rusty or otherwise in a serious state of disrepair.

By performing all the listed maintenance and repairs, you can make sure the vehicle is safe to put back on the road. Only then can you rest assured that the brakes, steering, and other vital parts will work as intended.

Set Up a Collector Car Insurance Policy

Before you can register the vehicle in your name, you will have to set up your “collector car” insurance policy. Assuming, of course, that you’ve already contacted the collector car insurance brokerage and notified them of the owner’s passing and sent over a copy of their death certificate.

Only with specialized collector car insurance can you trust that the policy will cover the actual full value of the vehicle from the start. If you are unsure about the vehicle’s value, you can either use an online valuation tool or speak with an experienced insurance broker who can help you determine the value over the phone, without needing to pay for an appraisal.

Furthermore, collector car insurance policies offer additional coverage for spare parts and car covers plus extend protective add-ons your way. Through these policy add-ons, you can sign up to have evacuation expenses reimbursed at 50%, add a “Vehicle Under Construction” endorsement that increases the insured valued by 10% per quarter to $25,000 above its guaranteed value, or with “Cherished Salvage®” coverage, be allowed to retain your vehicle, or salvage, in the event of a total loss, while still receiving the full “guaranteed value”.

Complete a Safety Inspection and Register the Vehicle

Once you have the car in good working order and well insured, it is time to complete the safety inspection, if needed. Inspection requirements vary by region. In New Brunswick, for example, all personal vehicles need inspections every other year, while Ontario only requires one when the vehicle switches to a new owner.

When you go to register your classic car, they will let you know if an inspection is required. After completing that step, you must provide the paperwork needed to register the vehicle in your name. Upon processing the paperwork, they will provide an official permit and license plates with current validation stickers.

Determine Where to Store the Car

With all that done, you just need to figure out where to store the car. If you want to go on weekly Sunday drives, then keeping it tucked away in the garage might be the best bet. If you only plan on bringing it out during the car show season, on the other hand, you may want to secure a storage unit for the winter season.

After learning you have inherited a classic car, all you have to do is move through the above steps with confidence you are well on your way to enjoying it to the fullest extent. If you would like to receive more information on how to proceed, simply reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to assist.

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