Insurance Section

This is a synopsis of my insurance adventure.  To give a little back ground I have clean driving record and a house with my insurance company.

I did what every other replica owner does before he drives his/her vehicle on the street.  I insured it.  You put all that hard work and money into the vehicle of your dreams. Just to find out from a insurance agent "WE DON'T INSURE CUSTOM VEHICLES". Now I consider myself pretty easy going but it took all I had in me to refrain from using many choice words.  I calmly said "O.K." and hung up.

So I did a little research and thinking and remembered that in a college business class of mine we had talked about NC law requiring all motor vehicles to carry a bare minimum of liability insurance. So I did a little calling around and found out that all cars (customs, replicas, etc.) have to be insured if they are registered in North Carolina.  Well my car had passed all the inspections and even carried a NC VIN# so therefore they had to give me insurance. For a little protection I called the NC Insurance Commissioner (Jim Long @ 1-800-546-5664) and had them send me a complaint form in case I received any lip.

So I called my insurance company and asked to speak to my insurance agent (previously I just talked to a random agent) and told her I'd like to register my roadster so that I could get plates etc. She asked what kind of car it was so I told her 2000 Ford Custom vehicle.  She hesitated and said "Arno, I don't have anything like that in my computer"  I told her that she should call me back.  I kind of laughed because I knew she was scratching her head trying to figure out what to do. Mind you my insurance agent is great.  It's the company she works for that is terrible.  So she called me back about a hour later and said "I can't insure the car". I told her she has to because it is North Carolina law and if they don't I'll report them to the NC Insurance Commissioner. She paused again and said "hold on for a second".  About a minute later she said her underwriter could insure it but on a separate policy from my daily driver. Therefore I didn't get the multiple vehicle discount.  I told her that is BS but decided to go with it.  Seems insurance companies don't like to be reported for bad business practices.

The items I haven't elaborated on is the Comp. and Collision insurance.  My insurance company won't insure those and doesn't have to by law.   So in order for me to get those pieces of insurance I had to insure my car with another (out of state) insurance company.  I'll provide a list of possible insurance companies in the Great Links section.  The flip side of this problem is that NC insurance companies have a monopoly on the liability insurance due to NC laws.  Out of state insurance companies can't insure NC vehicles.  So basically if your replica is newer than 1973 (differs with some companies) then you have to have 2 insurance companies. Otherwise a  out of state custom vehicle insurance is the way to go. If this sounds complicated and annoying it is. Yet another hurdle to jump to own a car of your dream. Then again if it was easy everyone would do it.

Fast forward a year later!

My policy recently came up for renewal and I just happened to check out as I do on a daily basis and there was a post about insurance.  I read all the registering and insurance posts eagerly because I see others have issues and some don't with their cars. This post actually had a new insurance company and a very positive feedback on it.  The owner had said that they had got all the coverage liability and comp/coll./theft all in one very low policy.  It was so low I almost couldn't believe it.  So as a skeptic I called. Sure enough for me they could do the same thing. The only hitch was a 3,000 mile limit on mileage. At first I was apprehensive about this because I don't like to be told what I can and can't do with my car. But on the other hand I didn't put 500 miles on my car the first year due to some rear end issues.  So I had the agent send me the application form.  The form arrived 2 days after we spoke. I basically had to take pictures of my car, copy my existing insurance policy and send a check for the premium. I'll update this section next week to see how the processing went.

Well as usual there is some issue with a younger guy and a Cobra.  So I'll be sticking with my current insurance company. Maybe when I'm 30 insurance companies will think I can drive!

Registration Section

I've received several responses concerning this portion of the web site from fellow Mid-Atlantic FFROG members who had different methods in which they registered their cars.  This just happens to be the steps I went through.

 So now that you have a finished car it's off to the DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles) right? Well in my case it was.  I live in North Carolina and I went the 100% legal route. There are other routes like Titles Unlimited which is legal (sort of) but I tend to get caught when I do things like this so I don't even bother.

Step 1) My first step was to contact the local DMV registration office.  Always a pleasure speaking with people who have no idea what you need.   I finally got transferred to a intelligent person who knew what paperwork I needed, who to contact and where to drop it off.  The first item I needed was a custom vehicle inspection form from the NC DMV.  I needed to bring it along with the car and certificate of origin to the Custom Vehicle Inspector.  Note: You don't have to bring your vehicle to the Custom Vehicle Inspection office but it helps speed up the process.  Be sure you make an appointment with the custom vehicle inspector.

Step 2) Get all the paperwork together: certificate of origin, custom vehicle inspection form, receipts (so you can pay 3% road use tax), and drivers license.

Step 3) Schedule appointment with NC Custom Vehicle Inspector.  Go to the DMV with car and paperwork and have him/her look at the car.  Now get this: They aren't allowed to drive the car, and they probably won't even make you start it.  My inspector gave it a few nods of his head and wanted to see the FFR# on the frame and body.  HINT: Go to Wal-Mart or a pet store and have 2 tags made with your FFR#.  FFR doesn't tag the frame or the body so you'll need to do this before you visit the DMV. Also have your engine, tranny, and rear axle number available for the inspector, they need those for the paperwork.

Step 4) Now that the custom vehicle inspection is behind you need a NC VIN# assigned to the vehicle because the FFR# on the Cert. of Origin is not long enough. You'll also need to get it registered so that you can get a plate.  Take the Cert. of Origin, receipts, and custom vehicle inspection that was signed by the inspector and head to a DMV office that handles registrations, etc. You'll need your receipts for them to figure out how much of the 3% road use tax you should pay. Figure on shelling out about $500 for this.  Now here comes the fun part.  Find someone who knows what a custom vehicle is and don't let them give you a run around. The person you will be working with will get a VIN number assigned and also create a title and register it all in one big step.  Now here is another step you'll have to deal with concerning the VIN. The DMV won't give it to you.  They send it to your Custom Vehicle Inspector.

Step 5) Before you leave the DMV make sure that the DMV officer puts the VIN in a NC DMV interoffice pouch and addresses it to the correct DMV office etc.  Otherwise it may get lost or worse. Give it about a week and then check with your Custom Vehicle Inspector and schedule for them to come by with the VIN (they will come to your house). They are required to watch you permanently adhere the NC Custom VIN to the frame. This is fairly painless just have a spot picked out and have a drill and rivet gun available.

Step 6) Time to have the NC state inspection done. My inspection went without a hitch. I turned on the signals, lights and honked the horn. Then came the sniffer test.  My car with FFR cats. passed 15 times under the allowable limit. After that it was off for a day of cruising.

It may seem like a lot of crap to got through but it all pay off.  Not all states are as stringent as North Carolina so do your homework.  If you have any questions fire away.

Note: If you go this route then you'll have the car registered by the date of completion

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