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The Risks of Do-It-Yourself Repairs and Restoration


As an agent, you’ll talk to plenty of car collectors who repair and restore their valuable vehicles themselves. For some, there’s just nothing like getting dirty, doing the work and knowing every detail of their car or truck inside and out. But an automotive project can easily get out of hand. Help your clients understand the pros and cons of DIY repairs.

Yin and Yang of Classic Car Ownership

For classic and collector vehicle owners, DIY repairs or restorations can be cost effective, fun and educational. They also join a worthy and worthwhile community of fellow gearheads. Another benefit is that they can ensure every part and repair, down to the tiniest detail, is completed with loving, high-quality work. While all of this can sound invigorating, if they don’t have the right skills, their projects can go from do-it-yourself to disaster. It can also be costly and a time-suck that takes them away from other activities. It can even be dangerous depending on the type of work, and certain unsafe modifications might affect the insurable risk. Encourage your clients to weigh the pros and cons before starting a DIY project.

Fixing a Previous Mistake

When it comes to restoring classic vehicles, mistakes are part of the equation. It’s a learning process. Maybe your client purchased a vintage vehicle that suffered a poor restoration decades ago. Or perhaps they attempted an earlier repair themselves, only it didn’t go as well as they hoped. Mistakes are often expensive to fix, particularly if parts are rare or out of production. Tell your clients it’s a good idea to consult a professional restoration expert who can understand the scope of their project. They can explain everything that needs to be done and raise a red flag if the repairs would exceed the value of the vehicle. For a specialty insurance agent, this is an opportunity to discuss agreed-value coverage and what it means for a restored vehicle.

Only for the Pros

The average restoration takes 1,000 hours and extreme restorations can reach 2,000 hours. Unless your client is an expert at repair and/or restoration, certain jobs should probably be left to the pros. For example:
  • Rebuilding the brake hydraulics is a messy, smelly, complex and exhausting job - and if done incorrectly, it puts lives at risk due to potential brake failure.
  • If the car has been in an accident, it likely needs professional attention. A DIY restorer may not be aware of small defects from the accident that could create major safety hazards.
  • Cost and timeframe are also considerations here. If a car has been rusting away in a barn, unloved and untouched for 30 years, it will easily take hundreds of hours of professional restoration to bring it back to life.

Protecting Their Investment

Clients are often unaware of how a DIY project can affect their car insurance. Seize this opportunity to have a conversation about it. An insurance company never wants to see a client do a subpar job that could put the vehicle or the driver and passengers at risk. Of course, the repair rates can be quite high for a technician who specializes in Corvettes, Mustangs and other desirable classics and collectibles. Your client may need some flexibility in their insurance policy depending on their exact vehicle and its restoration requirements. It’s also a good time to discuss whether the vehicle needs towing and where it will be stored during repairs - at the garage? On their property? At a friend’s house? In a storage facility? The more project details you and your client can pin down, the better their insurance coverage will be.

The Classic Auto Insurance Difference

As an independent agent, your goal is to find the best protection possible for your collector clients. Saving them money strengthens the loyalty they give you and keeps them coming back. In partnership with Classic Auto Insurance, you can offer the coverage and options a collector wants, tailoring policies to fit their needs and doing it for less than what a standard auto policy might cost. Agent partners also enjoy a minimum commission of 10% for every new and renewed policy. To become a referring agent, contact us today.

Learn more about how to fully protect a classic »

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Posted: 2/28/2019 8:00:00 AM with 0 comments


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