The European Commission is proposing to seriously deter classic car ownership

The future of historic motor racing may well be in the balance, but for reasons that have nothing to do with the state of the market, emissions legislation or any of the other issues that have bedeviled our hobby in recent times. No, the latest burden coming down the pike is a warning from a little-known (to us) organisation called Insurance Europe, which represents the insurers’ associations of some 35 European countries who are warning that the European Commission (EC) is proposing to force owners who use cars in motorsports events to insure them, legislation that would also oblige mandatory insurance for cars not currently being used on public roads, i.e. SORN’d.

These onerous clauses in the EC’s Motor Insurance Directive (MID) are officially opposed by the UK government – for which we should be thankful – and thus may be one good reason for us to leave the European Union, but given the currently vexatious state of Brexit negotiations, who knows where the MID might sit in any eventual deal to leave the EC ?

For its part, Insurance Europe maintains that, ‘Member states should continue to remain free to provide a wider scope for mandatory third party liability insurance, thus pooling the risks included within the MID’s scope with other activities beyond traffic. The defining factor for the scope of the MID should be the use of a vehicle in traffic.’

Which seems sound and fair to us: after all, if we chose to insure our classics when they’re laid up for, say, the winter or to be worked on, then that may make sense and may well be affordable. However mandatory insurance for cars being used in motorsport not only removes the crucial – to us – element of free choice, but would definitely increase across the board even for owners who have no intention of entering any form of competitive motorsport. The cost of tickets to historic sporting motoring events could also rise exponentially.

Thankfully the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs is opposed to the MID’s outline plans, commenting that, ‘It’s encouraging to see that there is pan-European alignment against bthis element of the directive. In our discussions with UK insurers they have certainly opined that any move to include off highway vehicles in the MID would be unworkable and unnecessary’.

Fortunately the MID directive is still at the consultation stage and hopefully bolstered by near universal criticism from insurance associations right across the EU, these contentious plans will eventually be ditched.

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