Last month, we explored the topic of automotive insurance for hot rods and custom cars. In Part 1 of our two-part article on insurance, we talked about finding the right insurance company-meaning a company that specializes in insuring collector cars and understands the hot rod hobby, including the value of hot rods and the habits of hot rodders. We talked about the importance of insuring your vehicle as soon as possible with an "agreed value" policy in order to ensure that your car is valued properly and insured thoroughly in the event of damage or a total loss. If you missed that issue, we hope you'll find a copy because the information we dug up could potentially save you a bundle of money and a pile of grief in the event of an accident, theft, or damage.

This month, we've got more insurance information that could save you even more money, plus some advice for protecting your investment. First, let's dig into the topic of determining the accurate value of your specialty car, then let's get into recent improvements in hot rod insurance for restorers and builders.

What's your rod worth?
Of course you know the value of your street rod. The real question is, can you prove it? The best way-maybe the only way-to confidently answer yes is to have your car appraised by a professional appraiser.

We're assuming you've already taken our advice and insured your car with an "agreed value" policy from one of the many insurance companies specializing in classic and specialty cars. In the event of a total loss, your agreed value policy guarantees that your insurance company will cover the cost of the car with no hassles.

Many insurance companies we talked to don't require an appraisal to insure your hot rod, but for the relatively minor expense of the service, an appraisal from a certified and reliable appraiser is a smart investment. There are cases when an insurer could ask for an appraisal, such as on ultra-high-dollar cars, or when the value might not be evident to the insurance company. Chrome/ANPAC, for example, requires appraisals for cars valued at more than $25,000 and asks for updates every three years to make sure they are insuring the car for an adequate amount.

Disputes over the value of your car are more likely to occur when dealing with non-specialty insurance companies, such as in the case of an accident caused by another vehicle. If the other person's insurance company is not familiar with the value of hot rods (which is not unlikely), they may try to low-ball the value of your car. Documentation from an independent professional appraiser could be vital in helping you collect. Another circumstance where an appraisal would pay off is when you're selling your car and need to validate its worth to a potential buyer.

Jeff Hyman from Classic Auto Appraiser is the independent professional appraiser we call when we need appraisals on the project cars at our in-house tech center where STREET RODDER and our sister publications build and store various magazine project cars. We called him recently to ask him questions about the work he does.

Our first question was, who should be getting their street rod appraised? "Anybody with a car mildly to wildy customized, anybody with a limited-production specialty car, anybody with the type of vehicle you couldn't look up in a 'blue book' or conventional value guide, including custom modified cars and low-production factory cars with rare options that would elevate its value."