How do you insure a 1955 Mercedes-Benz sold for the record price of $142 million?

On May 5, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe sold for $142 million at auction at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. It was the highest price ever paid for a car at auction, well beating the eight-figure Ferrari sales that had long topped prime billing. The identity remains a mystery of who purchased one of two silver stunners with gullwing doors and shiny exhaust pipes protruding from its right side. “The buyer is an enthusiast and not an investor,” explains Simon Kidston, who placed the winning bid on behalf of a client, whom he refuses to identify. “He is someone who loves the car. The buyer never asked me what I think the car might be worth in the future.

What is certain is that an object of such value will require a rock-solid insurance policy — if the new owner plans to drive it. Technically, if the car is never driven, it won’t legally need insurance, according to analysts at Hagerty, a U.S. company that provides insurance for collector vehicles and collections worth up to $1. billion dollars. “In some parts of the world, people don’t insure high-value vehicles,” says Jack Butcher, president of global markets at Hagerty. “They want to keep them off the books.”

Like a work of art
A Mercedes Benz spokesperson said the company would not comment on insurance regarding the record-breaking coupe. But according to Abe Barnett, vice president of Signature Services, Hagerty’s most high-end insurance segment, the most obvious bet for the new owner would be to protect it under an inland marine insurance policy. , which covers high-value items generally excluded.

Many factors go into finalizing the pricing and structure of such a policy – ​​such as location, storage and type of vehicle – but in general, insuring a $100 million vehicle costs upwards of $100,000. per year. “It would basically treat it like jewelry or art,” says Barnett. “It offers a much broader form of cover, as opposed to a standard car insurance policy, which would be comprehensive and collision coverage.

When they take their vehicle, whether they want to take it to a concours or take it on a road rally or tour, this policy will cover it appropriately. This includes protection against damage or loss due to theft, accident, mishandling or in the event of undetermined cause of loss of property. It would also help cover the cost of repairing or replacing property damaged by fire, wind, hail or water. However, it does not cover damage caused by war, mechanical failure or problems arising from regular use.

How much does it earn you?

The most important thing when taking out such a policy is to agree on the value for which the vehicle will be insured. This number may be much higher than what was paid for it; it can also increase when a car is restored. How and where the car will be stored will likely affect the price of the insurance policy more than anything else.

“A lot of rich people live in beautiful areas that tend to be catastrophically exposed,” Butcher says, citing private islands, forested mountains and steep cliffs. It is essential to keep a vehicle away from wildfire areas and hurricane areas. The same goes for storage in a temperature-controlled environment with effective security cameras and burglar alarms. An additional consideration: “Insurers will want to know the ages of people who might drive it,” says Kidston. “And if the car is transported, they will ask that there are two drivers in the truck and that it is not left unattended.” As with your everyday car insurance policy, not having to submit a claim helps keep the insurance premium down.

Rise from the ashes

Even if the unthinkable happens and the car is damaged, all is not lost – assuming it can be repaired. In the event of extreme damage, the owner turned to the insurance company to reduce the value of the car, pending its restoration. In rare cases, the value of cars has skyrocketed after superficial damage. In 2019 in Durham, USA, a gas pipe exploded outside a warehouse storing around half of Ingram’s prestigious car collection. An extremely rare 1961 Porsche 356 B Carrera GTL Abarth – so valuable that an original toolbox alone is worth $10,000 – was one of many vehicles damaged. After an intensive 4,000-hour restoration of the tiny silver race car, the Abarth made a full comeback in just four months, winning its class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She then won top honors in her class at the 2022 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. In May, she won her class at the Villa D’Este Concours d’Elegance. Call it a triple crowned comeback and more – with the help of a solid insurance policy.

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