Modified Car Insurance
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What is modified car insurance?
If you have made any sort of change to your car, then you might find that your standard insurance policy is actually not valid.
Some insurers take a dim view of car modifications. Any change which takes a car away from the manufacturer’s specifications can obviously affect the way a car handles. So if you have fitted things like alloy wheels, or spoilers, or even just added a few go-faster stripes, you will need to check with your insurer that your policy still covers you.
Is modified car insurance more expensive?
Making material changes to your car can be for either cosmetic or performance reasons. If it’s performance-related, the assumption from many insurers can be that you are at higher risk of an accident. If you make your car more powerful, and therefore able to go faster, there is a higher risk you could be involved in an accident.
Because there are fewer insurers willing to take on the risk of insuring modified vehicles, you could find yourself with a smaller pool of quotes to choose from. This can potentially mean higher premiums.
Do I need modified car insurance?
If you have made a change to the factory specification of your car, then this can be classed as a modification. This can include things like:
- Alloy wheels
- Modified bumpers
- Roof racks
- Lowered suspension
- Custom paintwork
- New audio or stereo equipment
- Changes to braking systems
- Engine modifications
Where to find it?
Some insurers will not even quote for a modified car cover, so if you have made changes to your vehicle, it could be a headache to arrange cover. Shop around online and try to compare a range of quotes.
Whilst some providers view modifications as a higher risk, the alternative view is that owners who invest time and money modifying their cars are actually more likely to look after their vehicle. Contrary to mainstream thought, a modified car could actually represent a lower risk! Also, remember that not all modifications are performance-enhancing.
Specialist insurers will be well equipped to quote on modified cars like GTi, Sri, Turbo model or Wrx. They will understand the range of modifications which can be made and the real-world impact that each has on the insurance risk.
What if I did not make the modifications to my car?
If you buy a new car directly from a dealer, any modifications are likely to have been fitted by the manufacturer. Changes in these cases are unlikely to increase your insurance premiums.
If you are thinking of buying a second-hand car, the onus is on you to check you are aware of any modifications so you can declare them to your insurer.
How to save money on modified car insurance?
As with standard car insurance policies, there are steps you can take to lower the cost of your premiums.
- Make sure your car is stored securely
- Fit and use up to date alarms and security locks where possible
- Keeping your vehicle in a garage or off the road can lower your premium costs
- Consider opting for a higher excess in the event of a claim
- Pay annually for your premiums. This can often cost less than monthly instalments
Specific steps which may lower premium costs for modified cars include:
- Joining an owners club
- Telematics insurance: This is where you fit a black box to your vehicle to monitor driving style, and can drastically reduce insurance costs for safe drivers.
True value cover
Be aware that not all modifications will add value to your car! However much you like the spoiler you paid a lot of money for, your insurer may not take the same view!
Specialist modified car insurers will be able to agree a level of cover which reflects your car’s true value, so there will be no nasty surprises if you need to make a claim for loss or damage.
What about young drivers?
Younger drivers will find that policy costs tend to be higher whatever car they are driving. This is particularly the case with customised vehicles. For drivers under the age of 21, avoiding making too many modifications to a car is advised if you want to keep your premium costs as low as possible.
Do I have to declare all modifications to my insurer?
Yes. Failing to declare any changes to the specification of your vehicle could result in your insurance being invalid. This would mean that in the event of a claim, you could be liable for all costs.
I use my modified car for track days. Will my policy cover me?
Many owners make the most of their car’s improved performance by taking it to track days. Whilst these can be great fun, you will need to check with your insurer that you are covered. In some cases, you may need to take out additional cover for your car if it is being used on a track day.
Is modified car insurance available if I only drive a limited mileage?
As the cost of modified car insurance can be a little higher than standard car policies, many owners opt for a mileage agreement. Statistically, the fewer miles you drive annually, the less likely you are to be involved in an accident. Using a limited mileage policy can lower the cost of your premium.
I already have insurance, and want to change my vehicle. What do I need to do?
With your own vehicle, you are technically free to make any modifications you like! However, be aware that the changes may affect your cover. Don’t wait until renewal to check. If you need to make a claim before the policy renews and you have failed to disclose modifications, you could be left out of pocket.