Insurance for Modified cars

All you need to know about "Modified car insurance"

We refer you to most insurance policies, particularly in the UK  which state that all modifications to the car should be notified.

Failure to do so will result in the policy being declared void and invalid. This in turn renders you liable to prosecution for driving without insurance and personally liable for damages and injuries to another party.

So the obvious questions arise, how do you find an insurer willing to cover a modified car and which modifications need to be declared.

Why should insurers worry so much about a modified car? They rate the risk and likelihood of having an accident carefully and decide on a premium to charge. This takes into account the cost to repair the car, the typical amount of damage and injury caused both factors vary greatly from car to car. The performance of the car is also taken into account as faster cars are often subject to a disproportionately large number of claims.

By rating each car and looking at the NCAP score and their own statistics the insurer can determine an appropriate premium to charge. However when a car is modified it is no longer so easy to assess. For example the car may now be faster but perhaps its brakes are no longer suited to it. The handling dynamics may also have been altered which is often the case where a car is lowered or larger wheels have been fitted.

So insurers err on the side of caution and insist that every modification be notified. Even visual modifications, many insurers will argue, make the car more attractive to thieves.

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Thankfully many insurers accept that there are common modifications. Pretty much all insurers accept that you will fit an aftermarket radio and most will endorse the policy to this effect stating a maximum value that will be paid out if it is stolen. Other modifications that most insurers will, on request, provide cover for include a sports exhaust, induction kit or sports air filter and a remap. Terms will vary from insurer to insurer, where some may offer cover subject to replacement with standard parts and others may require an additional premium.

The more modifications done to a car the more likely it is to get a loading or special terms applied. Thankfully with the rising popularity of car tuning as a hobby there are quite a few specialist insurers appearing who offer competitive cover on modified cars. These specialist policies are often very competitive and approach car enthusiasts projects with respect so it really does pay to shop around.

If you have done any modification to your car it must be notified immediately to your insurers for consideration, we would suggest  that this is done in writing so you have a record of it.

Bear in mind that your approach to the insurers can make a difference. The underwriters are human and subject to the same bias and caution so the way we phrase modifications can make a difference. A washable cone shaped air filter and stainless steel exhaust with a long life guarantee sounds a lot better than a sports induction kit and sports exhaust.

It also helps if you have taken safety into account and uprated the brakes and suspension. Even things like a roll cage and safety harness can give the impression that you should be taken seriously and cover provided.

Many clubs like TorqueCars have special deals with insurers where members get discounts and special terms so it is worth finding a suitable club and enquiring about the cover and terms offered.

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