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Insuring a modified car

So, you’ve bought a second-hand car and are ready to compare car insurance to get the best possible deal. But do you know how many modifications your new car has? A recent study showed that only 1.7 per cent of drivers declare modifications on their vehicles. This could be intentional or simply because people aren’t aware. Alongside other factors, modifications are one way insurers calculate the overall costs of your policy.

What’s a modification?

A modification is classed as anything on the vehicle that isn’t factory standard. If you buy a second-hand car, there is a good chance it will have some level of modification, so it’s important you check for and declare them when applying for insurance. Not only can this help manage your policy cost, but it can also ensure you’re not in breach of your contract.

Why do they increase premiums?

There are two key things insurers consider when looking at modifications. First, will the modification increase the risk of an accident? Anything that alters the performance or appearance of your vehicle could be considered high risk. Second, will it increase the risk of theft? If you fit expensive phone kits, entertainment systems or performance upgrades, your car is considered a target and more likely to be damaged or stolen.

10 common modifications

If you’re still unsure about modifications on your vehicle, check out this list of 10 common changes made to cars which could increase your insurance premium.

1. Non-standard alloy wheels
2. Suspension changes
3. Tinted windows
4. Changes to factory paintwork
5. Exhaust system changes
6. Stripes, decals and badges
7. Chipped/ engine management
8. Complete body kit
9. Transmission or gear changes
10. Air filters

There’s good news!

Don’t worry, there are modifications that can improve the performance and safety of your car, potentially reducing your insurance premium. The addition of parking sensors or a tow bar shows that you are a more considerate or slower driver. These can help to reduce your premium. Although still growing in popularity, having a black box policy which tracks your movements and rewards you for safe driving is another modification with saving benefits.

Photo: Daihatsu Copen by elminium licensed under Creative commons 2

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