Looking for Modified Car Insurance?
Any adjustments to your vehicle undertaken outside of the factory are classed as modifications by insurers and could affect your insurance premiums.
This is a quick guide to understanding the pros and cons of insuring a modified vehicle, and what to look out for when talking to insurers.
Why is modified car insurance more expensive?
In the eyes of most insurers, any changes to a vehicle after it has left the factory cannot be guaranteed, and therefore could compromise the vehicle’s integrity. Additionally, modified vehicles fall outside of the 50 ABI groups insurers used to rate vehicles according to analysis.
Add to this that modified vehicles are often worth more and so will cost more to repair or replace in the event of an accident, and it’s easy to see why modified car insurance is more expensive. Sadly, the majority of standard insurers make a number of assumptions when considering modified vehicles:
Impressive looking cars are more attractive to thieves and most likely contain expensive kit, (although stealing an eye catching car is far more likely to draw unwanted attention).
Statistically this is true. Many insurers assume that drivers of vehicles modified for high-performance are more likely to drive recklessly, (although true car enthusiasts and modifiers are often more careful with their vehicles than other drivers).
Types of modification
There are 4 main types of modifications made to cars that can have a direct effect on insurance costs:
• Alloy wheels
• Body kits and/or spoilers
• Tinted windows
• Colour change or graphics
• DVD Players
• Sports/performance exhausts
• Performance air filters
• Lowered or sports-adjustable suspensions
• Tracking systems
Some of the most popular modifications made to vehicles in the UK include performance exhausts, body kits, alloy wheels, changes to the suspension and engine performance enhancements. Because statistically performance enhanced vehicles are more likely to be involved in an accident, insurance premiums often raise proportionately with raises in power, i.e. a 10% increase in performance, equals a 10% increase in cost.
Not all modifications increase insurance costs. The addition of security systems, alarms, immobilisers and tracking devices can help to reduce premiums. It can be worth discussing your plans for additional security with your insurers beforehand since many insurers will only reduce premiums if certain types and makes of security are fitted.
Ways to reduce modified car insurance
There are various types of cover available for modified cars that are specifically designed for car enthusiasts and specific types of use. These include:
If you are a member of an owners club or enthusiasts forum, affiliated insurers may offer discounted rates on insurance based on their insight into the club and care and passion its members take who own this type of vehicle.
Modified car insurance and younger drivers
If you are a younger driver looking to insure a modified car, you may find the cost prohibitive. Standard car insurance for young drivers can be extortionate enough without the addition of modifications.
Suggestions to lower premiums would be to pay for your policy annually, include an older driver as a named driver on the policy (not the main driver) and gain PassPlus accreditation. This can be costly, but could reduce your premium by the same amount, so could pretty much pay for itself.
It almost goes without saying, but keeping your modified vehicle in a locked garage with a good alarm system is looked on favourably by insurers, and naturally goes someway to reduce premiums.
Modified Car Insurance – Useful FAQs
Potentially an advanced driving qualification could reduce the price of modified car insurance by up to 25%. Courses like IAM or RoSPA have been proved to significantly reduce the chance of accidents and so many insurers reduce premiums accordingly. They can be costly though, so it’s recommended to check with your insurer before you pay out for the course.
In the UK some of the most popular cars to modify include:
- Subaru Impreza
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
- Mazda MX-5
- VW Golf GTI
- Nissan Skyline
- Nissan 200SX
- Toyota Supra
- Honda Civic Type R
- Vauxhall Astra VXR
- BMW M3
- Vauxhall Corsa
- Ford Focus
Not really, although there is still a requirement to inform your insurer of the change and you may be charged an admin fee to update your policy.
If you’re thinking of buying a car which you suspect has been ‘tinkered with’ in the past, or have any reservations as to possible modifications, it may be worth paying for a professional engineer’s report.
Insurers will most likely automatically cover modifications such as tow bars, parking sensors and sat-navs, although they should still be made aware of them.