How modifying your car can bump up insurance costs

Young drivers should steer of modifying a car’s looks and performance because it’s a good way of driving up the cost of motor insurance.

Car insurers are suspicious of anything added or removed from a car that is non-standard because the modification may enhance or otherwise affect performance.

Many changes to a car will probably lead to most motor insurers increasing the premium – and adding these probably will:

  • Changing the wheels to alloys
  • Fitting a non-standard exhaust
  • Changing or modifying the engine

Motor insurers will also want to know about other changes to the body and key mechanical parts like:

  • Adding tinted windows
  • Adjusting the steering – including changing the steering wheel
  • Altering the brakes
  • Upgrading the suspension
  • Adding or removing body parts like spoilers and skirts
  • Converting the fuel supply from petrol or diesel to liquid propane gas

Changing non-mechanical parts like upgrading the stereo or upholstery are considered cosmetic and probably won’t affect your insurance premiums.

Some insurance companies will not cover modified cars.  Those that will consider cover may charge a higher premium because most modifications are for enhancing performance.

Insurance policy terms and conditions generally specify any modifications should be reported to the insurance company.

If you don’t tell them and later make a claim, you may find that your car insurance is invalid and the company will not pay out on the claim.

Always keep all receipts, quotes, reports etc that relate to any modifications you make, so you can show them to your insurance company.

If you do have any modifications carried out or buy a car that has been modified, consider an engineer’s report before you make any changes or settle the purchase.

The report will give you expert advice on how the modifications will affect performance and can be passed to your insurance company for them to assess risk.

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