Modifying your car can make it unique, but it could also have an impact on your car insurance. Here, we find out what counts as a modification and whether or not you should tell your insurance provider about any changes you’ve made.
What counts as a car modification?
A modification is anything that’s been added, altered or removed since the car left the factory. It can include changes made by you or a previous owner.
Modifications don’t even have to be major and can cover minor alterations such as decals or even just adding a towbar.
What car modifications affect insurance?
Most modifications will affect your car insurance in some way. Some can increase what you pay, others have no impact, and a few can even help lower your premium.
Insurers also make their own decisions about how a particular modification might affect car insurance costs. For example, where one insurer might charge you a higher premium because of a modification, another might not.
As a general rule, modifications that increase your car’s value or performance will lead to higher premiums.
To give you an idea of what you can expect, here are some examples of typical car modifications and the possible impact on your premium:
|Can increase premiums
|Mods with little or no impact on premiums
|Can help lower premiums
|Increasing engine size
|Adding a sat nav
|Fitting a dash cam
|Upgrading exhaust system
|Safety improvements such as brake upgrades
|Changes to bodywork, including resprays and alloy wheels
|Security improvements such as immobilisers and tracking devices
Will my insurance go up if I modify my car?
Car modifications can lead to higher premiums, but it really depends on the type of modification and the insurer’s own criteria on alterations.
If you’re thinking about modifying your car in any way, it’s a good idea to speak with your insurer first. They’ll be able to give you an idea of how those changes might affect your policy.
Can I get specialist modified car insurance?
Most mainstream insurers will cover everyday modifications such as roof racks, towbars, dash cams and immobilisers. But if your car’s been heavily modified or has been altered to increase performance, you might find a specialist provider offers much better value for money.
Not only can modified car insurance from a specialist cover more extensive alterations, they’re also more likely to calculate premiums on a case-by-case basis.
What modifications don’t affect car insurance?
Generally, modifications such as roof racks, towbars and sat navs have little or no bearing on what you pay for car insurance. These ‘neutral’ additions are usually nothing more than practical changes which have minimal impact on the value of your car.
Some insurers may even publish a list of ‘acceptable’ modifications that you don’t need to tell them about. However, if you’re in doubt, it’s always worth double checking and speaking to your insurer.
Do modifications for disability affect car insurance?
Insurers cannot charge you more for insurance simply because you’re disabled and need modifications to your car. That said, your insurer can charge you more if your modifications increase the value of your car, or they would cost a lot to repair or replace.
As with other car modifications, you should let your insurer know about any alterations, even if those changes are a disability aid.
Do I need to tell my insurer about car modifications?
Yes, you must tell your insurer about car modifications—even if you think it's a minor modification. In most cases, it’s something your insurer will ask you anyway but if they don’t, you should always be upfront about any changes. Not doing so could risk invalidating your insurance!
What happens if you modify your car and don’t tell your insurance provider?
Not telling your insurer about modifications can be classed as non-disclosure, even if it’s unintentional and you simply forget to mention it.
Non-disclosure can invalidate your policy which means your insurer can reject a claim you make and refuse to pay out. This is because failing to disclose all the facts when you take out a policy means your premium is based on inaccurate information.
Plus, don’t forget that if your insurer cancels or voids your policy (for whatever reason) it can make it harder to find car insurance in the future.
Where can I buy insurance for modified cars?
Modified Car Insurance
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Depending on the type of modification, mainstream insurers may still offer you car insurance. Premiums might be slightly higher, but it will depend on the nature of the alterations you carry out.
Alternatively, if your car has had major modifications, a specialist provider will usually tailor a policy to your exact needs and provide a more competitively priced policy.
You can find out more about how alterations affect car cover in our in-depth guide to modified car insurance. Plus, for more ideas and advice on how to keep premiums down, take a look at these money saving tips: