Car insurance should reflect your needs, so if your car’s been modified, your policy should take those changes into account. If it doesn’t, you risk invalidating any cover you have which means your insurer can refuse to pay out. To make sure you don’t get caught out, here’s our guide to modified car insurance.
What is a modified car?
A modified car is one that’s been changed since it left the factory. Those changes could be either cosmetic or performance related.
If you’re buying a used car from a dealership, they’ll usually tell you of the car’s been modified or not. However, if you’re buying from a private seller, it’s important you ask the question just in case they forget to let you know.
What types of car modification are there?
Modifications vary considerably and can cover minor decorative changes to more technical alterations that affect the car’s engineering. Some of the most common types of modification include:
- Decals including go-faster stripes.
- Aesthetic alterations such as tinted windows.
- Changes to the engine and transmission.
- Alloys, rear spoilers and other changes to bodywork.
- Enhanced sound systems.
- Roof racks and tow bars.
Can modified cars be insured?
Generally speaking, most mainstream car insurers will be able to insure a modified car and they’ll usually ask you about any modifications when you take out a policy. When asked, it’s crucial to be clear about the modifications your car’s had so they can be accurately reflected in your cover.
If your car’s been extensively modified, you might have to consider an insurance firm that specialises in modified cars.
What does modified car insurance cover?
Modified car insurance covers the same risks as standard car insurance so you’ll be able to choose from:
- Third party only – covers the cost of damage to other people’s property.
- Third party, fire and theft – includes third party only cover and will also compensate you if your car is stolen or damaged by fire.
- Comprehensive cover – as well as third party, fire and theft, policies will cover the cost of repairing your car even if an accident is your fault.
You’ll also be able to add extra features which could include windscreen cover, breakdown and recovery services and legal expenses.
What does agreed value mean in modified car insurance?
If your car is declared a write-off, you’ll usually get compensation equivalent to its current market value. If your car’s been modified, current market value can be tricky to establish because of those alterations and your car could be worth a lot more than an unmodified car of the same make and model.
This is where having an agreed value can help. It means you and your insurer agree how much your car’s worth, taking into account its modifications. So, if your car’s involved in an accident and is written off, your insurer will pay out the agreed value instead of the market value.
Agreed value policies are more expensive compared to standard agreements but if you’ve spent a lot of time and money on your car mods, it could be worth considering.
Is it more expensive to insure a modified car?
In most cases modified cars do cost more to insure, especially if those modifications enhance your car’s performance. Changes that make your car more powerful potentially increase the risk of an accident happening.
Modified cars can also attract unwanted attention and could be a target for thieves or malicious damage. But not only are modified cars at greater risk of an accident, theft or damage, they’re also usually more expensive to repair or replace because of those modifications.
As a result, modified cars attract higher than average premiums.
Do all modifications increase car insurance?
The good news is that not all car modifications will increase what you pay and some could actually lower your premium. For example, signwriting your car or van with your business details often lowers the cost of vehicle insurance. This is because it’s assumed you’ll drive more carefully so as not to attract negative attention, particularly if you belong to a guild or trade organisation.
Vehicles with signwriting can also be easily identified which can increase the chances of being found if stolen.
Other modifications that can help lower premiums include any that improve your car’s safety and security. This could be something as simple as a dashcam or installing parking sensors or an electronic immobiliser.
How can I lower the cost of modified car insurance?
Despite the fact modified car insurance can often work out more expensive compared to standard car cover, there are ways to keep costs down, without compromising on protection, for instance:
- Pay for your policy annually which means you avoid interest fees.
- Build up your no claims discount and be mindful about what you claim for.
- Increase your voluntary excess but remember to make it something you can afford, if it isn’t, you won’t be able to proceed with a claim.
- Only buy the cover you need, so if you only drive your car over the summer, consider a short-term policy instead (but don’t forget to arrange a SORN for the rest of the time).
Does modified car insurance cost more for young drivers?
If you’re under 25, car insurance will cost you considerably more compared to other age groups. This is because statistics show that young drivers are more likely to be in an accident.
As a consequence, being under 25 with a modified car means you’re likely to pay even higher premiums.
Can I add modifications mid-policy?
You can but you must let your insurer know about the modifications so they can update your policy.
If you’re thinking about having your car modified and are concerned about the cost of insurance, speak to your current provider. They’ll be able to advise you on how much your premium might increase by, before you get any work done.
Compare modified car insurance for peace of mind
Car insurance is your safety net if events don’t quite go to plan. A good policy can save you from financial losses and give you the help you need to get back on the road.
At NimbleFins, we understand how important value for money is, which is why we’ve compared these 10 best-rated cheap car insurance companies.
We’ve also made it easy to find car cover by teaming up with QuoteZone so that you can compare a wide range of quotes all from the comfort of home.
Plus, for more advice about how to get the most out of your policy, you can also take a look at these handy guides: