Car sound system insurance - Are you covered? | finder.com
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Car sound system insurance

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How are you covered?

Your sound system might not be automatically covered by your car insurance. And if you’ve invested in a higher quality sound system for your car, it’s a good idea to find out if it’s covered by your car insurance or if you’ll need to find extra coverage.

Ready to compare your options?

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Liberty Mutual
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Root
Optional
No
AZ, AR, DE, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MI, MS, MT, NM, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except AK, DE, HI, MT, NH, VT, WY
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
Metromile
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
USAA
Optional
No
All 50 states
USAA offers affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service to millions of military members and their families. Only available to military members, veterans and affiliated military members.

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Car-Radio

When will and won’t it be covered?

Generally speaking, if the sound system came with the car, then it’s probably covered. If it was an aftermarket addition, then it probably counts as a vehicle modification instead, and wouldn’t be covered under a standard policy.

If it’s a manufacturer-installed system, chances are it can be insured as part of the vehicle’s combined sum insured, even if you opt for a more expensive option. This will be the case as long as it comes as part of the vehicle, regardless of whether or not you’ve chosen the higher or lower quality version.

If it’s a modification, you’ll probably need to make sure you specifically list it as a feature of the car. This will almost certainly raise your insurance premiums, but you won’t be properly covered without it. Some providers even offer additional coverage options for modifications, but you’ll need to speak with them to find out if you’re eligible.

Since the sound system doesn’t generally affect vehicle performance, you can probably get it covered by most insurers without too much fuss.

How is the sound system covered?

As a listed modification or a default feature, your sound system will be covered similarly.

  • For its own damage: If the sound system itself is damaged, even if the rest of the car isn’t, you may be able to claim the repairs on your car insurance. Note that car insurance doesn’t usually cover electrical failure or wear and tear, so you probably won’t be able to claim if it simply breaks. There will generally need to be a distinct event, like an accident or theft in order for you to claim.
  • As part of the car itself: The value of the sound system is included in the total value of the car. So if it’s written off, then your payout might include the value of the sound system, along with any other listed modifications and the vehicle itself.

If your sound system is not covered, such as if it’s an aftermarket system that you didn’t clear with your insurer, then you wouldn’t be able to claim if it was damaged, and its value wouldn’t be included as part of the car itself.

In almost all situations, the only type of car insurance that will cover damage to the sound system (or any other part of your car) is comprehensive car insurance, rather than the more basic coverage.

How does my sound system affect my car insurance?

A more expensive sound system will increase your car insurance premiums. This is because:

  • It makes your car more expensive: You’re increasing the overall coverage needed for your vehicle, which will cause the premiums to rise.
  • It may affect the risks: An expensive sound system could increase the risk of theft, or in certain situations, the installation might even affect the safety or performance of the car. Unless you’re choosing modified vehicle coverage, your insurer might charge extra to offset the increased risks. Sometimes an insurer might decline to cover you altogether, although this is unlikely if your only modification is the sound system.

How will installing a new sound system affect my existing car insurance?

You might want to notify your insurance provider before having it installed to double check whether you’ll your vehicle will still be covered. Assuming you get the green light, you’ll need to notify your insurer after getting it installed so that your coverage can be adjusted.

The quality of the work might also affect your car insurance, and you probably won’t be covered for damage that results from the modifications. For example, if the structural integrity of the car is compromised during installation or set up, you’ll likely be on the hook for repair costs.

In some cases, your provider might want to verify that you’re getting the repairs done by an experienced and qualified mechanic.

How much is my sound system insured for?

If it’s a manufacturer-installed part of the base vehicle, then your sound system itself might not be insured for any specific amount. In the event of a total loss, it’s just part of the car’s market value.

If you’re claiming specifically for damage to the sound system, then the insurer will most likely consider it on a case by case basis. This involves working out how much repairs or replacement will cost for that system in your situation.

If you’re in a situation where you’re claiming repairs for your sound system on car insurance, odds are you’ll be claiming a fair bit of other damage too. The sound system will be joining the other damage as part of the total costs.

What about an aftermarket sound system?

As an aftermarket addition, your car sound system will generally be insured at the value you specify. Ideally, this should be the market value of whichever system you have.

There’s no point in overstating its value, because the insurer will only pay out the actual cost of repairs or replacement. The opposite also holds true; you don’t want to understate its worth for lower premiums either, because then you won’t be able to claim its full worth if you needed to file a claim.

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

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How can I reduce my car insurance premiums?

The number one tip for getting the best auto insurance premiums is to drive a dirt cheap car. If that’s not going to happen, then the number two tip is to shop around and compare policies to find the best price on the coverage you need.

If you have a particularly fancy ride, or just a bad-to-average ride with a really great sound system, then you might find yourself looking at performance or classic car insurance brands. All will tend to offer agreed value coverage, and they’re often more understanding with modifications than the mainstream insurers.


Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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