Modified van insurance

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From paint jobs to putting on a bike rack, a modification is any change you make to the van after it’s been produced in the factory. A change in insurance comes with some mods, so you’ll want to review your options and find the policy that covers what you need at a price you can afford.

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What is modified van insurance?

Simply put, modified van insurance is an insurance policy that takes into account any modifications to your van. Everything from finally installing a massive new stereo you’ve been dreaming of, removing some chairs or even just adding a new coat of paint can count as a mod.

Whatever the case, you’re going to have to get this tailored type of van insurance. Even if you don’t think it poses a threat on the road, your renovations might make your vehicle appealing to thieves or make it more of a fire hazard.

Plus if you have an accident and you hadn’t told your insurer about any modifications, your provider might say your policy is void. So it’s crucial you get an insurance update.

What do insurance companies class as modifications?

When insurance companies say “modifications” they include the more blatant changes. Like putting in chairs or installing a new stereo.

More subtle modifications count, too, like fitting it with heavy-duty locks. Here’s a general breakdown of changes insurers would want to know about:

  • Adding or removing seats
  • Adding different power supplies
  • Putting in or taking out windows
  • Racking and storage
  • Alloy wheels
  • Changing audio system
  • Body kit
  • Spoilers
  • Upgraded exhaust
  • Turbo or supercharge engine
  • Putting in a refrigerator
  • Fitting catering equipment
  • Lifting equipment
  • Dog grooming equipment
  • Fitting new locks

Will all modifications alter my insurance?

No. Painting the van a different color is hardly likely to change your premium. Some insurers won’t even require a change in policy if you upgrade the sound system or wheels.

Even if you’re just painting your van your favorite Pantone color of the year, you should still let your provider know though. Just in case.

Any changes you make to the machine’s performance will almost certainly affect your insurance premium though. If you tinker with the engine and make the van faster, for instance, your insurer will probably see it as a higher risk on the road.

Plus, a new paint job or fitting a bike rack on the van can make it more appealing to thieves. A rack, for instance, might suggest you’ve got expensive bikes stored inside.

Again, it’s better to err on the side of caution and report any changes to your insurance provider.

Should I get a specialist van insurance policy?

If you’ve only made minor modifications, like putting on different wheels, then you can try and take out a normal van insurance. Get some quotes online and ask the providers if they will cover your modifications — and what it will cost.

For any serious modifications, you might have to get specialized insurance. Check out your options online or find one through a broker. While it will cost a fee to go through a broker, you can be sure to find the policy suited to your van — no matter how you use it.

How can I lower the cost of my modified van insurance?

  • Avoid renewing automatically. If your policy is up in a few weeks, shop around. Insurance companies don’t often reward loyalty, so compare your options and find a better deal. Then go back to your provider and say you’ve found a better deal elsewhere. It might try to provide you incentive to stay.
  • Higher deductible. Your deductible is the amount you pay when you make a claim before the insurer starts paying. Taking out a higher deductible shows your insurer you’re more invested in not making a claim — which in turn can cut your premium.
  • Monitoring devices. Fitting your car with a tracking system that monitors your driving can cut your premium if you drive safely and responsibly. Reckless drivers beware though, it might do just the opposite.
  • Experienced name driver. Putting a driver who has years of no claims under their belt as an additional driver on your policy can help cut your costs.
  • Exclude riskier drivers. Those under 25, seniors and student drivers are all seen as higher risk, so keep them off your policy if possible.
  • No claims bonus. Drive responsibly and avoid making any claims over a period of between three and eight years — your insurer might reward you with a no-claims bonus that discounts your premium.
  • Security. Parking your van in a garage or another secure place will make it harder for thieves or vandals to get to. This could also lower your costs.
  • Use discounts. Browse the internet and see if there are any deals on offer. Providers often offer a number of potential discounts for everything from switching from your current insurer to completing a defensive-driving course.

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Bottom line

Tricking out your van doesn’t have to mean paying a fortune for your insurance. Just make sure you alert your current provider, and shop around for another policy if it’s not willing to cover your mods — or is only willing to cover them at an unreasonable premium.

Frequently asked questions about modified van insurance

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