Modified car insurance

Find out how modifications to your car affect your insurance premiums and discover the ways you could save on yours.

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If you’ve improved the look and speed of your car through modifications, chances are you’ll have seen your insurance premiums rise. Certain changes such as installing a body kit or having tinted windows fitted can lead to insurance premiums increasing while other changes such as fitting an alarm or parking sensors can mean premiums actually fall. If you still crave that turbocharged engine but are worried about expensive insurance, find out how you might still be able to save money on your premiums.

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What is modified car insurance?

Modified car insurance protects cars that have been changed, often to enhance the look, performance or speed of a car.

Standard car insurance may cover more-popular modifications as long as a driver declares the changes before obtaining insurance or if they contacted the insurer prior to making any modifications.

What counts as a modification?

A modification is essentially any change made to a car after it leaves the manufacturer’s factory.

Insurers work on the assumption that any modification made to the body or mechanics of a car might not be properly guaranteed, which generally results in the risk increasing along with the insurance premiums. Although a car’s value may increase after being enhanced, the modifications might also make the car more appealing to thieves.

Insurers use a group rating system of 1–50 when assessing how much a car will cost to insure. The lower the rating, the cheaper that car is to insure. When modifications are made to make a car look better or drive faster, this can mean insurers alter the rating of the car, often to a higher rating, because the risk increases and leads to more expensive insurance.

If you’re planning to modify your car, it’s worth contacting your insurer to see whether it can still offer you cover and if your premiums will increase as a result.

What does modified car insurance cover?

The features and cover benefits to each modified car insurance policy will differ depending on which insurer you go to but specific cover benefits may include:

  • Agreed value cover. An insurer will guarantee paying you the agreed value of the car’s worth that you set if your modified car is stolen or written off.
  • Free cosmetic modifications. Whether you choose a vinyl wrap or upgraded alloy wheels, these may be included as standard.
  • Limited mileage. An insurer may specify that a certain annual mileage must not be exceeded, for example 5,000 miles.
  • Like-for-like replacement for all modifications. In the event of an accident, you’ll have peace of mind that your insurer will replace your car with the same modified parts or accessories.

What modifications will increase the cost of my insurance?

An insurer will set its own set of terms and conditions about what is or isn’t allowed. What might be accepted with little change to your premium with one insurer may cost you dearly with another.

Generally, modifications made to enhance the look, performance or speed of a car will mean higher insurance premiums. Some of these include:

  • Body kit
  • Upgraded alloy wheels
  • Turbo or supercharge engine
  • Upgraded exhaust
  • Tinted windows
  • Lowered suspension
  • Spoilers
  • Paintwork or body wraps

There are other modifications that can be made to a car which will likely see premiums fall. Some of these changes include:

  • Parking sensors
  • Alarm
  • Tow bar

How to pay less on modified car insurance

  • Increase security. If your car isn’t currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
  • Have a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a locked garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Limit your mileage. Letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
  • Increase excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper, but remember your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. Be careful about making it too high as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
  • Add experienced drivers. Adding an older and more experienced driver to your policy could help to lower the premium.
  • Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which optional extras you really want as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
  • Avoid paying monthly. If you can, try to pay for your premium in one go as you’ll pay interest if the premium is spread out over the year.
  • Limit modifications. Any modification made to your car to make it look or drive better is likely to increase your premiums so think carefully before making any changes of this nature.
  • Advanced driving course. Completing an advanced driving course could result in your insurer adding a discount to your premium.
  • Shop around. Don’t simply choose to renew your car insurance when it’s up for renewal as you could end up paying more than you need. Shop around and compare your options to find the best deal.

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