How car modifications can increase your premiums

Posted on March 4, 2015 by Guest Writer
Couple driving

If you enjoy fitting alloys, entertainment systems and other modifications to make your car stand out from the crowd, then beware – your insurance premiums could shoot up as a result. When applying for a quote for vehicle insurance, you will normally be asked if your car has been modified from its original factory state. If you omit to mention any changes, you could end up with a policy which is invalid.

You would be surprised at how small the changes to modified cars need to be to make their insurance premiums go up. The thinking behind this is the fact that if you alter the factory specification of your car, insurance companies are not guaranteed on what they are covering. So even if you are making a minor change, make sure you declare it or you will risk any claim you make being rejected.

Better still, check with your insurance company first, before you make a modification. This way you can weigh up how much you really want the change and you are prepared to pay more to insure your vehicle. Failure to declare car modifications will, of course, mean your policy is invalid should you need to make a claim.

Cost increasing modifications

Below are a few of the most typical car modifications and the approximate percentage increases to your premium to expect, depending on your insurers:

  • Turbo or supercharging your engine – up to 91 per cent
  • Changes to gears or transmission – 45 per cent
  • Engine tuning – 20 per cent
  • Bonnet bulges, wheel arches, flared wings – 41 per cent
  • Spoilers – 7 per cent

Thieves will be tempted when looking through the window if they spy new internal entertainment and navigation systems, including satnav units, CD changers and Bluetooth equipment. You will therefore present a greater risk to your insurers and, as such, need to declare the equipment when you take out your policy or whenever you install anything new – don’t make the mistake of waiting for your renewal to do so.

The good news is that if your car is looking shiny and new after a fresh paint job, while it might be attractive to thieves, it will not normally affect the cost of your insurance.

Cost cutting modifications

Security measures such as a car alarm, tracking device or keeping your car in a locked garage could mean that your premium drops as you will be making it harder for thieves to steal your car. Don’t forget to declare these changes and ask your insurance company to drop their price accordingly.