Modified Car Insurance
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Adding modifications to your car, or buying one that has already been modified, can have benefits such as increasing the value and performance of your vehicle. However, owning a modified vehicle will most likely affect your car insurance and will probably increase your premiums.
With this being the case, it’s important for modified car owners to know how insurers will view the alterations to their cars and what they can do to reduce the costs of their insurance policies.
So, at Utility Saving Expert, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide with the information you’ll need about modified car insurance and some advice on getting the best deals.
What is modified car insurance?
Car insurance for modified cars gives you all the cover that an insurance policy for regular vehicles does, as well as covering the car modifications that you have had added on.
Your insurance costs will change depending on the value of the modifications, as these will be factored into your insurance premiums by your insurance company.
Suppose the car modifications you’ve added on have increased the value of your car significantly. In that case, it’s usually best to agree on a policy with your insurer that has special conditions in place in case your car is ever written off.
Your insurance provider can give you an agreed-value policy which means that you’ll receive a set value for your modified car if it’s written off instead of the market value.
If you have a salvage retention clause, then your insurance provider will allow you to buy back your car after it’s been written off.
Do I Need Modified Car Insurance?
If your car has been modified since it was manufactured, you’ll need to have modified car insurance in place. This means that even if you buy a car that has already been modified, you have to inform your insurance provider so that they can adjust your insurance policy accordingly.
For an insurer to class your car as modified, it doesn’t just mean that the vehicle’s performance has to have been changed, as cosmetic alterations to the car also count. Essentially, if the car has in any way been altered from the standard factory specification, then it is classed as modified.
Cosmetic modifications could be tinted windows, speaker systems, go-faster stripes, installing a new sunroof, specialised paintwork and changes to the body kit.
Performance modifications could be a new exhaust system, new wheels, altering the suspension, turbo upgrades, increasing the horsepower, remaps, chip tuning, modifying the handling, transmission modification and fuel upgrades.
Suppose you have any modifications to your car. In that case, you need to make sure that you declare them all to your insurance provider, as failure to do so could result in your insurance policy being invalidated.
Types Of Modified Car Insurance Policies
There are three main types of modified car insurance policy:
Social car insurance
A social policy, also known as social, domestic and pleasure (SDP), will cover you for all types of driving as long as you’re not using your car for business or work purposes. It allows you to use your car for things like going on holiday, driving to the shops, visiting your friends and going on days out.
Social and commuting car insurance
Social and commuting policies provide you with the same amount of coverage as an SDP policy but also allow you to use your car for commuting to a single place of work. You will also usually be covered for driving a colleague to work as part of your commute.
Business use car insurance
If you’re planning to use your car for commuting to more than one place of work or to drive regularly between different business locations, you’ll need to have a business use policy in place.
Business use insurance has three different classes that provide different amounts of coverage for business-related driving, so you’ll need to check that you have the right cover in place for your requirements.
What levels of modified car insurance cover are available?
There are three main levels of cover available:
Comprehensive car insurance gives you cover for damage that is caused to your own car and any damage to a third-party in the event of an accident. It also covers you for fire damage and theft.
Third-Party Fire and Theft (TPFT)
Third-Party Fire and Theft cover you for any damage caused to a third-party as the result of an accident. It also gives you cover for fire damage to your own car and theft. You won’t be covered for damages caused to your own vehicle during an accident.
Third-Party Only (TPO)
Third-Party Only is the most basic type of insurance and will only cover you for damages to a third-party vehicle in the event of an accident. You will be liable for any damages to your own vehicle.
What Does Modified Car Insurance Cover?
Insurance for modified cars is the same as insurance for standard cars in that the level and type of insurance you have will give you different amounts of coverage.
However, a modified car insurance policy will also cover you for damages to your car modifications which means modified vehicles tend to be more expensive to insure.
What Does Modified Car Insurance Not Cover?
It will be fairly easy to find an insurance company that’s willing to insure your modified car. Still, you will not be able to find insurance if any of your modifications are illegal.
Examples of modifications that are classed as illegal in the UK are rear and headlight tints, neon lights, windows that are more than 30% tinted, exhausts louder than 74 decibels and nitrous oxide engine modifications.
The Most Common Types Of Car Modification
Altering your car’s bodywork with post-manufacture options such as canards and body kits will increase the value of the vehicle, change the aerodynamics and possibly make it less safe.
Expensive alloy wheels are one of the most popular types of car modification, but they can be risky as they may affect the handling of the vehicle. It’s also fairly common for them to be stolen.
Modifying the performance of your car’s engine usually increases the power and speed of the car. This can lead to it being classed in a higher insurance group by your insurance provider than it was before it was modified.
Having your car’s windows tinted doesn’t usually affect your insurance premiums very much as long as they’re tinted to below the legal limit. As they make it harder for thieves to see the contents of your car, they can actually be viewed as a positive by insurers.
Modifying the spoilers on your car improves the aerodynamics and reduces its drag and weight, making it easier to handle at high speeds. Due to this, insurers may consider you to be at a higher risk of speeding and dangerous driving.
If you modify the exhaust system on your car, this will most likely increase its performance and speed. Modified cars with altered exhausts are often seen as more of a risk by insurers.
Modifying your parking sensors is one of the few modifications that could actually help to reduce your premiums as, depending on the type of alterations, they could potentially mean that you’re viewed as a safer driver.
Stickers and body paint
Adding customised stickers or paintwork to your car could also increase the costs of your insurance as it means your car will be more expensive to repair. Even small scrapes can become expensive if the repairing garage has to source specialist paint to repair your car.
Additional Coverage For Modified Car Insurance
Additional cover worth considering includes:
Courtesy car cover
This will cover you for the costs of hiring a replacement car whilst your own car is away being replaced. Depending on your policy, you may also be covered for a hire car in the event of your car being written off.
This optional extra will provide you with cover for roadside assistance if your car breaks down.
If your windscreen is shattered or cracked, this will cover you for the costs of having it replaced or repaired. There is usually an excess fee that you will need to pay towards this, and the amount will vary depending on your policy.
No-claims discount protection
If you want to protect your no-claims bonus in the event of an accident, you can opt to pay extra so that it isn’t affected by certain types of accidents where you need to make a claim.
Personal accident cover
Having personal accident cover in place means that your insurance provider will pay out if you’re killed or injured as the result of a car accident.
If you take another driver to a court or are taken to court by another driver, the legal cover will help to cover any legal costs related to this.
International driver cover
This covers you if you want to take your car overseas and drive to another country. Some countries require you to have a green card from your insurer, so you need to check the requirements for any country where you intend to drive.
How Much Does Modified Car Insurance Cost?
Insurance policies for modified cars will almost always be more expensive than for regular cars. This is because if your car is modified, insurers consider you to be more of a risk and more likely to claim and assume that it will be more costly to repair your car.
If the modifications to your car have increased the speed, then insurers will consider you to be at a greater risk of having an accident, and as most modifications will increase your car’s value, it means that repairs and parts will be more expensive.
Insurers may also assume that modifications affect the safety and integrity of your car, as any alterations won’t have the same guarantees as to the standard specifications of the manufacturer.
Not all modifications will increase the costs of your insurance, but the majority will. For example, the average cost of comprehensive insurance for a car with modified wheels and tyres is £1,345 per year, and the average cost for a car with custom paintwork is £1,556.
How To Reduce The Cost Of Your Modified Car Insurance
Pay a voluntary higher excess
When you take out your policy, you may be given the option to pay a higher excess than you would normally. This means that your insurance premiums will be reduced, but you will have to pay more in the event of an accident.
Reduce your mileage
Reducing the amount that you drive means that insurers will view insuring you as less of a risk as you’ll be less likely to be involved in an accident. If you provide your insurer with a low estimated mileage when taking out your policy, the costs of your insurance should be less.
Add a named driver
For young drivers, adding an older or more experienced driver onto their policy can reduce the costs of their premiums as this driver will be viewed as less of a risk.
Compare insurance quotes
When looking for car insurance, you should always compare many quotes from several insurance companies to find the cheapest option. It’s also best to avoid auto-renewals and to compare quotes whenever it’s time to renew your policy.
Choose the right car
Choosing a car that’s in a low insurance group is a good way to make your insurance less expensive as these vehicles are smaller and safer and so are cheaper to insure.
Remember, if you modify your vehicle’s performance, it could lead to it being classed in a higher insurance group than when you bought it
Black box policies
If you take out a black box policy, it means that your insurance provider will fit your car with a telematics device that will monitor how you drive. If they consider you to be a careful and safe driver, then they will lower your premiums.
Make your car more secure
If you make your car more secure, then insurers will consider it to be less of a theft risk, which can also lower the costs of your insurance. This could include fitting alarms, fitting immobilisers or wheel locks, or simply parking your car in a secure garage.
Paying for your insurance annually instead of monthly will save you money as insurers add on interest to monthly payments.
Compare insurance quotes for modified vehicles online
The best way to find cheap modified car insurance is to compare lots of quotes from as many different insurance companies as possible. You can do this by using Utility Saving Expert’s free online comparison service today.
This will allow you to see which provider has the best deal available so that you can find the most affordable option for you.
*51% of consumers could save £319.03 on their Car Insurance. The saving was calculated by comparing the cheapest price found with the average of the next five cheapest prices quoted by insurance providers on Seopa Ltd’s insurance comparison website. This is based on representative cost savings from March 2022 data. The savings you could achieve are dependent on your individual circumstances and how you selected your current insurance supplier.
If you decide to add any modifications mid-policy, you’ll need to inform your insurance provider, as this will most likely affect your premiums. It’s always wise to speak to your insurer before you make any modifications to your car to find out how much the cost of your insurance will be affected.
If you don’t tell your insurer about any modifications you make to your car, then any claims you make could be refused, and your car insurance policy may be invalidated. It will also be more difficult and more expensive for you to find insurance in the future if this happens.
Suppose you have extras added onto your vehicle by an authorised dealership. In that case, they will have been fitted to the same specifications as the manufacturer, so this shouldn’t have much of an effect on your insurance costs.
If optional extras added at a dealership substantially increase the value of your vehicle, this could make your premiums higher than they would be for the standard model.
Unfortunately, younger drivers’ insurance premiums are always higher than older and more experienced drivers. This is the same for modified cars, and fully comprehensive insurance for these types of vehicles will be pretty expensive for young and inexperienced drivers.