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Are you building your own car from scratch? Here’s what you need to know about getting it insured

close up bonnet of a kit car

How do I insure a kit car?

Finding car insurance for a kit car can be difficult, as most ordinary car insurance policies won’t cover a car you’ve put together yourself. Builders and owners of kit cars usually rely on specialist insurers, who suit people with unusual requirements.

Insurance for kit cars is often more expensive, especially if you’ve modified the vehicle – but given the time and money it takes to build a car from scratch, it’s invariably worth the extra expense to insure your kit car.

MoneySuperMarket doesn’t currently offer specialist kit car insurance, so your best option is to consult a broker. This guide will help you identify the right policy for your needs.

Can I legally drive a kit car on the road?

It’s legal to drive a kit car on public roads, but only if your car has first passed an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) test. You can begin applying for an IVA through the government’s website. Tests are carried out at approved sites by inspectors from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, and cost upwards of £199.

After your car passes the IVA, you’ll also need to submit a built up vehicle report, and register your car for a number plate. Your kit car will then be legal to drive – as long as you’ve got insurance and pay vehicle taxes.

What does kit car insurance cover?

Insurance for kit cars covers all the usual risks to your car, such as theft, fire and damage as a result of a road accident. But a specialist policy can also include build-up cover, which insures your car as soon as the parts arrive. Some kit car insurance providers also offer protection for component parts that are damaged or lost in transit – but only if you apply for your insurance before it arrives.

Your insurer will usually pay out an agreed value if your kit car is written off or stolen, unlike standard insurance policies, which typically pay the market value. The agreed value is important because it is often hard to put a price on a kit car, especially if it has been modified.

Some kit car insurance policies might also include salvage retention cover. This lets you buy back the parts if your kit car is written off in a serious accident. You might be able to use these parts to build a new kit car – but keep in mind that if they’re seriously damaged, reusing them is both hazardous and illegal.

Can I add extras to my kit car insurance policy?

There are a range of extras that may be available for your kit car insurance policy, although you will have to pay an additional premium.

Some breakdown policies exclude kit cars, so owners should check the details if they want emergency assistance. It might also be a good idea to add legal expenses to your kit car insurance to cover any court costs.

If you are a track or racing enthusiast, make sure you have appropriate cover for these activities. The same is true for kit car owners who use their cars for weddings or other formal occasions.

If you plan to drive your kit car overseas, read the small print carefully. Your policy may include European cover, but never assume that you have the same level of insurance abroad as you do in the UK.

How can I keep kit car insurance costs down?

There’s no set price for kit car insurance, but there are steps you can take to keep prices down. Some of these include:

  • Join a kit car club: Members will often receive benefits when it comes to kit car insurance
  • Consider ‘parts-only’ insurance: With parts-only insurance, your policy will pay for the necessary parts if your car is damaged, but won’t cover the cost of labour. This way, you can save a significant percentage on your premiums
  • Reduce your mileage: If you don’t use your kit car every day, you might be able to agree a lower mileage limit with your insurer in return for a lower premium. Just remember that if you breach the limit, you could invalidate the policy

For more advice on how to reduce the price of your premiums visit our car insurance money saving tips page.

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