How modifications impact car insurance
Lots of drivers take great pride in their cars, and choose to improve them by changing their appearance and pushing their performance to peak levels.
But if you fall into this category, then you must think carefully before making any modifications or changes to your vehicle. Though it might boost the car’s value or make it perform better, the fact that your car turns a lot of heads might not be worth the increase in insurance premiums.
On average, having a complete body kit modification on your car will increase your premiums by 11.9%.
MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of March 2018
Modifications mean increased risk
The main reason why this increase in price could happen, as with any insurance policy, is risk.
Insurance companies calculate their prices using statistics, and if motorists using high performance vehicles are more likely to be involved in a crash, then insurers believe their premiums should be higher. Modified vehicles can also be seen as more attractive to thieves, and are therefore at greater risk of being stolen, which increases your premium.
Car modifications don’t have to be significant to have an impact on your insurance: these changes include alloy wheels, entertainment systems or fitting body kits. In fact, the most popular car modifications in the UK are alloy wheels, tow bars and parking sensors.
According to MoneySuperMarket data, showing the types of car modifications as declared by people running a quote comparison between January and March 2018.
Other modifications, such as personalised number plates, may not impact your car insurance premium directly but you will need to notify your insurer if making this modification and an admin fee may be charged to update your records.
Modification means any change to the car
Any change that makes the car different from when it was manufactured will have an impact on the price of your premium, sometimes increasing it substantially. Don’t forget that insurers allocate each car to one of 50 car insurance groups (one is the cheapest and 50 the most expensive).
If the specifications of your car have changed, then the vehicle no longer conforms to their analysis, and the rating is void. Therefore it has to be placed under a modified car insurance group, which is likely to be more expensive than its original rating.
The insurers’ logic is that modification work done on the structure or mechanics of a car outside the factory cannot be guaranteed, and this might compromise the integrity of the vehicle.
The most popular cars manufacturers to modify in the UK are Subaru, Jeep, Landrover, MG, and Rover.
Talk to your insurance provider
If you have your heart set on modifying your car, then you should always consult your insurance company before you do anything. They can tell you what impact, if any, the changes will make to your policy and premiums. And be sure to weigh up whether any modifications are worth the increase in insurance costs.
Always be honest about any modifications you are planning to make or have already made. It is sometimes tempting not to disclose them, but if you aren’t upfront, then you risk invalidating your policy completely.
“Modifications don’t have to be significant to have an impact on your insurance, these changes include small things like alloy wheels, entertainment systems or fitting body kits”
Additionally, you are likely to see the biggest increase in the price of premiums if you modify your car as a younger driver. Already considered high risk by insurers, young drivers tend to have more accidents than older, more experienced drivers.
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), younger drivers are now spending more than 10% of their annual salary on car insurance. For this age group, modified car insurance prices will be particularly expensive and may even become unaffordable.
According to MoneySuperMarket data, showing the cars with the most modifications as declared by people running a quote comparison between January and March 2018.
How security modifications differ
Not all modifications will increase your car insurance premiums. For example, if you install additional security measures to prevent your car from being stolen, such as an alarm, then you may see your premiums fall as a result. Your insurance provider may consider you a lower risk.
The same goes for immobilisers and tracking devices. But call your insurer to check whether (and how big) a reduction will be made.
According to MoneySuperMarket data, showing the demographic of people who declared car modifications when running a quote comparison between January and March 2018.
Find cheap modified car insurance quotes online
If you make modifications to your car, it is vital you shop around to find the best value modified car insurance. You can compare modified car insurance quotes at MoneySupermarket.
Bear in mind that as well as ensuring you compare lots of different quotes, there are plenty of other things you can do to try and reduce the cost of cover.
- Try to reduce your mileage. The further you drive, the greater the chance of being involved in an accident. If you only use your car for shorter journeys, premiums are likely to be lower.
- If you are a younger driver, then you could bring down the cost of insurance by taking additional driving qualifications, such as Pass Plus.
- It typically costs around £180 to take the Pass Plus course, but passing it can result in more than this amount being knocked off your insurance premiums each year.
- Consider raising the excess on your policy to keep premiums down. This is the portion of any insurance claim you must pay yourself. However, make sure the excess remains affordable.
- If you are a younger driver, you may be able to reduce the cost of cover by adding an older, more experienced driver to your policy.
- But make sure to not name them as the main driver on the policy, as this could invalidate your insurance altogether. It could also lead to penalty points on your licence as well as a potential fine.
- Finally, try to pay for your cover upfront rather than in monthly payments. Insurers usually impose high interest charges if you opt to pay monthly rather than annually.