The implications of car modifications you may not know about
What is it that constitutes as a modification on vehicles these days? Those innocent looking alloys, subtle tinted windows or a casual paint job may not be considered in any way 'high risk' and therefore shouldn't have any impact on your premiums right? Unfortunately, this isn't always the case... and by not informing your insurer of these add-ons or upgrades, you could be left in a pretty sticky situation when it comes to making a claim!
What sort of modifications could affect my insurance?
To be on the safe side, it's generally advised to make your insurance provider aware of ANY changes you have made to a vehicle that aren't the original manufacturers specifications. Even when going through a quote before you've purchased the cover, under the consumer insurance act, insurers expect you to disclose anything they ask you about and all questions must be answered truthfully. This includes if the car has any modifications and some examples could be anything from adding extra headlights, a body kit, spoiler, making alterations to the engine such as supercharging, upgrading your brakes and suspension, even something as minor as installing a new stereo! So in theory it's classed as anything that affects the performance or appearance of the vehicle.
A stereo... Really?
I know right? How can something so small and insignificant possibly have such an impact on what I pay to keep my car on the road? Don't worry, it's a question we hear a lot...
The reasons why insurers need to know about ALL alterations made to a car is all to do with 'risk'. Suiting and booting your car up to the 9's is going to increase its value for one thing, but it's also going to become a lot more appealing to thieves. Not only that, but making changes to the engine such as installing nitrous oxide and adding gears, naturally increases the car's performance putting you at a higher risk of accidents.
When should I tell my insurance company about modifications?
We would suggest that you check with your insurance company before making any alterations to your car as it could increase your premiums. Adding a shiny, new spoiler could ramp up your policy by more than you bargained for! We're not saying it's going to be extortionate... but it could end up costing you more than it's worth! Even worse, it could make the risk unacceptable to your insurer meaning you may have to seek alternative cover elsewhere!
Not only this, but if you fail to notify your insurer of any changes you have made that aren't factory standard, they could also consider this as fraudulent activity and therefore invalidate your cover, along with any claims you try to make at the time.
As every firm operates differently and deem some mods more high risk than others, some may not even make that much difference to your premiums (if at all!), but it's better to be safe than sorry!
Nobody wants to be left in the dog house or out of pocket in the event of a claim - our advice is to modify in moderation folks and don't forget to let your insurer know! :P