Does modifying a car affect the insurance premium?

For many young drivers out there the first thing they want to do when they get their hands on their new car is to modify it in some way. Perhaps you want to fit some new alloy wheels, maybe you want to install a spoiler or some new smarter looking lights or you might just want to change the gear knob or add a sun visor strip across a the front windscreen. What many new drivers don’t realise however is that some of these modifications might well invalidate your insurance policy if you don’t tell the insurance company that you have made them.

Many people deliberately avoid telling the insurance company that modifications have been made to the car because they don’t want the cost of the premiums to increase but this really is short sighted thinking as it could mean that you are technically driving around in an uninsured vehicle and the implications of that could be huge if you were to have a crash or if the car were to be stolen, and not just on your wallet.

Why do modifications affect the insurance premium?

There are two main reasons why modifying a car might affect the insurance premium and those two reasons are car safety and desirability. Let’s take safety first.

When a manufacturer designs and manufactures a vehicle all of the parts of that vehicle undergo strict quality tests to ensure that they are safe and compatible with the rest of the vehicle. Sometimes these tests aren’t carried out as well as they should be and this might result in the recall of a car to fix an error but by and large most cars are safe and roadworthy. As soon as you start to modify any part of the car however safety can quickly be compromised as you may send the car off balance by installing parts that aren’t designed for that vehicle or simply aren’t compatible. You could also mess up the electrics on the vehicle or you might even increase the maximum speed which could in fact mean that your car ‘should’ be in a different insurance group. This is something that the insurance company will have to decide when you inform them of any changes made.

So what about desirability then? Well, it stands to reason that the better looking you make your car the more desirable it will be to thieves. Insurance companies will again have to take into account how likely it is that your car will be stolen when calculating your premiums.

Does it say something about the way you will drive?

One final thing to consider before modifying a vehicle is that it may send a red flag to some insurance companies about the way you plan to drive. If you are modifying your vehicle to look like a racing car then it could be a sign that you also plan to drive like a racing driver.

Overall then it is best to inform your insurance company of any modifications you plan to make to your car preferably before you make them so that you can decide whether the increased premium is going to be worth it or whether you want to cancel the modifications. Whatever you do be sure to inform them and not hope that they won’t notice. If you have any kind of crash or your car is stolen then you can be sure that they will notice and the may well invalidate your insurance as a result.

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