Does modifying your car affect your insurance premiums?
If you have a modified vehicle, or you're thinking about modifying your vehicle, it can be confusing to understand how it might affect your insurance premiums. If you're spending a lot of money upgrading your vehicle, the last thing you want is an unexpected rise in your insurance costs. That's why Gap Insurance UK has put this brief overview together to give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
Will your insurance premiums be affected?
The simple answer is - maybe!
It comes down to the nature of the modifications that you decide to apply to your vehicle. If you are chasing performance or altering the way your vehicle's engine/handling works then you will likely see a rise. If your mods are going to be purely visual, you will be unlikely to see any rise in your premiums.
So, that's the what, now here's the why.
Why will engine/handling mods affect your premiums?
To understand why certain modifications do affect insurance premiums while others don't, you need to think about the basics of what insurance coverage actually is, and how its cost is worked out. When an insurer looks to cover you, they look at certain factors to determine what the likelihood of you being involved in an accident is. They'll look at your age, your driving record, and a host of factors, but a major part of this equation is the car that you drive - that's why big powerful cars are more expensive to insure than small slower ones.
Altering your car's engine, braking, or handling characteristics may result in more expensive premiums.
The more performance-oriented your car becomes the more likely you are to drive it fast, the more you drive it fast the more likely you are to lose control or be involved in a high-speed accident. No matter how good a driver you are, you become more of a liability in the eyes of your insurer so your premiums rise.
Then there's the quality of the work to consider. Engine and handling modifications can negatively affect the reliability of your vehicle if they are poorly installed. If you leave a car standard, it's the manufacturer's job to make sure everything works reliably - if you start changing things, you take that responsibility. So if your steering stops working while you're driving, or your brakes aren't modified properly, that's your liability.
Why will visual modifications likely not affect premiums?
If you decide to modify your car's appearance but don't do anything to the engine, brakes, or steering set up you will likely not see much rise in your premiums. If any. This is because you're not considered at any higher risk of being involved in an accident, because your vehicle will basically drive, stop, and handle the same way as it did before you started modifying it. Things like bolt-on body kits, paint jobs and wraps, and upgrading the wheels of your vehicle will almost certainly not result in your insurance premiums going up.
If you want to modify your vehicle affordably, approach it through the mind of your insurance company - think what parts of the vehicle are not going to affect the way it drives, and choose those to modify. The looks of the vehicle are up to you, but the way it drives has to conform to basic standards of safety.
If you keep that in mind, you might not see any increase at all in your premiums.
What to do if you're thinking about modifying your vehicle
The best thing to do if you're planning to modify your vehicle is to simply contact your insurance company and ask them directly. If you have modifications in mind, tell them and they can let you know what the effect will be on your premiums. If you're still just planning mods, ask them the kinds of things that would see an increase in your premiums and the kind of things that wouldn't, so you can plan accordingly.
Modified cars are popular with enthusiasts, so many insurance companies will offer dedicated policies, or aspects of their policies, that specifically cater to modified vehicles. If you already have an insurance provider, ask what sort of products they can offer that are tailored to your needs. You might also consider getting some quotes from other insurance providers, to see if there's a cheaper deal for you available elsewhere.
In conclusion - if you modify your vehicle's performance your insurance will likely increase if you only modify your vehicle's visuals your insurance likely won't.