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Modified car insurance explained

If you’re thinking of making changes to your car, read on to find out what counts as a modification and how this can affect the price you pay for your car insurance.

Modified car insurance

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Car modifications are not exclusive to boy racers or petrolheads. As well as turbocharged engines and spoilers, insurers take more modest vehicle modifications into consideration when arranging your cover — anything from alloy wheels to safety features such as parking sensors.

Different types of modification will affect the cost of your cover in different ways — some will not alter your premium at all, and some could even reduce it. But your insurer must be informed so they can provide appropriate cover. 

What does modified car insurance cover? 

Modified car insurance will provide the same cover as a standard car insurance policy but will also ensure any changes you’ve made to your car are protected. There are many specialist insurers who are happy to cover cars with modifications.

What counts as a modification?

Car modifications can be performance-based or purely cosmetic, but insurers will want to know about any changes made to the vehicle. 

The most common types of modifications include:

  1. Engine alterations

  2. Tinted windows 

  3. Neon lights

  4. Exhaust upgrades

  5. Alloy wheels

  6. Spoilers

  7. Changes to the bodywork

  8. Parking sensors

Modifications can also include the addition of a sunroof and fitting a tow bar. 

When you get a quote from a price comparison site such as Uswitch, you’ll be able to select from a list of modifications such as these.

Most insurers will only ask you to declare these alterations or accessories if they were added after the car’s manufacture, but others will consider these to be modifications if they were not part of the basic specification of the car, i.e. if the manufacturer provided these as optional extras when the car was purchased. 

Not all insurers will take this into account, so when you’re comparing online it’s best to select these as modifications. If you’ve got an existing policy and you’re concerned that you haven’t declared everything, just give your insurer a call and ask whether they take these types of modification into account.

Do you have to tell your insurance company if you modify your car?

If you’re taking out a new insurance policy, it’s important to declare any modifications at the comparison stage to ensure the quotes returned are accurate. 

If you make any alterations to your car during the course of your insurance policy, you should declare this to your insurer immediately. Don’t wait for your renewal notice as you may not be covered in the meantime.

What happens if you don’t declare modifications on car insurance? 

If you don’t declare modifications when comparing car insurance quotes, whether this was deliberate or accidental, you could be left without valid cover. This means if you later make a claim it will turned down and you could find it harder to get insurance in the future. 

How do modifications affect the cost of car insurance?

As you might expect, some types of modification will increase the cost of your car insurance. Some performance modifications can make your car more powerful, meaning it’s more likely to sustain or cause damage in the case of an accident. 

Other modifications will make your car more attractive to thieves or could increase the value of your car, and your insurer may increase your premium to reflect this added risk.

Are there car modifications that don’t affect your insurance? 

Although many modifications will increase the amount you pay for your car insurance, some types of modification could actually affect the cost of your insurance in a positive way. 

Safety features such as trackers and parking sensors could save you money — but be aware that the insurer will also take the equipment's replacement cost into account, meaning your premium could actually go up or down.

If you add winter tyres to your car, this should not affect your car insurance premium, providing the tyres are approved by the car manufacturer. A number of insurers signed an agreement back in 2011 to state they would not increase premiums for motorists using winter tyres.

As with any type of car insurance, it pays to shop around to make sure you’re getting the right modified car insurance deal for you. Get started by comparing specialist insurance quotes:

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch