Insuring A Modified Car

Modified cars are popular with enthusiasts who like to beef up the performance of and change the design of their cars to impress or to improve performance on the track. Popular with boy racers as well as track day enthusiasts, modified hot hatches and Japanese vehicles can be exhilarating to drive, but expensive to insure.

What Is Considered A Modification?

A modification is a change made to a vehicle from its original factory settings to improve the performance or make the vehicle look sportier and pleasing to the eye, often for their fellow enthusiasts.

There are many types of modifications that can be added to vehicles, and these can be split into two sections; Performance and Functional, and both of which will have an effect on your insurance premium if you’re not careful.

What Is A Performance Mod?

A performance modification will change the way your car initially operates, either under the bonnet or on the bodywork of your vehicle.  Common performance modifications can include:

  • Alloy wheels – this can involve increasing the size of your wheels and adding new designs
  • Sound systems – some will make changes to their audio systems within the car, adding extra speakers and fitting a different model of radio system
  • Engine tuning – usually used to improve the performance of a hot hatch car
  • Body Kits – including spoilers and body kits
  • Paintworks – including decals, respraying, badges and specialised paintwork
  • Brake kits – used to improve performance, usually by those who own Japanese cars, which might have different specifications and need to be modified for UK roads
  • Suspension kits – used to stiffen up suspension to improve cornering
  • Tinted windows
  • Neon lighting – used for aesthetic purposes, usually installed on the underside of a car

Tuning kits are popular amongst enthusiasts who want to add a little more power to their rides, either for racing or merely to show off, and are a common addition to Japanese cars and those known as hot hatchbacks.

What Is A Functional Mod?

Functional modifications are those which are used to aid drivers in some way, either to assist with driving, navigation or to allow for better access. Useful modifications can include features such as:

  • Sat navs
  • In-car phones
  • Parking sensors
  • Roof racks
  • Towbars
  • Air conditioning
  • Sunroof

Features that help to improve access for users of wheelchairs; such as wheelchair clamps, lifting equipment, ramps and hand controls can also be classed as functional modifications and will need to be declared to your insurance company upon fitting.

What Should I Tell My Insurance Company?

You must let your car insurance provider know of any changes that you make to the vehicle immediately after making them, especially if they are those which change the specifications from those of the original factory model.

Depending on what changes you make you might find yourself having to pay a little extra on your car insurance as a result, so it could be worth thinking about whether you really can afford to fit that body kit or invest in some larger rims.

Mods that increase engine power and even change the paintwork can be seen as high-risk, as can the addition of technologies including sat navs and stereo systems. Insurers will not look kindly on some modifications as they are perceived to be at greater risk of theft due to the cost of some of the equipment, and so could lead to a higher insurance premium.

How Can I Bring Down My Premiums?

As with regular car insurance, experience can count when it comes to lowering your insurance premium. By driving carefully and accumulating some No Claims Discount, you can help reduce the cost of your premium as you’re showing yourself to be a safe driver.

It is usually the younger drivers who make a hobby out of modifying their vehicles to show off to their mates and at motor shows. Combined with a perception that they are a greater risk of having an accident as a result of their inexperience, many will find their high-performance car premiums to be sky-high as a result of the modifications to their vehicles. If you have a high-performance car, you may check our detailed guide on Powerful Cars and How to Insure Them.

While it may be more expensive to add modifications to your car, there are also some which can be seen as aiding driving, including parking sensors and tow bars. If you’re driving slower than the average driver, you could be looked upon more kindly by your insurer.

How Best To Save Money?

When searching for a hot hatch insurance quote for your modified car, it can be worth looking into several options when it comes to insurance, run searches on some providers and be as honest as you can when it comes to describing what work you have done to the vehicle.