Some people are happy with their car the way it left the factory – but for many their motor is the perfect platform to show off their personality, just like their clothes or hair, so they plan some imaginative car modifications.
Whether it’s changing its appearance with spoilers, body kits or paint jobs or boosting the performance with tuning kits or sports exhausts, car modifications give motorists the chance to create a tailor-made vehicle just the way they like it.
But like Christian Minister Rev Wena Parry, who fell foul of her insurer’s rules governing car modifications when she covered her Vauxhall Zafira with religious slogans, many people are unsure what is and isn’t a modification and what they need to declare.
Some insurers won’t cover car modifications
The Rev Parry’s stickers came to light when she sent photographs of her car to her provider, Age UK, following a claim – and was promptly told her policy could be void because insurer Ageas did not cover car modifications.
So specialist modified car insurance broker Adrian Flux took a look through its records to find the top 10 modifications declared in a typical month – plus some of the least common – and added some simple advice about what you need to tell your insurer if you are considering some car modifications.
Flux has been covering car modifications for 40 years
Adrian Flux has been providing cover for modified vehicles for more than 40 years, developing a range of special policies that can cater for everything from minor alterations to home-built one-offs like this three-wheeled Chitty Chitty Bang Bang replica.
The 10 most common car modifications
Out of more than 20,000 car modifications declared in a typical month, the most common are:
Alloy wheels (4,366)
Exhaust system changes (1,804)
Uprated, lowered or stiffened suspension springs (1,597)
Tinted windows (1,535)
Changes to suspension dampers (1,390)
Upgraded air filter (839)
Conversion to run on LPG (829)
Body kit (724)
Uprated brakes (555)
Changes to the interior (496)
And the less common car modifications are:
Cruise control (2)
Removal of seats (3)
Badges indicating increased performance (4)
High level brake light (7)
Roll bars (9)
Additional windows (10)
Flared wings (13)
Non standard paint work (30)
Not all car modifications result in dearer premiums
Importantly, only some of these modifications will result in an additional premium – generally the ones that increase performance or may make the vehicle more of a target for thieves or make it more likely to be vandalised.
But, irrespective of whether or not insurers will charge extra, you must declare anything that differs from the manufacturer’s standard specification or run the risk of having your policy cancelled should non-disclosure come to light.
Insurers may void your policy even if your non-disclosure was entirely innocent, purely because they do not provide any cover for modified vehicles of any description. So the simple message is, if in doubt, declare it.