A simples guide

How will modifications affect my car insurance?

Modifications of any kind could increase the cost of your car insurance. Whether performance-enhancing or simply cosmetic, your insurer will want to know if you’re making changes to your car. But, the good news is that not all modifications will cause your premiums to go through the roof.

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What counts as a modification?

Simply put, a modification is any change you make to your car that alters it from the manufacturer’s standard settings. Modifications tend to fall into one of two categories: performance or cosmetic. Unsurprisingly, altering your suspension, changing the wheels or upgrading your exhaust are all examples of modifications that might improve your car’s performance; go-faster-stripes, speaker systems and sat navs are cosmetic changes. 

And modifications aren’t just for boy racers. We conducted research that showed 27%** of people who add extras to their cars are women. While they might not opt for a lowered suspension or twin exhausts, they may be tempted by personalised number plates, a top-of-the-range stereo or custom seat covers. 

Car modification

What are the most popular car modifications?

We’ve pulled together some data that highlights the top 10 most popular modifications as disclosed and quoted for on our site. You can click through our top 10 below to find out more.

Modified car chart

What cars are most frequently modified?

You probably won’t be surprised to find out that some cars lend themselves better to modifications than others. While there is always likely to be fewer modified versions of these models than there are originals, it’s interesting to see what cars have turned up in our top 10**.

As you can see, the Subaru Impreza is the most popular modified car according to our research and nearly 5% (4.86%) of all Imprezas that are quoted for on our site include modifications. Almost as popular for modifications is the Mazda MX-5, with 4.07% of vehicles added to or altered.

Interestingly, Land Rovers feature heavily on the list with the Discovery, the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport all making our top 10.

Why does it cost more to insure a modified car?

If you’re increasing the value of your car by modifying it, then the insurance claims you make could be higher as it’s often more expensive to repair or replace parts.

There’s also the potential increased risk of making a claim. You may have made your car faster and, therefore, could be more likely to be involved in a speed-related accident.
Your car may also be at greater risk of theft, particularly if you’ve had expensive tech installed, or you’ve modified its performance.

Insurers could also assume that any additional work that’s been done to the mechanics or structure of the car that changes it from the manufacturer’s standard settings cannot be guaranteed and may affect the car’s integrity.

Finally, if you are a young driver and modify your car in any way, it’s highly likely that your premiums will increase dramatically. Statistically, this is because young drivers are more likely to claim on their car insurance.

What if my new car comes with modifications?

If you’ve just purchased a new car direct from the dealer, you may have had the option to add various modifications to your car. These could include parking sensors, a sat nav or alloy wheels that are included in the ‘build’ of your new car. The good news is that because the car manufacturer has fitted these modifications and will have used products that are best suited to that particular car’s specification, these additions aren’t likely to add much more to your insurance. Obviously, if the modifications have added value to the vehicle, you may pay a slightly higher premium than you would for the basic model.

Will I need specialist modified car insurance?

If you modify your car, it’s possible that you may need a modified car insurance policy. Cars fit into one of 50 insurance rating groups to help providers work out a price to insure them. Any modifications to your car could mean it no longer conforms to that original insurance group and might invalidate a normal insurance policy. A modified car insurance policy will cover you for even the smallest of changes.

A note from our experts...

Our head of motor says: ‘Modifications are always of interest to your insurer. While many small modifications are unlikely to affect your premium too heavily, it’s always best to make sure you’re covered in the event of an accident. Although some of our data indicates that you could pay, on average, an extra 20% on your premium for a modification to your vehicle, this will depend on the type of modification you have. And there are many other factors that are considered when your premium is calculated, so be sure to disclose any modifications to your insurance provider.’

How can I get a good deal on modified car insurance?

If you want to know how any particular modification will affect your insurance, then you should check with your insurance provider. And if you’re still keen on modifying your car, you can ensure you’re getting a good deal on your insurance by starting a quote today.  Our comparison service allows you to declare any modifications up front, so you know the prices you’re offered cater for any modification you’ve made to your motor. 

**Based on comparethemarket.com data from November 2016 to April 2017.

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