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Kit car insurance

Building a kit car from scratch is a real labour of love. Before you can take your prized possession out on the road, you’ll need to register, tax and protect it financially with kit car insurance. Here’s what you need to know.

Building a kit car from scratch is a real labour of love. Before you can take your prized possession out on the road, you’ll need to register, tax and protect it financially with kit car insurance. Here’s what you need to know.

Written by
Rory Reid
Car and technology expert
Last Updated
13 JULY 2023
5 min read
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What is a kit car?

A kit car is basically one you build yourself. It arrives as a set of parts that you buy from the manufacturer, which you then put together – a bit like Lego, but more sophisticated.

You might have to buy bigger parts, like the engine or transmission, separately. It’s a way of creating a car that’s highly personalised for you. As kit cars are often replicas of classic sports cars, they could give you a more affordable way to get the motor of your dreams.

Do I need specialist kit car insurance? 

It’s highly unlikely that standard car insurance will cover a kit car – so yes, you’ll need to find specialist cover. 

Unfortunately, you can’t compare kit car insurance with Compare the Market.

How do I get insurance for a kit car?

Kit cars are incredibly varied in how they’re constructed, making insuring them a complicated process. This means finding kit car insurance isn’t always easy, as most standard insurance providers don’t offer it. However, you can approach specialist providers with experience in the field.

They’ll need to know a few details about you, such as your claims history. They’ll also want to know about your car – including its make and model, engine size and where you’re at with the build.

How do I register a kit car?

Before you can legally drive your kit car on public roads, you’ll need to register it with the DVLA

To do this, your kit car will need to pass a basic Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) test. This involves an inspection by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), for which you’ll be charged a fee.

Once your kit car is legally registered, you’ll be given a number plate so you can tax and insure it for driving on public roads.

What does kit car insurance cover?

Kit car insurance offers many of the same benefits as a standard car insurance policy. This includes fire, theft and third-party damage.

However, comprehensive kit car cover might also include:

  • Spare parts protection – with a higher cover limit.
  • Build-up cover – to protect your car and parts against accidental damage, fire and theft during construction.
  • Dismantled salvage – which covers the value of all the parts that haven't yet been fitted to your car.
  • Salvage retention – which allows you to buy back your parts if your car is written off.
  • Agreed value – if your car is written off or stolen, some policies will pay out an agreed value. This differs from standard car insurance, which typically pays the market value.
  • Goods in transit cover – remember, you’ll want your car to be insured while you’re picking it up or having it sent from the manufacturer.

What should I consider when comparing kit car policies?

If you’re looking for a kit car insurance policy, bear in mind:

  • Age restrictions – some policies are only available to drivers over 21.
  • Rally/track day cover – if you want to race your kit car, you may need to pay extra for optional track days cover.
  • Multi-vehicle cover – many kit-car enthusiasts own more than one car. If that’s you, think about finding an insurance provider that could insure all your cars on one policy.
  • SORN cover – if you need to work on your kit car and decide to take it off the road, laid-up or SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) cover is a cheaper alternative to car insurance. It covers your kit car against dangers like fire and theft while the vehicle is off the road. It won’t insure you for driving your car, though.

Each policy is different, so always check the terms and conditions before you buy.

Is kit car insurance expensive?

Since each vehicle is unique and the policy provides specialist cover, it’s likely to cost more than insuring a normal car.

When calculating your premium, insurance providers will consider many factors, including:

  • Your age and driving history
  • Your address and where you keep your kit car overnight
  • The value of your vehicle
  • Body type and engine specifications
  • Any modifications made to your kit car
  • Whether you use your car for track racing
  • Any optional extras you add to the policy.

When you consider the time, money and effort that goes into building a kit car, you could find it’s worth paying extra for the right level of cover.

How can I cut the cost of my kit car insurance?

Although it’s important to have the right level of cover ahead of the cheapest price, there are a few ways you might be able to cut the cost of your kit car insurance:

  • Join a dedicated kit car club – members often benefit from discounts with insurance providers.
  • Keep your annual mileage low – you’re unlikely to be driving your kit car every day. The lower your agreed annual mileage limit, the lower your premium will typically be.
  • Keep your car secure – parking off-street in a safe place overnight could help reduce the cost of your premium. Some insurance providers may also offer a discount for industry-approved immobilisers and alarms.
  • Avoid unnecessary add-ons – don’t pay for extras you don’t need. For example, if you’re not planning to take your car abroad, you won’t need to include European touring cover in your policy.

  • Increase your voluntary excess – choosing to contribute more towards the cost of a claim could lower your premiums, but make sure the amount you set is affordable.

You can also shop around to find a good range of deals from different insurance providers, then choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Frequently asked questions

What are the most popular types of kit car?

There’s a huge number of kit cars out there. Westfield and Caterham Seven are just two of the big names.

Where can I buy a kit car?

You can start online as there are specialist companies that can help you configure and order your dream kit car.

How much do kit cars cost?

Prices vary depending on the model and spec you choose. You can expect to pay anything from around £4,500 for an MEV-Exocet, right up to £50,000 for the most sophisticated models.

Is it legal to drive kit cars on public roads?

Yes, you’re allowed to drive kit cars on public roads, but only once they’ve passed the IVA test.

How long does it take to build a kit car?

The length of time it takes to build your kit car will depend on a number of factors. These can include the type of car you’re building and how much time you have to devote to the project.

But even if your car’s not on the road, you’ll want to make sure it’s covered against fire, theft and damage during this time. This means whatever policy you get should include build-up cover.

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