Kit car insurance

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

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

Rory Reid
Car and technology expert
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Last Updated 25 AUGUST 2022

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 may 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.

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 kit car insurance?

Finding kit car insurance isn’t always easy, as most standard insurance providers don’t offer it – the cars are just too varied to make this a simple process. However, you can approach specialist providers with experience in the field.

They’ll need know a few details about yourself, 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.

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, accidental, and third-party damage.

However, comprehensive kit car cover might also include:

  • Spare parts protection with a higher cover limit.
  • Build up cover protects your car and parts against accidental damage, fire and theft during construction.
  • Dismantled salvage – which covers the value of all the parts that have not yet been fitted to your car.
  • Salvage retention 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 who’ll insure all of your cars on one policy.

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

Is kit car insurance expensive?

Specialist kit car insurance isn’t like a standard car insurance policy. Since each vehicle is unique, and the policy provides specialist cover, it’s likely to cost more than insuring a standard car.

But 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?

No two kit cars are the same. Some are incredibly slow and perhaps safer, thanks to their small engines and low maximum speeds. Others are faster than their production counterparts, so it’s hard to say exactly how much your premiums will be. However, there are a few ways you may 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 normally be.
  • Keep your car secure – parking off-street in a safe place overnight could reduce the cost of your premium. Some insurance providers may also offer a discount for industry-approved immobilisers and alarms.

If you need to work on your kit car and decide to take it off the road, you can avoid paying tax and insurance by applying for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
But remember, you’ll need to tax and insure your car before driving it on public roads again.

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. The Tribute MX250, Dax 427, and the Caterham Seven are just three of the big names.

Where can I buy a kit car?

You can start online – eBay is a good place to find kit cars, while there are specialist companies that will 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 £4,000 for an MEV-Exocet, right up to £15,000 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?

How long it takes to build your kit car will depend on a number of factors, such as what type of car you’re building and how much time you’ve got 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, so make sure your policy includes build up cover.

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