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What is modified car insurance?

Modified car insurance is a subject that it’s worth taking a few minutes to think about. That’s because it might help you to avoid putting a future claim on your car insurance at risk of rejection.

Here’s a quick overview of the issue from GSI Insurance. We hope you find it useful.

Cars and modified cars

Most car manufacturers produce their vehicles to a certain specification that’s based on the model. So, a manufacturer might produce the “XYZ” model then sub divide that into GS and GSI variants etc.

Sometimes those variants indicate a significant physical difference between vehicles, such as a GSI having one sort of fuel injection system and associated performance figures, whereas a GS might be different. In other instances, the variant names can be more cosmetic and reflect things such as internal trim differences or the level of entertainment systems installed inside.

However these things vary, one common factor is that they will result in a final manufacturer’s published specification. That will be used by insurers to assess the risks associated with insuring the vehicle and that in turn will form part of their pricing deliberations.

Once you change anything away from that original specification, your vehicle will typically be categorised as “modified”.

Examples of modification

Some changes you might make to your vehicle would typically be seen as being cosmetic or trivial and as such, they’re unlikely to be a concern for your policy provider. Examples might include:

  • changing your car mats;
  • using throw covers over the back of seats;
  • putting a hands-free SatNav cradle in; etc.

However, other things will typically be of very real interest to your insurance provider, possibly including:

  • changing to alloy wheels;
  • installing a new engine;
  • fitting a different type of wing mirror;
  • changing the gearstick; etc.

In practice, it might be very difficult for the typical private car owner to know whether or not any changes they’re making will be of interest to their insurer. Therefore, it only makes sense to notify your cover provider when you make any change, even if you think it trivial, to your vehicle.

Why this is important

When you purchased your vehicle and insured it, you will have agreed with your insurer the exact specification of the vehicle.

If you change that specification, you may have also changed how your policy provider would view the risks and as a result, how much they believe you should be paying for cover. It’s therefore only reasonable that you check to see and take out additional cover (such as modified car insurance) if necessary, to reflect the changed risk profile of your vehicle.

In the event of an accident and claim, if your insurer discovers that the vehicle has been modified and they were not notified, they might have the right to refuse all or part of your claim.

Custom cars

It’s also the case that some cars simply won’t be found, when you’re trying to insure them for the first time, on your insurance provider’s databases.

That might happen, for example, if you have purchased a heavily customised vehicle that no longer conforms to any manufacturer’s original specification. Once again, modified car insurance might be required.

Why specific modified car cover exists

It is a fact of life that some providers of standard car insurance won’t be happy with any form of modified vehicle. They might decline to cover it at all.

Others might do so but only for a very large additional premium. In these cases, a specific modified car insurance policy might be more cost-effective than paying a lot extra to effectively change your existing policy.

If you’d like to know more, why not call us so we can take you through your options?

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