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Cars > stvethmsn’s Garage > Blog > Can Car Modifications Invalidate your Insurance Policy?


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M –31
Los Angeles, California
United States


Can Car Modifications Invalidate your Insurance Policy?

By stvethmsn

There are few scenarios worse in life than fitting your car with a set of shiny new alloys only to discover that people find your recently acquired wheels to be a source of hilarity. However, one eventuality that could top this humiliating experience is to find that not only do your alloys look stupid but that they also leave your car insurance policy null and void. So what can you do when it comes to modifications and cover?

Play it safe
Modifications made to a car can affect an insurance policy, even if the modifications were made by a previous owner. As a car owner, it is your responsibility to make your insurers aware of any alterations that have been made to your car that could differentiate the vehicle from its original factory state. Finding out which changes have been made to a car can be difficult, particularly if you buy from an individual vendor, who may fail to list all the modifications that have been made. You can help to ensure that you get a car with a full service history by buying from expert dealers, such as TW White & Sons, who will check cars over for past modifications.

Which modifications are allowed?
The stereotypical image of a modified vehicle is a car with huge spoilers, neon lights and lowered suspension, being operated by a spikey haired gentleman grinning vacuously at his fantastic driving machine. Such a picture represents an extreme version of vehicle modification and the owner of the car could certainly find himself in breach of his insurance policy; however, the image doesn’t quite capture the entire spectrum of vehicle modification. In addition to modifications that can affect the performance of a car, far less radical modifications could also nullify insurance cover if they affect the value of a vehicle. These changes include the installation of a DVD player or satnav unit, alloy wheels, tinted windows and even body re-sprays. There are certain changes that won’t affect your policy however.

What to do if you’ve modified your car
If you do modify your car then the first thing you should do is to contact your insurer, who will then assess your changes and come back to you with a new policy. While the new deal could be more expensive, it will ensure that you receive compensation in the event that you have to make a claim.

Other common ways that insurance companies wriggle out of paying
If there is one thing that insurance companies are good at it is finding loopholes to jump through in order avoid having to pay out over a claim. Other than car modifications, there are a few ways that an insurer can easily do this.

One common cause of non-payment is that an accident happened abroad. This is because a driver requires separate insurance if they intend to drive their car in a country outside of their policy agreement. You may even find that you are not covered if you have an accident during a commute. Many insurance policies will cover a car for social, domestic and leisure pursuits but not necessarily for work. If your car is stolen while the keys are in the ignition then you are also unlike to receive any compensation: many policies include a clause that excludes cover in the event that a vehicle is left unlocked or unattended.

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Cars > stvethmsn’s Garage > Blog > Can Car Modifications Invalidate your Insurance Policy?

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