UK Modified Car Insurance
Cars with additions or alterations to factory specifications are considered non-standard or modified. Modifications raise insurance rates because they make the car more expensive to replace or repair. Companies specialising in modified car insurance offer cover to this higher risk group of drivers, which can potentially save them money on their premiums. But drivers should still shop around to find the best price.
Modifications can be anything added to or altered on a car. This might include the fitting of body kits, a new performance exhaust system, alloy wheels, air filters, or tuning procedures used to enhance the vehicle's performance, among many others. Technically, any modification needs to be communicated to one's insurer since it impacts the cost to replace or repair the vehicle, even if it doesn't affect the vehicle's performance. Failing to disclose modifications may invalidate one's cover.
Traditional insurers often charge higher premiums for modified cars. This is not only due to the higher replacement cost, but also because they contend that modified vehicles are more vulnerable to theft. And if drivers are young – as many are – they're hit with even higher premiums due to the risk factor associated with youth. Insurers that specialise in modified vehicles may be able to offer drivers better premiums. Some state that modified vehicles are actually less targeted by thieves because they're so distinctive. They also contend that drivers enthusiastic enough about their cars to spend the time and money to modify them are likelier to take better care of them, thus getting into fewer accidents. Specialty insurers assess modified cars for their true value – a benefit when traditional insurers often say they'll only replace the market value of the car. At the very least, these insurers understand modification jargon and so can make communication with drivers easier.
There are several ways to get cheaper insurance, even on modified cars. Younger drivers, if they've recently passed their test, can qualify for discounts by taking the Pass Plus course, possibly up to 35%. Many insurers offer limited mileage discounts for those who don't drive very much. Drivers should declare all their modifications as some may well reduce premiums. Security alarms and immobilisers can reduce premiums, as can storing one's car in a locked garage. Drivers should check with insurers about any possible discounts.
Just because they specialise in modified cars, doesn't mean these insurers will offer lower premiums. Drivers need to shop around in order to get the best rates. The Internet allows drivers to easily research their various options. Sites allow drivers to get quotes from many insurers. There are even sites where one can compare specialty insurers. Drivers should compare quotes, benefits, exclusions, and limits, paying attention to the small print, especially the insurers' policies toward modifications.
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