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How Do Car Modifications Affect Your Insurance Coverage?

Toy car on top of paperwork with pen

Modifying your vehicle is a great way to customize and personalize your car, and it can even be a way to make your car easier for you to drive. Basically, any way that you change the vehicle from the manufacturer’s original design is considered a modification, and making these modifications can influence your car insurance policy. If you’ve already modified your vehicle or are considering doing so, here are some things you should know about how that will impact your car insurance in San Diego.

Low- and High-Risk Modifications

One differentiation when insurance companies consider modifications is how low- or high-risk they are. In general, modifications that are meant to improve comfort rather than performance are usually considered low-risk. These might include alloy wheels, tinted windows, or air conditioning.

High-risk modifications would include something as simple as specialized paint work, flared wings, or spoilers, because insurers might suspect a driver is more likely to speed. A turbo or nitrous engine is one of the highest-risk modifications, and can significantly increase your premium. Insurance companies will consider the risk of an accident much higher when the vehicle is modified to increase power and speed.

Declaring Modifications

Some vehicle owners will do anything to keep their premium low, including hiding modifications. This is a bad idea for a couple reasons. First of all, if your insurance company learns about modifications that you haven’t declared, you may be subject to them dropping the policy or having the policy invalidated.

In addition, failing to disclose modifications could prevent you from having a claim paid because the additional modifications weren’t included in your policy. If you’re going to spend the money on modifications for your vehicle, it’s a good idea to spend the money to protect those modifications as well.

Modifications to Declare

Any changes to the engine or mechanics that include the exhaust system, air filter, or transmission should be declared to the insurance company. In addition, any wheel modifications or changes to the bodywork of the vehicle, including the windows, should be disclosed. Suspension and brake changes should also be declared, because they can change how your vehicle performs on the road.

Major changes to the car’s interior also need to be shared. If you’re not sure which modifications need to be declared, contact your insurance provider before making those changes to learn how they might affect your premium.

Toy car crashing through stacks of coins

Modifications to Lower Premiums

There are also modifications you can make that will actually lower your San Diego, CA, car insurance premium. These include safety features like parking sensors that can significantly reduce your risk of hitting obstacles in the road, backing into something, or being in a collision overall. Extra anti-theft devices can also be beneficial for your policy price. Your insurance provider may be able to recommend other modifications that could lower your premium.

Insurance Options for Modified Vehicles

There are insurance policies for cars that have been modified or for restored vehicles. Some companies offer supplemental coverage for vehicles whose value increased after making modifications. There are also endorsements available for some modified or restored vehicles. However, even these types of policies have exceptions, so it’s important to communicate with your insurance broker to know which aftermarket parts and modifications are covered so that there are no surprises if you end up making a claim. Contact California Brokerage Associates today to learn more about policies for modified or classic, restored cars.