Cars are a real source of pride for most of us, with many drivers willing to spend thousands of pounds of our hard-earned cash on adapting and improving our motors. In fact, according to American Express, British motorists will spend an estimated £108 billion on our cars this year.
One of the most common methods of improving cars is by modifying the existing vehicle. Whether they’re performance related or purely aesthetic adaptations, these modifications can both boost your car and add some value should you come to sell it.
However, unfortunately, some modifications will also increase your insurance premiums, although there are some ways to counteract this.
Here, we’ve found out which modified car parts are most likely to up your insurance and which ones can, in fact, lower it.
What do we mean by modifications?
Essentially, modifications are any car parts or additions that have altered the vehicle from the original specification of the manufacturer, with modifications falling into two categories.
Performance car parts are those which have been done to improve the car’s capability, with many of these focusing on increasing the car’s speed. Some examples of performance modifications include replacing the engine, fitting a different exhaust, or altering the suspension specifications.
Cosmetic car modifications are those that aim to improve the appearance of the car which have little bearing on the performance. For example, speaker systems, altered body kits, spoilers, or new seats are all cosmetic car parts designed to improve the aesthetics.
Speaking to VW Motor Parts, who specialise in genuine Volkswagen car parts, they said: “Many people don’t realise that smaller changes can also be classed as modifications in the eyes of insurers. Even a racing stripe or a new stereo could invalidate your policy if not declared to your insurer, which many people overlook for the sake of big modifications.
Which car parts will increase my insurance?
In a nutshell, the vast majority of modified car parts will increase your premiums, regardless of whether they’re performance or cosmetic related.
When insurers issue a policy, they base their quotes on a number of risk factors, including the risk of an accident, theft, or damage to your car. And, in most insurers’ eyes, modifications increase the risk of all of these things happening.
Studies have shown that modified vehicles are more likely to be involved in an accident, due to increasing the speed, altering handling, and adapting the power of a vehicle, while cosmetic improvements can increase the appeal of your vehicle to thieves or vandalism. Similarly, modifications tend to increase your car’s value, meaning the potential cost of replacing it will be higher for insurers.
Money Supermarket analysed 2.3 million insurance quotes for modified vehicles to find out which ones will increase your insurance the most and you can find the full breakdown here. According to their findings, a turbo engine will increase your insurance by 132%, a bodywork change can result in a 66% rise, and a gearing change can increase it by 63%.
Interestingly, even adding functional modifications like Sat Navs or phone kits can increase insurance, due to the increased risk of theft.
Which car parts will reduce my insurance?
Some improvements can actually reduce your insurance, so can be handy to counteract increased costs from modifications.
Parking sensors, tow bars, and security systems like immobilisers, alarms and trackers will help to bring your insurance costs down, and even cheap options like a steering lock can have an impact on what you pay.
Do I have to inform my insurer?
In a short answer, yes. It might be tempting to avoid telling your insurers to avoid increased costs, but this can be considered fraudulent and invalidate your policy if you ever need to make a claim.