Find out some of the most unexpected things about your car that you should be declaring to your insurance company.
The rule of thumb with car insurance is to declare anything and everything you do to your car, whether it’s something as big as getting a full respray or something as low-key as putting a roof rack on. If you don’t, then you could be looking at a rather stress-inducing cost after having your next bump.
In the unfortunate event of an accident, if insurers find anything not to declared, they can choose not to pay out. This will leave you uninsured and in a worse-case scenario, the insurance company can even sue you for your fraudulent insurance policy. Things they look for include any undeclared convictions, previous claims, mileage or modifications. So prepare to be surprised, because here are 5 unexpected modifications that you need to declare to most insurers.
1. Stickers and Decals
Any “alteration” of a car that changes its factory appearance can be deemed as a “modification” to a car insurer and this includes stickers and decals. Each insurance company will have a different approach, which means some insurers will void you for putting up as much as a harmless minion sticker. This is an extreme case and is unlikely, however, not impossible.
Interestingly, some stickers are much more likely to void insurance than others. The main type would be fake badges that make your car seem like the sport edition of your car. Commonly known examples include “GTI” badges for the VW Golf, the “M” badge for BMWs and the “ST” badge for Fords. This is because they increase the perceived value of your car, making it more likely to be targeted by thieves.
With that being said, you should always think twice before putting any sticker on your car as there is always a chance it could void your insurance, leaving you with no coverage in the event of an accident.
2. Better Brakes
You would think that having upgraded brakes installed onto your car, which would improve stopping distance thus making it safer, would not result in your insurance company charging you, right? Wrong. If you’re lucky, you’ll only be charged an admin fee (roughly £25) for them to change the details of your policy, but it’s common for insurers to see it as a change in performance, therefore bringing your premiums up.
3. Roof Rack
Whether you have a roof rack on the top of your car every day, or only once in a blue moon, it could invalidate your next claim. As always, this depends on your insurer, but it’s not uncommon for them to regard it as a mod so make sure to double check if you utilise this car alteration.
Possibly, the reason that your insurer wants to know if you have one or not is due to the possibility of people stacking up a silly amount of luggage on top of their cars, thus changing the centre of gravity and performance of the vehicle.
4. Alloy Wheels
You may think this is an obvious one, but there’s more to it than you think. Of course, new alloy wheels would be a modification you need to tell your insurers about. However, what if the second-hand car you’ve bought already had new wheels put on it. Many are caught out when buying a used car as they forget to declare the modified wheels on the vehicle that the previous owner decided to install.
It can be especially hard when the after-market wheels don’t particularly stand out and look quite similar to the default stock wheels. Or, even more confusingly, if your car has the alloy wheels that belong to a different model of the same car. For example, if your Peugeot 107 Urban (which normally has lovely plastic cap wheels) has alloy wheels belonging to the 107 Allure, it will still count as a modification. Be careful with this and double-check with the previous owner if you’re unsure.
5. Air Conditioning Installation or Removal
If you happen to get AC installed in your car – because you don’t have it, or if you get it removed to reduce weight and power usage – you will need to inform your insurers. This is because messing around with the air con is a big job that is linked directly to the engine.
Some may think it’s just a small adjustment that allows for cold air to be blown into your car on a hot day, but the modification goes much deeper.
The safest bet is to declare almost everything you do to your car. Unless it’s a new air freshener, you need to tell your car insurance company, after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Sticking to the topic of car insurance, make sure to check out our sponsor Performance Direct for the best car insurance deals.
For more articles like this, receive our weekly e-newsletter, including partner deals and all things motoring, register your email below.