Has your car been modified or are you thinking about making some upgrades? Be sure you know how the changes could affect your insurance costs. Modifications can be a fun way to personalise your car, matching it to your own ideals of how a vehicle should look and could even improve its speed or handling.

Top Modifications

But, before you go kitting out your car, you should probably check if the modifications you plan to make will affect the amount you spend on car insurance. It might not change your mind about customising your vehicle, but at least you’ll know what to expect once the work is done.

Raising your rates

Your insurance provider will look at a variety of factors when deciding how much you should pay in car insurance. When it comes to modifications, the change to your policy will be in two main areas. These are:

·      Risk of accident – If a modification puts you at a higher risk of being in a collision or other accident, the cost of cover is likely to go up.

·      Risk of theft – Making your car more flashy or high tech makes it more appealing to thieves, so your insurer is likely to up the price you pay.

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According to research carried out by Money Supermarket, the modification that’s most likely to make your insurance costs skyrocket is Turbo/Supercharging or adding Nitrous Oxide as a fuel source. This type of upgrade could make your insurance up to 90 per cent more expensive.

The insurance comparison site analysed information on 2.3 million modified vehicles to come up with its data. Other modifications that could add significant amounts to your insurance include transmission or gearing changes (45 per cent increase), bonnet bulges, flared wings and wheel arches (41 per cent) and roll bars, roll cages and seat removals (32 per cent).

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But it’s not just big changes to your vehicle that could lead to an increase. Upholstery or dashboard changes could lead to a three per cent hike, while the installation of GPS systems or carphone kits could also lead to increases of 13 and 12 per cent respectively.

Even specialist paint and decals are likely to up the price you pay.

Bring costs down

The good news is, a few modifications can actually help bring down your rates. These changes tend to increase the safety of your car or aide in manoeuvring the vehicle.

However, these types of changes may not seem as interesting or exciting as the changes that add to your insurance costs.

For example, parking sensors could bring your rate down by as much as 13 per cent, while a tow bar might drop your insurance costs by eight per cent. Some accessibility modifications can lead to a two per cent fall in insurance rates.

Meanwhile, adding a sunroof or air conditioning may also bring your costs down by around one per cent.

Top tips for insuring a modified car

If you’ve decided to carry out a modification, here are a few things to consider:

·      Make sure your insurer is aware of modifications – Whether you’ve made the changes yourself, or you’ve purchased a car that has been changed from factory specifications, you need to tell your insurer. Each company has different ideas of what constitutes a modification too, so it’s best to make sure all upgrades are disclosed. Otherwise, your insurance could be invalidated.

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·      Talk to your insurer before you make a modification – This way, you’ll have a clear idea of how much of a difference the upgrade will make to your insurance rates.

·      Shop around – If it’s time to renew your insurance, be sure to do some price comparisons to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

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