At some point, every car owner wishes to modify his/her car. Having paid full price for one, it is only natural to want to experiment with its looks and make to enhance its aesthetics and performance levels. However, any type of car modification, minor or major can affect your car insurance policy. Car insurance prices depend on a range of factors. Car Modification is one of them. Insurance companies use car modifications to calculate car insurance. Thus, knowing the types of car-modifications that affect your car insurance is crucial.
What is a car modification?
Before getting into the modifications that affect car insurance prices, it is essential to know what qualifies as a car modification. A car modification is any modification to the interior or exterior of the car that alters its originally manufactured make. Since cars are manufactured after careful planning, designing and testing, car insurance companies factor in the original make of the car when you buy an insurance policy for the car. By modifying the car, you change its internal or external features, which in turn increase its chances of being stolen or decrease its capacity to protect you from accidents. This change increases the liability of the insurance company in the event of a claim, and that is what affects car insurance prices.
Which modifications affect car insurance prices?
The types of modifications that change the quote for car insurance policies and their premium are:
1. Engine Modification
The original factory-made engine of your car is used to calculate car insurance. Modifying your engine puts a significant increase in car insurance prices. Generally, engines are modified to enhance a car’s performance levels. By replacing or modifying the original engine, you risk increasing its power. Increase in power increases its speed which in turn, can increase the risk of road accidents and mishaps. As a consequence, the liability of the insurance company as they take the probability of accidents and car damage into account. This change leads them to charge a higher premium.
2. Wheel Modification
Wheel modification also leads to a hike in car insurance prices. Car owners might change the wheels of their car to enhance its visual appeal or performance levels. However, going overboard with wheel modifications is illegal. According to section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, any alteration which deviates from the original design of the manufacturer is not legal. For example, the installation of bigger alloy wheels or wider wheels can tweak performance levels. And in turn, risk road safety and increase the risk of accident and theft. This change increases the premium of insurance policy for the car.
3. Interior System Modification
Any change to the interiors of a car changes the original internal system of the car. Such changes can range from changing the seats and suspension/ brake system of your car to installing new pedals or a sound system. Changes to the car’s interior alter the quality, safety quotient and intended performance of its original features. It also increases the cost of managing their subsequent wear and tear. It is wise to carry out interior changes to your car through a skilled mechanic and after intimating your insurance company. Such changes will alter the car insurance premium and as a result, will affect quote for car insurance. A simple installation of an air conditioning system, or replacement of seats, and any other minor modification that does not affect its safety will not affect car insurance prices. This also depends on the car insurance company.
4. Paint Modification
A simple paint job or retouch will not affect when you buy an insurance policy for the car. But the addition of eye-catching race designs, decorative flashy patterns, dazzling emblems, or stripes and decals – basically any paintwork that puts your car into the spotlight can affect the quote for car insurance. This is because a change in the external appearance of your car can increase its risk of being stolen or getting damaged. This increases the liability of the insurance company and in turn, affects car insurance prices.
Which modifications do not affect car insurance prices?
Modifications that don’t extensively alter the appearance and performance of your car are not used to calculate car insurance. For instance, adding personal items like cushions, car-hangings, or idols will not increase the premium. Applying stickers to your car also does not affect car insurance. Installation of non-risky items like air conditioners, parking sensors, seat covers, etc. do not add to car insurance prices.
Making any modification to your car will most likely affect the quote for car insurance. Thus, it is not only advisable but also mandatory to inform the insurance company if you are planning to make any modifications. Accordingly, the insurance company will assess the risk or impact of such modification and reassess the amount of premium payable. Do not make the modifications and then inform the insurance company as this can count as insurance fraud, make your claim void and invalidate your car insurance policy.