5th May 2015
Motorists have been warned that making minor moderations to their vehicle could invalidate their insurance if not declared.
Adding performance and aesthetic modifications to your car can trigger huge premium hikes, in some cases doubling the cost, research from MoneySuperMarket reveals.
Annual car insurance premiums are currently £423 on average. However, a turbocharger typically adds 93%(or £393) to annual premium prices. Making modifications to the gear box can raise the cost of cover by almost half (48%).
Motor enthusiasts who alter or re-tune their engine can expect to see insurance bills rise by 23%, while changing wheel arches or adding ‘bonnet bulges’ will add 42% on average. Even sprucing up the interior with new seats or a steering wheel will bump costs up by 18% on average.
Some modifications, however, can mean a lower premium. Most insurers will reward those adding safety features to their cars and reduce their cover cost accordingly. For example, adding parking sensors to a vehicle not only reduces the likelihood of a car-park bump, but it will reduce car insurance costs by a 11%. The addition of a secure tow bar will reduce premiums by 6%.
MoneySuperMarket found that women are most likely to add air conditioning, a sunroof, and parking sensors, all of which result in lower average insurance prices.
Men, on the other hand, are most likely to modify the brakes, turbocharger the engine and install air filters – modifications which will lead to higher prices for car insurance.
Kevin Pratt, insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, says: “When you modify your car in any way, you change its original specification. Your insurance is based on that spec, so the insurer needs to know about the changes, preferably before they are made. It might mean a higher premium, but the alternative is to risk voiding your cover, which would leave you uninsured. That would mean breaking the law and, of course, not having any prospect of a pay-out if you had to make a claim.
“If you’re planning to modify your car, ring your insurer before you get the work done, and factor any premium increase into the cost of the work. Don’t wait until your policy comes up for renewal. If something were to happen in the interim, the consequences could be extremely serious, especially if you are in an accident in which others are injured or killed where you are found liable to pay damages.”