Modifying a car can be a great way to personalise your car. New alloy wheels, adding extra headlights and tuning up the engine are just some of the ways you can modify you car. What you might not know is that this can have a massive effect on your car insurance.

When we talk about modifying a car we instantly have visions of crazy paint jobs, noisy exhausts and the car being lowered that much it struggles to make it over a speed bump - essentially something like Grease Lightning. But you don't need to go to these extremes for your insurance premium to be altered.

The definition of a car modification is a change made to a vehicle so that it differs from the manufacturers original factory specification. So it is vital that you consider the extra costs that may accompany your modification.

Insurance costs are all calculated based upon the risk. So insurers have to consider a few factors before arriving at a price.

  • The risk of an accident occurring - Any modification that changes the look and performance of any vehicle has to be assessed by the insurance provider. Engine changes, sports seats, body kits, a spoiler etc all have to be considered.
  • Risk of theft - Some modifications such as phone kits and/or performance modifications also increase the likelihood of your car being broken into or possibly stolen.

As a general rule of thumb, the majority of performance and aesthetic changes made to a vehicle will almost certainly increase the cost of your insurance premium. It might surprise you to know even specialist paint work and decals can be a cause for concern for insurers.

However, there is a flip side to this. Some modifications can actually reduce insurance premiums. For example if your car has parking sensors, this would suggests you chances of having an accident are reduced meaning your premium can be reduced.

So should you modify your car? Firstly, it is important to speak to an approved manufacturer dealer. It is also vital that modifications are carried out by a specialist of your vehicle as they will be able to offer practical advice.

Now you have the desired modification, you will need to notify your insurer. Not informing your insurer could invalidate your insurance meaning you have no insurance on your vehicle which could lead to a more serious problem. When looking to re-new your car insurance make sure you let all potential insurers about your cars modifications as companies differ when defining what a modification is.

Always make sure any modifications you have are safe, legal and that you always speak to an approved service team before having any work carried out.