There are a lot of reasons why vehicle owners may make customizations to a car, from getting a custom paint job to reflect a favored color to making internal tweaks to satisfy a need for speed. While cosmetic modifications don’t make a difference in how a car performs, other types of modifications or upgrades can greatly change how an insurance company views the risk of accidents when behind the wheel. Although getting insurance for a modified car may seem like a daunting task, with the right approach, it can be far easier.
Part 1 of 1: Insure your modified car
Step 1: Make a list of modifications. Often one adjustment or change leads to another, and you soon have several modifications on your car.
In the case of a future accident and claim, be sure to disclose all changes you have made to your car up front with prospective insurance companies. If you accidentally leave something out, a claim could be denied. Having a list of everything that is not stock on your car ensures you won’t forget a single modification.
Step 2: Call several insurance companies. With modifications, your car no longer fits in predefined categories.
While you could get insurance by filling out an online form, it is unlikely that you can properly document your changes, and that means you may not actually be covered in the event of an accident. This is a situation where it behooves you to speak to a real, live person, so pick up the phone and explain in detail how you have modified your car – referring to your list – to the person at the end of the line.
Step 3: Ask about equipment coverage. You can get your car’s stock parts covered along with having any resulting medical bills paid with a comprehensive policy, but your additions may not be replaced.
Extra equipment coverage ensures your add-on parts are eligible for replacement in the case of an accident. It will cost a bit more, but it may be worth it, especially if your parts came with a high price tag.
- Tip: If you have difficulty finding traditional automobile coverage, ask about collector car insurance coverage.
Step 4: Choose the best deal for your needs. It may be helpful to write down the cost and details about coverage for each of your prospective insurance companies.
The cheapest one is not necessarily the best choice for your situation. Consider factors like the deductible and medical coverage amount.
Step 5: Make a decision. Once you’ve looked at the comparison between companies in black and white, make a choice.
Give the chosen insurance company another phone call and follow its instructions for obtaining the policy you previously discussed. In most cases, your policy becomes effective on the following business day.
- Warning: There are often caveats to insurance on modified cars, so bear any exceptions in mind. A common exclusion to insurance applies to racing or test driving on a track. This is because high speeds are usually involved in racing and track situations, which greatly increases the chance of an accident.
While it may take extra leg work to find an insurance company willing to provide coverage for your car with modifications, it is not impossible. Expect to pay more than you would to insure your vehicle in its stock condition, and be sure to disclose everything you have done to modify it. With full disclosure and the willingness to pay to play in your decked-out vehicle, you will find a company willing to provide insurance to you. Make sure to keep your car on a routine maintenance schedule so you can enjoy it without the worry of a breakdown or an unnecessary accident.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Insure a Car With Modifications and was authored by Elan McAfee.