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Modified car insurance

Had some work done on your car? Get specialist car insurance for your tailored vehicle.

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Souping up your car and setting it loose on the streets makes your ride more interesting, but does it make it more difficult to insure? If you've changed your car up with window tints and petrol turbo, it may feel like car insurers will shy away from covering your reworked vehicle. Fortunately, it's easier than you'd think to find good quality cover even for heavily modified vehicles.

How do some normal car insurers cover modifications?

CompanyWhat do they cover?
Budget Direct Logo Image: Supplied

Budget Direct Car Insurance

Budget Direct should cover you as long as you let them know about your modifications. They won't cover modifications like bonnet bulges, any kind of rocket, flared wings, dual controls, and a few more others. It's best to look at the PDS if you've got some intense mods going on.Get quote
Bingle logo

Bingle Car Insurance

Bingle will insure a modification if it doesn't impact your cars performance, like petrol turbo, nitro or hydrogen fuel, or racing harnesses.Get quote
real insurance Image: Supplied

Real Car Insurance

Real state that they will cover 'accessories or modifications made to your car that you have told the insurer about and that they've agreed to cover', but unfortunately don't mention any more specifics than that.More info
Youi Logo Image: Supplied

Youi Car Insurance

Youi covers all fitted accessories and modifications listed on your policy schedule, but don't go into great detail about which mods are exactly covered.Get quote
Virgin money logo Image: Supplied

Virgin Car Insurance

Virgin say that you must tell them before you make any modification to the car, but don't highlight what mods they do or don't cover.Get quote
Coles car insurance

Coles Car Insurance

Need to tell Coles about any additional accessories or modifications to the vehicle in the quote process, where they will decide whether to cover them or not.Get quote
AAMI logo

AAMI Car Insurance

AAMI car policies automatically include cover for modifications and accessories up to the amount your vehicle's covered for. You don't need to list them on your policy - you just need to make sure your car is valued correctly.More info
Picture not described

NRMA Car Insurance

State that they will cover "any modifications, options or accessories that are attached to your vehicle."More info
Woolworths logo

Woolworths Car Insurance

Won't cover performance enhancing modifications. Will cover modifications such as tinted windows, mag wheels, and security systems.Get quote

What car modifications are covered by insurance?

It varies depending on provider, but modifications covered by most insurers include:

  • Alloy wheels
  • Bicycle racks
  • Bull bars
  • CD stackers
  • Chrome exhaust systems
  • Driving lights
  • Leather seats
  • Reversing cameras
  • Roof racks
  • Tow bars
  • Sunroofs

Modifications typically not covered by mainstream insurers include:

  • Custom paint work
  • Roll bars or roll cages
  • Racing harnesses
  • Nitro or hydrogen fuel equipped engines
  • Turbo or supercharged engines

What type of insurance do I need?

In addition to your standard CTP greenslip insurance, you'll either need a comprehensive policy or a third-party fire and theft policy to actually protect your vehicle.

With certain modifications, such as those listed above, you may not be covered by a standard policy. Instead, you'll need to take out one of the following with a specialist insurer, designed for modified vehicles:

  • Regular use. Personal or business purposes.
  • Recreational use. For cars not used for regular everyday driving, but still driven occasionally for recreation.
  • Limited recreational use. For vehicles driven fewer than 60 days or 5,000 kilometres a year.
  • Club/concessional use. For Cover for modified cars that are registered under a club or concessional scheme.
  • Restoration/laid up. For unregistered vehicles being restored, provided they are stored securely in a garage.

What do specialist insurers cover?

The following is a list of insurance companies who offer modified car insurance for exotic or historical vehicles in Australia:

InsurerModifications covered
NRMA Logo Image: Supplied

NRMA

  • All legal modifications (on comprehensive cover)
  • Specialist insurance for vintage/classic cars
Shannons Logo Image: Supplied

Shannons car insurance

  • All legal modifications
  • Limited usage cover
  • Restoration/lay-up cover
Dawes logo Image: Supplied

Dawes car insurance

  • All legal modifications (but will not reimburse any modifications required by law)
  • Only offered through a broker
Enthusiast logo Image: Supplied

Enthusiast car insurance

  • All legal modifications
  • Max of $2500 for audio or visual systems
  • Specialist cover for classic, vintage and prestige vehicles
Ryno logo Image: Supplied

Ryno car insurance

  • All legal modifications (but will not reimburse any modifications required by law)
  • Specialist insurance for classic, prestige and vintage vehicles
  • Cover for motorcycles and caravans
Lumley logo Image: Supplied

Lumley car insurance

  • All legal modifications
  • Max of $1500 for audio or visual systems
  • Specialist cover for vintage, veteran and classic vehicles (including motorcycles)
RAA Logo Image: Supplied

RAA car insurance

  • All legal modifications
  • Offers Hard to Place insurance for modified and imported vehicles

When can specialist car insurance help?

Specialist car insurers appreciate that people take great care in investing time and money into their vehicles and are therefore more willing to insure vehicles with performance-enhancing modifications. Certain modifications, such as to the engine, chassis or suspension, may prevent you from securing cover from a mainstream insurer or make the premiums unreasonable.

Unique car insurance

Specialist insurers usually cover unique modifications by adding substantially to the excess you pay. They also tend to charge more for more powerful vehicles. power of a vehicle. Boosting your car's power by 20% will probably boost your premiums by at least 20% as well. You won't necessarily be able to mitigate the cost increases by installing modifications for safety, because the added value of the modifications still contribute to the overall cost of the vehicle.

Specialised insurance for modified classic cars

Specialists are particularly good at taking care of modified classic cars. They are better able to negotiate a more accurate agreed value for the car rather than simply resorting to market value, while understanding the needs of the owner.

For example, they may offer flexible lay-up periods for classic cars which don't see much use. They are also likely to offer you the choice of your own mechanic and the option to retain valuable or rare parts salvaged from your car in the event of an accident. Mainstream insurers can rarely offer such flexibility for modified classic cars.

Should I use modified car agreed value or market value?

When looking for modified car insurance you'll have to decide with market or agreed value cover. In most cases, it will probably be best to go for an agreed value policy, as outlined below:

  • Market value. This policy pays you the car's current market value, subject to depreciation, at the time of the claim. Thus, the car's replacement value fluctuates constantly, meaning a modified car covered by this policy will almost always be underinsured. Market value is rarely used for modified or classic cars.
  • Agreed value. Agreed value is how much you and your insurer agree the car is worth. This number is locked in at the time of purchase, and can only be changed at certain times. This is especially useful for heavily modified or classic cars, but generally costs more. Agreed value is almost always used for modified or classic cars.

Is it possible to get low cost cover for modified cars?

This depends. How cool is your car? Like any policy, there are plenty of ways to reduce your premiums when buying modified car insurance. These include:

  • Driving a less expensive, less powerful vehicle
  • Nominating drivers, which can earn you a discount
  • Restricting the age and number of drivers
  • Choosing a Pay As You Drive option
  • Increasing your excess
  • Adding security such as a car alarm or immobiliser

Insurance rules for modified cars

  • Is your modification legal? Naturally, all modifications made to your car must be street-legal, otherwise no insurer is even going to look at you. Also, if you are stopped by the police with illegal modifications, you could face a fine or worse.
  • Was your modification approved? In Australia, modifications must be approved by the motor vehicle licensing department in the state or territory you reside in. They must comply with Australian Design Rules, traffic rules and regulations and also with the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (NCOP).
  • Do I need to tell my insurer if I make modifications to my car? Yes. If you don't tell your insurer, they can reject your claims and cancel your policy. If your vehicle is under warranty and you don't tell the insurer, you may void the warranty entirely. And if you don't tell the licensing authorities and your modification turns out to be illegal, you could receive a defect notice and a substantial fine and have your vehicle de-licensed or impounded.

Modifications which are typically permitted include:

  • Additional lighting
  • Air shock absorbers
  • Alarm systems
  • Radio and stereo systems
  • Roof racks
  • Single tone air horns
  • Stabiliser bars

Modifications which are typically not permitted include:

  • Dark window tinting
  • Loud exhaust systems
  • Changes to the engine that do not fit the legal standard
  • Illegal changes to the chassis
  • Noncompliant changes to the tyres
  • Changes to the suspension that do not comply with legal standards.

How can modifications affect the cost of insurance?

There are two main reasons that a car modification will boost your premiums:

  • It increases the risk of an accident. For example, getting a custom paint job might drive up the risk of an accident if it's shinier and reflects more light into other drivers' eyes.
  • It increases the risk of your car being stolen. The same paint job could increase the risk of your vehicle getting stolen if it makes your car look fancier and thus more appealing to a thief.

Exactly how much a particular modification will affect your premiums really depends on the specifics of the modification. The only general rule is that an insurance company will be much more willing to give you a good deal if the modification has been installed by a licensed professional, rather than by you.

Ready to compare car insurance for modified cars?

The cost of your car insurance usually differ depending on your circumstances. Your gender, the type and colour of the car you drive, the amount of cover you need, your driving experience, and other factors will have an impact on your quote. Always check the Product Disclosure Statement to make sure which product is best for you.

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary: Bingle consistently come up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. They only cover the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps their premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low cost option that covers them for the basics.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in their policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also have a live chat feature on their site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
Woolworths Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths catch our eye due to some unique perks like a price beat guarantee, where they'll beat any current comparable Comprehensive renewal notice if you're over 25. You'll also get 10% off your grocery shop once a month, and can add roadside assistance onto your policy for just $7.35 per month.

Who it might be good for: Woolworths shoppers and those that want to take advantage of their Price Beat.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. You'll get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you buy online and get access to their hail hero service. Plus, get a $100 e-Gift card when you purchase a new policy by 30 November 2020 (T&Cs apply).

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy that's affordable.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to pick and choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be thanks to optional extras like roadside assistance, choice of your own repairer, and the option of agreed or market value. Plus, you'll earn Qantas Points when you join and get access to the Qantas Wellness App.

Who it might be good for: People who love collecting frequent flyer points.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription - you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at anytime. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month-to-month.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. They'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. They offer higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. You get a free Bauer magazine subscription when you sign up and a portion of your premiums go to supporting female-led businesses.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (they'll cover men too!).
Kogan Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Kogan comes with all the perks that most comprehensive car insurance policies include but you'll also be entitled to some benefits on their online store. This usually comes in the form of a gift voucher or discount if you buy online. Plus, Kogan offer a pay as you drive option, which could be good if you're not on the road that much.

Who it might be good for: Kogan shoppers and those that don't drive much.
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