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