Your insurance rates may increase. For starters, modifications can increase the value of your car, making it more expensive to insure it. A simple paint job may not be enough to increase the value of the car, but overloading the engine, adding a spoiler and making other major changes are likely to increase its value. Adding additional coverage for modifications will almost certainly increase your premium, so be sure to discuss this with your auto insurance representative.
However, some auto insurance policies automatically include special equipment protection in comprehensive or collision coverage. Check your policy or ask your agent and be sure to get this information in writing. If you're thinking about adding new parts to your car, it's critical that you inform your car insurance company beforehand. Insurance policies and prices are determined based on the assumption that your car is fully standard and meets the manufacturer's specifications.
If your regular auto insurance company doesn't cover your car with its modifications, you may want to look for more specialized insurers. Usually, each engine modification is designed to make the car accelerate faster or operate differently, something the insurance company should know. In addition to ensuring that your claims are processed smoothly, declaring your changes to the insurance company lets them know that when you file an insurance claim, you're not trying to get more than your claim is worth. Replacing standard tires with sportier ones may seem like a cosmetic change, but the insurance company might say that not complying with the manufacturer's recommendations can cause the car to be driven differently and make driving more dangerous.
Your basic car insurance policy may not cover your modifications at all, so you'll need to purchase additional special coverage for your modifications. If you modify your vehicle to improve its performance or improve its appearance, you'll usually need a coverage endorsement or a customized, independent auto insurance policy. Kara McGinley was a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she specialized in homeowners and renters insurance. This insurance covers the repair or replacement of your customizations if they are damaged in a car accident.
Often, insurers that offer coverage for less common vehicles, such as classic, vintage, collector and high-performance cars, also offer insurance for modified cars. Modified cars tend to cost more to insure, however, certain modifications to the car, such as additional safety features, can result in discounts. If you modify your car with customizations, such as a paint job or a new stereo system, you will have to notify your insurance company to extend the coverage of the modifications. Modified cars or cars with additional aftermarket features, such as suspension and turbocharger upgrades, will need special insurance to protect those non-standard upgrades.
However, in some cases, vehicle modifications can lower your car insurance premium if they add additional safety features to your car.