If you’ve altered your car in any way or bought expensive equipment that can be vandalized, you need to understand what is covered by your Auto Insurance. Alterations that require addition, albeit minimally extra, insurance include the following:
• Sports modifications to improve the car’s aerodynamics (e.g. spoilers)
• Mobility modifications to make sure a disabled individual can be put into, or even drive the car (i.e. wheelchair access)
• Backseat televisions, video game systems and new technologies to entertain passengers or to stay connected to the Internet
So, what happens if your car is stolen, and with it, the thousands of dollars of after-market equipment that has been installed? Hopefully, you had endorsements on your policy to cover the costs. Call an AIS Insurance Specialist to learn more and pay less: (888) 772-4247.
Will Your Modifications Be Covered?
You should never assume that any modifications, especially after-market ones, are going to be automatically covered under your Auto Insurance policy. Most policies are written to cover the car as it was originally built by the manufacturer. So, how can you make sure your alterations are covered in the worst-case scenario?
First and foremost, call your insurer, preferably before you make any modifications to your vehicle. For example, some engine modifications and other additions designed to increase speed and performance may substantially raise your premiums or even result in a cancellation or non-renewal due to the fact that they make your car more dangerous to drive. Ask any insurance agent, and they’ll tell you that speed kills. Insurance is about protecting you against risk, and making your car more dangerous means you’re exposing yourself, and your insurer, to much greater risk.
Cosmetic and functional alterations, on the other hand, are a different matter. In these cases, the concern is less about the safety of yourself and others, and more about how the value of the car changes. For example, a wheelchair lift installed into a vehicle can substantially raise the car’s value, both due to the cost of the lift itself and because the car will hold more resale value over time. It’s not uncommon for vehicles with mobility modifications to command a higher price on the used car market.
Modifying Your Insurance Accordingly
How your Car Insurance coverage needs change will depend on the car modifications, and there are some modifications your agent may actually recommend. For example, if you decide to install a Tracking device in your car, it may lower your insurance rates because it will reduce the chance of theft. Plus, if your car is stolen, it is easier to recover, meaning your insurer is exposed to less risk.
Even with all that said, some modifications might not impact your Car Insurance rates at all. If you decide to put a spoiler on the back of your car you should let your insurer know, but it may not have any impact on your car’s value or performance, and therefore your insurance rates may remain the same.
In the end, how much the modification alters your Auto Insurance depends heavily on both your insurer and what you’re adding to your car. Certain modifications can require separate policies in order to be fully covered, and others can be incorporated into your existing policy. One thing you shouldn’t do though is leave your insurance company out of the loop; they can’t cover you or your car if they don’t know exactly what vehicle you are driving and if there have been modifications to it.
Looking for auto coverage for your unique needs? Contact AIS, a California auto insurance agency. Tell us what you need, and we’ll help you find the best coverage for your vehicle.
This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverage’s in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.