Car Insurance for High Performance Vehicles

By Desiree Baughman
Desiree maintains insurance licensure in 46 states, and by combining years of experience as a writer and insurance professional, she delivers information consumers can easily relate to and understand. A graduate of Sweet Briar College with a diverse writing portfolio, she regularly serves as an expert source and commentator for respected outlets like CBS Money, Bankrate, and Ragan.com.

Car Insurance for High Performance VehiclesA large number of Americans purchase high performance vehicles or upgrade their current cars to that categorization without even realizing that they now are the proud owners of what insurance companies will likely consider to be a high performance vehicle. Why is this important? For starters, it can have a huge financial impact on you, namely in the dollar amount in premiums that you’ll pay for your insurance every month.

High Performance Car Insurance Costs: Frustrating and Far Too High?

A fair estimate that car insurance companies make is that the owner of a Porsche 911 will not always drive the vehicle the same way that one would drive a Ford Fiesta. High performance vehicles are built for speed and exceptional handling, though unfortunately the average driver who purchases one of these vehicles isn’t trained to take advantage of that. As a result, many of these car owners don’t conduct themselves as responsibly and safely as that Ford Fiesta driver (i.e. they travel at high speeds, engage in street racing, etc.), which increases the likelihood of an accident occurring.

Apart from speeding on the highway, another understandable concern of insurance companies is street racing. One report titled The Fast and the Fatal: Street Racing Fatal Crashes in the United States, using information obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting system from between 1998 to 2001, revealed that too many people are “too fast and too furious”. According to the report, of the 149,568 fatal crashes that occurred during that time, 315 (0.21%) were due to street racing, and there were 399 fatalities as a result. While this may be a small percentage of nationwide motor vehicle accidents, the NHTSA reports that speed is a factor in 31% of all traffic fatalities. High performance vehicles involved in street racing were six times more likely to travel at speeds equal to or exceeding 65 miles per hour.

What’s more, when an accident occurs involving your high performance car, the insurance company knows they’ll be paying much, much more to repair or replace your vehicle than they would on other vehicles. Not only that, given the extreme speeds these cars can travel at, they can do a lot more damage when it comes to personal injuries and fatalities.

How Insurance Companies Assess High Performance Vehicles

Many car owners know they’re purchasing what’s considered to be a high performance vehicle off the lot, but car customizations and upgrades can also turn your standard Honda Civic into what is considered a high performance car. Some items that insurance companies look at include:

  • Engine handling
  • Engine speed
  • Vehicle safety ratings

Returning to the example of adding upgrades to a Honda Civic, putting in items such as a turbocharger can instantly turn your run-of-the-mill two-door hatchback into a high performance vehicle. But even adding items such as a new suspension, new tires or any other items that may significantly boost your car’s value could put your custom car into the “high performance” category.

Finding the Best Insurance

Given the increased risk of a high performance vehicle being involved in an accident, many insurance companies will flat out deny covering any high performance vehicle. When you do find a company that will insure your vehicle, go over the details of what your policy will and will not cover. Some may cover the entire vehicle, including parts, and under any circumstance, whereas others may only cover against accidental damage.

Whatever you do, take plenty of dated photographs of your vehicle and keep any documentation such as receipts for parts purchased or labor. This will go a long way in helping you establish the value of your vehicle.