Car Insurance for Modified 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 Modified VehiclesPeople have been modifying cars since the very first organized speed trials in Bexhill in 1902. Unfortunately for them, car insurance didn’t exist at the time so any damage to themselves or their vehicle would come directly out of their own pocket. Today, there is car insurance available for cars that have been modified,even if it may take a bit more work than your standard personal auto insurance coverage.

More Modified Cars on the Road

When we think about modified vehicles, a picture of a car straight out of The Fast and the Furious often comes to mind – or the sound of those “bumblebee” double exhaust systems. And when we think of those, we think of young drivers.

However, a new study conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center reveals that young people aren’t the only ones modifying vehicles. The study found that 78% of individuals aged 18 to 34 modified their cars, from floor mats and stereo systems, to performance tires and beyond. However, 74% of those 35 to 50 years old that participated in the study reported that they too had modified their vehicles, and respondents 55 and over also modified their cars at a rate of 68%.

Report All Modifications to Your Insurance Company

Regardless of your age, the first essential step is to contact your insurer and report any current modifications or future ones. Failure to do so could easily result in lack of coverage should a claim ever be made, and that could mean all the hard work and money you put into modifications is just a big loss on your end.

Do Your Homework

Here’s where things may get a bit tricky — not all agents working at that Big Insurance Company may know what it takes to properly insure a modified car. Most insurers are trained to insure standard automobiles, but only a small percentage will be familiar with how to properly cover your vehicle. This is why it’s important for anyone who has modified their vehicle to source an experienced insurance professional as well as an appraiser who has worked in the niche of either modified vehicles or specialty vehicles. (Handy tip: If you attend trade shows, they’re a hotbed for finding great insurance professionals and appraisers who know their stuff when it comes to modified cars).

As difficult as it may be to find a modified car insurance professional at a moment’s notice, it’s still a wise idea to protect yourself financially and advise your current auto insurance company of any modifications made. Transparency is key in the modified car insurance business, but you should protect yourself by finding an insurer who knows their stuff. It’s critical to retain all receipts of modification products and labor so you can prove your vehicle’s value should your shiny new exhausts sigh their last…fume?