Modifying vehicles has remained popular for as long as cars have been around. It's a way to make a vehicle stand out from the crowd, improve performance, and generally make British roads a little bit more interesting.
Car insurance companies pay close attention to modifications and in general, are not overly keen on most of them. Motor insurance companies have a massive database on every single car that can be driven on British roads. Using this database they can use the data on its performance, safety records, and likelihood to be in an accident or stolen as a way to provide a quote.
Modifications are an unknown quantity to an insurance company. They know what a car out of the factory will be like but if someone makes a change to it that is not in the database it causes havoc to their ability to quote.
Once a car is modified they simply don't know how it changes the likelihood of the vehicle being in an incident which will lead to a claim. They will do their best to have a guess or in some cases outright decline to insure a vehicle.
There are so many ways to modify a car, too many to list here, some modifications do not do anything other than changing the appearance yet there are others which change the way a vehicle performs, for better or for worse.
This has led to hundreds of people online asking if they have to declare modifications to an insurance company and if they don't what would happen. This article hopes to clear any confusion around the subject and to help those who have modified their car or are thinking about doing so and what they need to do next in regards to their insurance provider.
Do you need to declare modifications to a car insurance company?
It is highly advisable to let your car insurance provider know of any modifications you have made to a vehicle and let them decide whether or not they will be taken into account for the quote or whether the price will go up (or down sometimes).
Changing the fundamental engineering of your cars such as modifying or adding/removing the turbo/supercharger, gearbox, exhausts, and ECU will change the way it performs in such a way that you are more likely to be in an accident because it is faster.
Even modifying your car with seemingly benign things such as stickers can cause an issue as it's more likely to attract attention which can lead to vandalism from others. It's a well-known fact that people key cars that they're jealous of or ones who are asking for attention, often unwanted.
To conclude, your car insurance provider has covered the vehicle you have described only. If the vehicle is in any way different from that it needs to be declared at the point of application or BEFORE doing the modification.
What happens if you don't declare modifications to an insurance provider?
Your insurance will be void if you don't declare the modifications to an existing plan. You will be committing fraud if it's not declared at the point of application as you have not provided accurate information deliberately.
Some insurance companies will outright refuse to insure modified vehicles at the point of application or even if you're calling to update them about the mods. Never modify the vehicle BEFORE speaking to the insurance company.
Your insurance is not void on the point of being charged by any enforcement officer such as the DVLA or the Police but at the point that the modification has been made. This means you will have been paying for something not worth the paper it's been written on.
Driving without insurance is illegal and can land you with a £300 fine and 6 points on your license at the very least, in reality, you could face an unlimited fine and potentially disqualified from driving and the vehicle seized.
You will need to declare any and all modifications that were done to a car or risk your insurance being void and therefore driving a car illegally.
Don't take the risk.