I’ve Modified My Car – Will This Affect My Car Insurance?

Caeva O'Callaghan | May 9th, 2023

Buying a modified car or modifying a vehicle you already own may be tempting, especially if you covet a faster, suped-up vehicle. But will it impact your monthly car insurance premium?

Yes, your car insurance policy will be different if you have a modified car. The bigger the modification, the bigger the impact.

Many modern upgrades are available for every kind of car under the sun – but is it a good idea to install that V8 engine you’ve been dreaming about? Probably not, if your engine was smaller to begin with. You will need to pay more on your car insurance policy.

In this article, we’ll answer questions such as:

  • Will modifying my car affect my insurance policy?
  • Do I need to tell my car insurance provider if I modify my car?
  • What car modifications affect my car insurance?

Some modifications will make no impact on how much you pay. Still, it’s a good idea to let your car insurance company know about it. If you need to make a claim, a full and accurate record of the components of your car will help get it repaired or replaced as quick as possible.

Find out what modifications you have

Some people may be surprised to find their car has been modified. Realistically speaking, you don’t need to self-identify as a boy racer zooming around town to have a modified car. If you’ve upgraded your car in any way, that will count as a modification. Not only that, it doesn’t matter how fast the car can go, it only matters how much it will cost to repair.

Modifying cars are not just the remit of car aficionados. Take a look at the following list and see if you have done any of the following to your vehicle, private or commercial, over the last year to help improve its performance or appearance?

For example, here’s a list of common modifications:

  • New exhaust system
  • Larger or smaller wheel size
  • Chipped engine
  • New sound system
  • Altering the fuel system
  • Lowering or raising the vehicle
  • Adding tinted windows
  • Modifying the bodywork
  • Removing seating
  • Altering the chassis

If you’ve done any of the above, you’re not alone: the RSA reported that in 2011, over 52,000 vehicles had their details changed and re-registered in Ireland.

High and low impact modifications

When it comes to your car insurance, you need to factor in how much it would cost to repair or replace your modifications. For example, if you install a top-of-the-range sound system, this may cost thousands of euros if it smashes in an accident. However, if you just swap out the cassette player or add a cigarette lighter, these are unlikely to affect your premium.

As another example, you might want to change your wheels to alloy. These can look nicer, and it might cost a little money to install. This modification will make no difference to your premium – though always good to advise us and have it on record.

Your engine, however, is a very high impact modification. If you changed your engine to a larger one, that would dramatically reduce the number of insurance companies willing to quote for your car. This means the price would increase.

Certain assumptions will also come into play when quoting for your car insurance. Let’s say, for instance, you want to add spoilers or a flames and skulls paint job. These are both modifications to your vehicle, but the paint job will not affect its performance whatsoever.

Similarly, the spoiler isn’t likely to fall off when driving down the motorway. However, your insurance company will assume you’re a boy racer type if you get these modifications. This, however unfair it may sound, will increase your premium. They will see you as a higher risk.

Planning on modifying your vehicle?

If you are planning on insuring a modified car or are about to modify your current vehicle, you need to tell your car insurer.

Whether the car has underdone modification or not is a standard question, and you need to give an honest answer. Failure to do so will affect any claim you may need to make in the future.

If any modifications have been made to your car either by you or a previous owner, this will impact the cost of your cover. The insurer may request proof that the modifications were done by professionals, fully tested and won’t make an impact to your safe use of the vehicle.

You will also need to tell us the cost of the modifications, so that your insurance provider can include them as part of any replacement or repair.

If you are thinking of modifying your car, pick up the phone and talk to us!

If you are buying a car that is modified or if you are considering making modifications to your own car, it is always a good idea to talk to your insurance company to understand the potential impact on your car insurance. Call and talk to our car insurance experts and we can search the market for you and find out the impact on your insurance of making any modifications. We are available for calls Mon-Fri between 8.30am and 5.30pm on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.