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Top 5 Classic Car Modifications That Affect Insurance

We take a look at the top 5 classic car modifications that will affect your insurance.

Many of us make alterations to our classic cars, whether it’s for cosmetic, performance or safety reasons. However you decide to keep your vehicle, it’s important to remember that some insurers will charge you more to insure a modified vehicle. So, if you’re in the market for insurance or looking to modify your classic car, it’s useful to know the top 5 classic car modifications that can affect your insurance.

Before we dive into our top 5, we thought we’d explain a bit about insurers’ attitudes to modifications.

Modifications are seen as an additional risk. Insurers are trying to profile you, and understand the likelihood of you making a claim. Generally speaking, insurers will see a modified vehicle as a much higher risk when compared with the other standard, everyday vehicles on their books. Predictably, this could affect the price of your premium. On the other hand, specialist insurers (such as ourselves) are used to insuring specialist vehicles, as specialist policies cater for any extra risk. That’s why, when you tell us about your mods, we’re far less likely to increase your premium. Instead, specialist policies will have other criteria like a limited mileage or conditions such as needing to keep your vehicle locked in a garage overnight.

Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 classic car modifications that can affect your insurance premium.

We’ll use an example insurance quote to show you how modifications can affect your insurance premium. Our example will be based on a 40-year-old male who does 3,000 miles per annum and has a second car. His vehicle is just for pleasure use and locked in his garage overnight, with no accidents, claims or convictions. The vehicle is a Ford Escort 1.3 Mk2 1979 worth £4,000.

As an example, his premium might be £85.23 with a compulsory excess of £100*. Let’s see how modifications affect this:

1. Re-spraying

It might surprise you to hear that re-spraying your classic car is classed as a modification. Likewise, it’s one of the few aesthetic modifications that does affect your insurance costs. Any increase should only be slight, and it’s mostly to do with the effect the re-spray will have on the value of your classic car.

An expensive, high quality re-spray could increase the value by a couple of thousand pounds, so in turn, the risk of theft and repair costs will be higher to the insurer.

This doesn’t tend to apply to general maintenance, so if you re-spray your classic the same colour for upkeep purposes, this won’t usually be classed as a modification.

With the re-spray, his premium would now be £90.70, with a compulsory excess of £150.

2. Re-mapping/ECU upgrade

As we see newer cars move into the classic car realm, we’re seeing more vehicles fitted with some sort of computerised control. These are usually pre-set by the factory, but some classic car owners like to get these upgraded or re-mapped to increase performance. Again, the increase to your premium and excess should only be slight if you are with a specialist insurer.

After re-mapping or an ECU upgrade, his premium would increase to £90.70, with a compulsory excess of £150.

3. Engine replacement

An engine replacement affecting the price of your insurance may not be too surprising. Many classic car owners replace their classic’s engine with a higher-powered alternative if they’re looking for more torque or speed. An engine replacement will have more of an effect on your insurance than re-mapping or re-spraying, but the increase should still not be eye-watering if your insurer has a specialist modified scheme.

An engine replacement would see his premium increase to £97.27, with a compulsory excess of £150.

4. Stage 1 modifications

‘Stage 1 modifications’ is a term often used when it comes to the world of performance modifications, and refers to a collection of modifications made to improve the overall performance of your car. Stage 1 represents the lower end of the tuning scene, with changes already mentioned above such as: induction kits, re-mapping, exhausts, fuel pressure regulators, and blow-off valves. These types of modification will have much more of an effect on the price of your insurance compared the other mods on our list.

Stage 1 modifications will see his premium increase to £103.84, with a compulsory excess of £150.

5. Stage 2 modifications

A Stage 2 upgrade is a little more aggressive than a Stage 1, and will promote larger power gains. Stage 2 will include fuelling modifications and some engine strengthening and dismantling. This type of performance modification will have the highest impact on your insurance premium. As such, you may want to consider working with a specialist insurance whose policies can cater for the additional risks.

Stage 2 modifications will see his premium increase to £159.70, with a compulsory excess of £150.

So, that’s our top 5 classic car modifications which may affect your insurance. This should give you an idea of how your insurance premium could increase depending on the modifications you make. However, when insuring your classic with a specialist insurer, the increase in price isn’t too steep.

It’s important to remember that you should always tell your insurer about any modifications to your classic. Most of the time, if you speak to a specialist insurer who understand the risks involved, your wallet shouldn’t be hit too badly. However, if you fail to tell your insurer about modifications and then you need to make a claim, your insurance could be void. You can find out more about ‘how much should you tell your car insurer’ here.

 

*Please note this premium is only an example for the purposes of this article.