5th May 2020

What constitutes a modified car?

By Richard Murray
Account Executive, Private Clients
Modified engine

When we think about modified cars, this can conjure up the stereotypical image of street racing, boy racers, loud exhausts and small gatherings in supermarket car parks.

However, it is also true that, in many cases, owners of modified vehicles take a great deal of pride in their cars and sometimes spend a small fortune ensuring that their car looks immaculate and runs better, though not necessarily faster.

So what constitutes a modification, the likes of which should be notified to your insurer? Sometimes, modifications may have been added by a previous owner unbeknown to the new owner or by an authorised dealer after its factory build. Some vehicles have optional extras from new which could also be seen as a modification. There are various reasons why an insurer would need to understand whether a vehicle has been modified but, in all cases, it is best to notify your insurer if in any doubt.

Under the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012, individuals are required to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation to an insurer when taking out insurance, in other words, answer the questions asked by the insurer honestly and to the best of your knowledge and belief, and with reasonable care. If you do not, a claim may not be payable at best, at worst, the policy may be void from inception.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has compiled a report on this subject in conjunction with Ageas which includes a list of some car and motorcycle modifications that insurers would consider a modification, but this is not exhaustive. A few examples from this report include:

  • Rear roof spoiler
  • Front or rear spoiler/air dam
  • Paintwork/designs/decals
  • Chassis or steering changes
  • Suspension changes
  • Wheel spacers
  • Wider tyres or wheels
  • Engine retune and ECU remapping
  • Camper van conversion

The report also includes cases that have been referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service where claims had been declined due to non-disclosure of modifications.

At Aston Lark, we have access to a range of motor insurers with varying appetites for different motor insurance risks. If you have a query or would like a quote for modified car insurance, or any other motor insurance including classic or high-performance vehicle, or perhaps a collection of all of these, please contact 020 8712 8076 or email privateclients@astonlark.com.