Insurers always ask potential customers whether they have made any modifications to their car prior to providing a quote. They do not, however, state what is classed as a modification and the list is far more extensive than people probably realize.
Online PR News – 04-March-2009 – – Peterhead, Aberdeen shire- Boosting an engine by a couple of hundred horsepower is an obvious red flag, but many could be unaware of the extensive list of modifications insurers need to know about. NCD News asked insurers if any of the following constituted a modification that they needed to be made aware of:
1. A new set of alloy wheels
2. Mobile phone attachment/Bluetooth installation
3. SatNav installation
4. Large exhaust attachments
5. Tinted windows
6. Alloy gear sticks/pedals
7. New stereo/CD changer
8. Luggage holder attached to the roof
9. Tow bar
10. Parking sensors
The answer was - ALL need to be reported even though the majority will not result in any increase in car insurance premiums.
This of course means that installing a £2000 stereo without informing your insurer will result in that insurer refusing to pay out should it be stolen. Beyond that, the fact that someone didn't disclose even the slightest change to their car allows insurers to invalidate that policy completely with no refund.
This would mean that if stopped by the police or in an accident the driver would be technically uninsured.
Noclaimsdiscount.co.uk asked several police forces about their stance on car modifications. Durham Constabulary stated: "... we do get involved if they have tinted windscreens since they are illegal ... If modifications are out of the ordinary we do check to make insurers aware because it potentially invalidates. Recently we stopped a car which had a two litre engine but was only insured for 1600cc."
Whilst Kent Police informed of their specific police operations targeting modified vehicles. West Midlands Police clarified the possible penalties:
"Police officers on patrol regularly stop and check vehicles that draw their attention, and this may be the case if a vehicle has been substantially modified. We have close liaison with the Motors Insurance Bureau, and often check that drastic modifications have been notified to individual insurance companies, thus ensuring that insurance is valid. Suffice to say, if the insurance is revoked, and the person turns out to be uninsured, then the driver would be prosecuted for the disclosed offense.
The level of fine varies according to individual circumstances, however the driver should expect to receive 6-8 penalty points on their licence. If a the person is a 'new' driver (i.e. test passed less than 2 years ago) this would mean their driving licence would be revoked, and they would have to take their test again."
So yes, that ridiculously over-sized exhaust could end up with the car owner having their license taken away. So why are there still so many modified and often dangerous cars still on the road? Sadly, although regularly caught and charged, the court's softly, softly approach to offenders is the main reason the problem is still epidemic.
For more information visit: http://www.noclaimsdiscount.co.uk