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Filing A Sports Car Insurance Claim For Cold Air Intakes In Singapore
There’s a reason car manufacturers make cars the way they do: they want each model to appeal to the widest possible audience. However, many car enthusiasts want to drive a car that has been modified to suit their specific preferences, whether it be for appearance or performance modifications.
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The definition of a “modified” vehicle in terms of insurance is a vehicle that has been altered from the factory standard (or when it left the factory). It can be anything from installing a new engine to simply adding a bumper sticker, but every modification you make to your car comes with a trade-off.
While some popular car modifications can lower your premiums, others increase them. Here we look at some of the most popular car modifications – along with their legality and how they affect your car insurance.
UK law states that if your car has been modified, you must tell your insurer about the changes, even if you didn’t make the changes yourself. Failure to do so may void your insurance.
As well as declaring any known modifications when you buy your vehicle, it’s important to update your insurance company whenever you make other changes to ensure you stay covered. Ideally, contact your insurer before making any adjustments to confirm any changes to your policy that may occur.
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As a policyholder, you are obliged to notify all changes. If you are buying a second-hand car and have any doubts about the work done, have the car checked by a mechanic.
If you fail to report modifications – regardless of whether the omission was intentional – and you are caught making undeclared modifications, your claim may be denied and your insurance will be void.
If you decline or cancel your insurance, it will be harder and more expensive for you to get coverage in the future. So, if you have any doubts, check and declare.
Depending on the modifications you plan to carry out, you may need a specialist policy as not all insurance companies will cover modified vehicles. You may also find that a modified policy will save you money, so it’s worth getting quotes even if you’re covered by your current provider.
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Modifications to your car’s engine and other vehicle mechanics such as the exhaust system, transmission, and air filter can increase your vehicle’s performance. In 70-80% of cases, when a car’s engine capacity increases, the insurance premium will also increase.
Installing an engine control unit (ECU) is a good example of an engine modification that can increase your insurance premiums. All cars are set up at the factory to regulate the fuel/air mixture in the engine to maximize efficiency and power. Many manufacturers program ECU parameters far below the car’s capabilities. Reprogramming or “remapping” can improve engine performance and in some cases return better mileage.
Adding or replacing an ECU chip to make the car more fuel efficient will slightly increase the vehicle’s braking power. This can increase your premiums, but only by about 5%.
However, it can cost more to remap the ECU to make your engine significantly more powerful. As a general rule, the percentage increase in your premium will be approximately the same as the percentage increase in performance.
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Installing a cold air intake not only frees up airflow to your engine, but also supplies it with cooler, more condensed air. Cooler air is denser, bringing more oxygen into the combustion chamber and giving your engine more power. This modification may have only a small effect on your premium and will not increase it as much as a complete remapping of your engine.
Many drivers take the pressure off the engine – and get some power back – by upgrading the exhaust system, which helps the waste flow through the engine. This usually means the exhaust will be bigger and louder and can increase your premium.
Note that many large bore exhausts are illegal due to the amount of noise they make – usually because the mufflers have been removed. UK law makes it illegal to modify your vehicle’s exhaust system to make it louder, and the police can take action if your muffler is missing or not working. If your exhaust system is illegal, you can be fined on the spot and your car can be taken off the road until it is brought back up to legal standards. And of course, adding it to your car illegally will invalidate your policy.
Carbon-ceramic discs and drilled or slotted discs (which allow for faster cooling by passing air through the holes) can cost a lot of money. Installing them can actually increase your insurance premiums due to the increased value of your car.
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Body kits are often added to an existing body or replace the current body, resulting in a risk to the safety of the vehicle. For example: adding a bigger bumper to make it look unique or sporty. While bumpers are made with safety in mind, body kits aren’t necessarily made to meet the required safety standards – they sometimes fall apart with the slightest impact.
Modifications such as front and side skirts mean less ground clearance, which can be dangerous on rough roads. Most body kits tend to be made of fiberglass or polyurethane, which makes them more likely to shatter in the event of an impact.
In general, if you have a standard policy, body changes can increase your premium by 10-15%. However, if you already have a modified insurance policy, a body kit is unlikely to affect your premiums unless it dramatically increases the value of your car.
A popular bodykit modification for Toyota MR2 owners is turning their cars into Ferrari replicas. In cases like these, the type of insurance covered may change. It is always best to check with your insurance company before doing any work.
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Short shifter kits are a popular modification that shortens the distance the shifter needs to travel between gears. This means quicker shifts and sportier handling – it can also make your car harder to drive if you’re not used to it!
As this modification is associated with young drivers and racing, it can be a problem for some insurers. This means it will only increase your premium by 5-10% or maybe not at all if your car is already heavily modified.
Depending on the age and wear of your car, your seats may need to be replaced or reupholstered – or you may simply decide you want to install heated seats or retro-style tuck and rolls. Whatever the reason, make sure you mention the change to your insurance company.
Installing new seats or reupholstering your existing seats can increase your standard policy by 5-10%. If you already have a modified car insurance policy, it is very unlikely that new seats will cause you additional costs.
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Not all of the popular modifications you can do to your car’s exterior are legal. Exterior modifications include, but are not limited to:
Many people are surprised to hear that custom paint, stickers and decals are also classified as a modification by insurance companies. This leaves some people in a situation where they try to make a claim and find that their insurance is invalid because they didn’t declare their collection of bumper stickers or racing stripes.
Not all insurance companies cover decals and custom paint jobs – it depends on the claims they’ve had in the past. If the company had to pay large sums for cars with such modifications, it may not want to cover them with another driver. For insurers that offer cover, they are likely to increase your premium by a maximum of 5%.
Alloy wheels are much stronger yet lighter than steel wheels of the same size and can therefore improve vehicle handling. This is because the suspension will have less weight to deal with and less steering resistance. Alloys are often ordered at the point of purchase for new cars, but they can also be a modification for the aftermarket.
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If alloy wheel theft has occurred in the area where you live, your insurance company may increase your premium.
Many small engines are highly energy efficient because they run on fewer cylinders and make the car lighter. For this reason, car manufacturers are opting for smaller engines in new cars. For existing cars, some people choose to replace the engine with a smaller one with the same power output – getting the same power but using less energy. Just as an increase in engine size can increase your premium, downgrading to a smaller engine can reduce your premium.
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