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Does Auto Insurance Cost More If I Customize My Car?

September 20th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Daniel J. Middleton

You love your car. You’ve spent hours and money to customize it to your liking. Maybe you’ve added a new spoiler, a custom paint job, or some flashy rims. You’re proud of your ride, and you want to show it off. But have you thought about how your auto insurance might be affected by your modifications?

If you’re not careful, you could end up paying more for your coverage or even risk losing it altogether.

That’s why you need to know the facts about auto insurance and car customization. In this article, we’ll explain how insurers view modified cars, what factors affect your rates, and how you can find the best policy for your unique vehicle.

We’re Horan, an experienced agency that specializes in customized car insurance in Central New York. We understand your passion for your car, and we’ll help you protect it with the right coverage at the right price.

Read on to learn more about auto insurance and car customization, and how Horan can help you save money and hassle.

How Car Customization Affects Your Auto Insurance Rates

Most Central New Yorkers who customize their vehicles are not doing it to SUVs, sedans, or coupes. They’re doing it to trucks, especially pickup trucks and large vans. These vehicles have more space and options for modifications.

For example, you might have

  • installed an aftermarket theft deterrent,
  • replaced the seats with a different material,
  • added a sophisticated bed liner and a tool chest to the pickup bed, or
  • made any other changes.

You might think your car insurance company doesn’t care about how you customize your vehicle. As long as you pay your premiums on time, you’re good, right? That’s not true. In fact, if you don’t tell your insurer about your modifications, you could be in for a rude awakening.

Car customization can affect your auto insurance rates in two ways:

  1. by increasing the value of your car and
  2. by increasing the risk of accidents or theft.

Increasing the Value of Your Car with Customizations

When you customize your car, you’re adding value to it. You’re making it more unique, more attractive, and more functional. But that also means it will cost more to repair or replace it in case of an accident or theft.

That’s why your insurer will want to know about any modifications you’ve made to your car, especially if they involve parts that have a high value. For example, if you’ve replaced the engine, added a spoiler, changed the paint job, or installed a sophisticated stereo system, you should inform your insurer.

Your insurer will then adjust your coverage and rates accordingly. Depending on the type and extent of your modifications, you might need to get a special policy or endorsement for customized cars. This will ensure that you’re fully covered in case of a claim.

Increasing the Risk of Accidents or Theft with Your Customized Car

Another way that car customization can affect auto insurance rates is by increasing the risk of accidents or theft. Some modifications can make your car more prone to damage or loss, either by attracting attention or by affecting its performance.

For example, a major modification is having Salt City Customs in Salina install a sophisticated stereo system in your car. If you’ve turned your sedan into a two-seat concert on wheels, with speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers in the back, you’ve added a lot of value to your car. That might make your car more noticeable to thieves or vandals.

If you’ve altered the suspension, brakes, or tires, you might affect the handling and stability of your car. If you’ve boosted the speed or power of your car, you might increase the likelihood of speeding or reckless driving.

These factors can increase your chances of filing a claim, which will make you a higher risk to your insurer. Your insurer will then charge you higher rates to reflect this increased risk.

Minor Modifications Have Little Effect on Your Auto Insurance Quote

Some modifications to your truck might not affect your insurance rates much, such as adding a tow hitch or other minor accessories.

Tinted windows are not a big deal for your insurance. They don’t add much value to your car, and they don’t affect its performance. The same goes for speed stripes and decals unless they’re for business purposes. These are cosmetic changes that won’t increase your insurance rates.

But we’re not talking about those kinds of modifications. We’re talking about significant changes that alter the value, performance, or appearance of your vehicle.

These modifications can make your car faster, louder, or more powerful. They can also make your car more risky and costly to insure. For that reason, you need to tell your insurer about them when you get a quote for your customized vehicle insurance. Otherwise, you might end up with insufficient coverage or denied claims.

How to Save Money on Auto Insurance for Customized Cars

If you love your customized vehicle and want to keep it insured without breaking the bank, there are some steps you can take to save money on your auto insurance rates.

First, shop around for the best deal. Different insurers have different ways of evaluating customized cars and setting their rates. Some might be more lenient or flexible than others. You can compare quotes from several insurers online or with the help of an agent.

Second, choose your modifications wisely. Not all modifications are equal in terms of their impact on your auto insurance rates. Some might have a negligible effect. Others might have a significant one. Before you customize your car, do some research on how it will affect your coverage and rates. Avoid modifications that will increase your risk or lower your safety.

Third, take good care of your car. No matter how much you customize your car, it won’t matter if you don’t maintain it properly. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for servicing and repairing your car. Keep it in a secure place when not in use. Install anti-theft devices and safety features. Drive responsibly and obey traffic laws.

How to Protect Your Customized Car with the Right Insurance Policy

We know how much you care about your car and how you want to make it your own. But we also want you to be safe, smart, and savvy when it comes to your insurance.

That’s why we urge you to follow the advice we shared in this article. Tell your insurer about your modifications. Shop around for the best deal. Choose your modifications wisely. And take good care of your car. By doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy your customized car without worrying about paying too much or losing your coverage.

On the other hand, if you overlook the advice we gave you, you could face some serious consequences. You could end up with a policy that doesn’t cover your car properly. You could face a claim that gets denied or reduced or a lawsuit that leaves you liable for damages. You could also risk getting fined or penalized for having illegal or unsafe modifications.

Don’t let that happen to you. Protect your car and yourself with the right auto insurance policy for your customized car.

And if you need help finding that policy, contact Horan today. We’re here to help you with all your customized car insurance needs. Click the Get a Quote button below to get started.

For more auto insurance insight, learn 6 Common Misconceptions About Auto Insurance Quotes.

Daniel J. Middleton

Daniel is an accomplished content creator. He has been working in publishing for almost two decades. Horan Companies hired Daniel as its content manager in November 2022. The agency entrusted its messaging to him. Since then, Daniel has written insurance articles, service and pillar pages, and more. All in an effort to educate CNY readers. He's helping them understand the world of insurance so they can make informed decisions.