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Car mods that will blow your insurance budget

Making some upgrades to your car? You want to get noticed and that’s fine, but if you’re on a budget, think carefully about the potential impact on your insurance premium.

Don’t assume that it’s just the big, expensive mods that will bump up the price, either. Whilst fitting a more powerful engine might see your premium surge by up to 132%, even inexpensive mods like adding stripes and badges could add another 22% to insurance costs, according to research by Moneysupermarket.com.

Another myth is that improvements which are purely functional, such as adding air conditioning or a satellite navigation system, aren’t really car mods at all. They are, and you should notify your insurer about them. These two examples alone could add 13% and 15% respectively to your premium, as they can increase the theft risk.

High cost aesthetic and performance car mods

If your insurance budget is tight, the most expensive modifications you can make to improve the look or performance of your car are:

  1. Turbo- or super-charging the engine (+132%)
  2. Modifying the transmission or gear system (+63%)
  3. Bonnet bulges, flared wings and wheel arches (+66%)
  4. Complete body kit and panels (+57%)
  5. Interior roll bars, roll cages and removing seats (+41%)

Surprising costs for functional car mods

Cars which are adapted for disabled users can also cost more to insure. Moneysupermarket.com’s research found that premiums can increase by up to 69% for adding wheelchair clamps, a lift, winch or straps, and that adapting a car for hand controls can cost up to 57% more.

The good news…

Some modifications could actually reduce your premium: adding parking sensors, for example, can reduce the chance of an accident while reversing (up to 13% lower premium).

Always tell your insurer about any modifications

Not informing your insurance company of any change which alters a car’s original factory specification can invalidate your policy, so always let them know. Insurers can think differently about what constitutes a modification and how it affects risk, so it’s best to check even small modifications with them.


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