Modifying your vehicle may impact your insurance

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on March 27th, 2019

Looking to trick out your car to turn heads on the street?

If you’ve just got to have that rear spoiler or raised suspension, for example, you need to disclose those changes to your insurance company.

Whatever personal touch you want to bring to your wheels, there’s reasons why your insurer needs to know. Insurance companies consider several factors when insuring a vehicle. One that has been built in the factory of an automaker has already been tested to ensure it’s safe. Once you modify a vehicle the insurer needs to make sure it does not increase the risk of accident, affect its value or make it more likely to be stolen.  

Common modifications include: Dark-tinted windows, alloy wheels, upgraded stereo systems and specialized paint jobs. Putting a bike or ski rack on your car, won’t necessarily increase your premiums. But others, such as making a vehicle wheelchair accessible, could have an impact if it greatly increases the vehicle’s value or makes it more attractive to thieves to steal.

Some alterations may be illegal. In Ontario, for example, under-body lighting is not permitted. Be sure to check on the laws where you live because if you make illegal modifications, you could face fines or legal action. The Highway Traffic Act has regulations and standards regarding lighting and certain other vehicle parts and accessories for vehicles driven on public roads.

Even modifications you would expect to better the insurance risk of your vehicle, like an improved brake system, may still increase the cost of insurance.

For further information, you can consult a book titled Vehicle Modifications and the Law - Ontario Police Edition by Mathew John, a former Municipal Law Enforcement Officer with Toronto Police Services and the creator of the national anti-street racing program is available at both Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

The best advice? Speak with your broker or insurance agent. Remember, non-disclosure could be a reason for the cancellation of your policy or denial of a claim.

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