Car insurance - modded car and extras

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bayum, 16 Aug 2019.

  1. Bayum

    Bayum Established Member

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    I’ve ordered a new car for the end of September. It is a Mini Cooper with a sport body, Sat Nav and a bunch of other things. Some insurers are asking how the car has been modified, and one insurer went as far as to ask for individual components in the various packs I have. As such, my insurance rocketed from £500-£550 to £800+.
    I’ve asked on mini forums what the situation is, and they’ve suggested that the car hasn’t been modified because it’s a new build with those specifications. What gives? Who is right? Have you been asked to breakdown everything that’s part of V your car?
     
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  3. matt

    matt Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If it is a new car coming with those extras then it has not been modified
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I've actually had insurers say as much, which I found really odd! The deal seemed to be (!) that if it was a factory option it is not a modification, whereas a dealer option or a retrofit is.
     
  5. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    If they are asking about mods you must be telling them it has mods.

    No need, if its a factory option it is a standard vehicle.
     
  6. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    I think that’s the case. All those extras will be listed as built with the car.
    Try another insurance company, or wait until the car is registered before getting a quote maybe?
     
  7. Bayum

    Bayum Established Member

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    Factory option? Dealer option?
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    A factory option is an option that is fitted to the car at the factory (typically things like built-in satnav, upgraded seat, factory alloys etc). A dealer option is an option that is fitted by the dealer when the car has been delivered to them but before it gets to you (often things like mud flaps, though I doubt anyone ever bothers declaring those to insurance). Normally when you purchase options on a new car it explains which they are. If you didn't buy the car new, it's just a case of "good faith" - be honest of which you think is which or if you don't know.
     
  9. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Is this possibly down to the new tax rules ?

    If you cars 'list price' is over £40k the tax is higher. They may have details of each package and it's price to get the true 'list price'

    Of course it may also be down to the insurance companies finding new ways to screw us over.

    If my car was written off/stolen it would be pretty easy to declare it had the 360 cameras, upgraded sound system, illuminated tread plates, ambient lighting etc etc. Even with my well speced model there were a few extras that weren't standard. There is no real evidence of what has been fitted to my car. Do dealers pass on your spec to the insurance companies ?
     
  10. muz379

    muz379 Established Member

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    I guess an easy way for your insurer to ascertain any extras fitted would be to ask for a copy of the invoice which should include such things

    Even buying an approved used car as I have in the past dealers are happy to include any non standard options on the invoice .

    Although its purely academic because unless you have gap insurance or one of those policies which cover you for a brand new replacement for cars up-to 12 months old you are only going to get book value for the car anyway if stolen or written off .
     
  11. Bayum

    Bayum Established Member

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    Does anyone happen to know any insurers which give insurance based on modifications and the like? I've just been on the phone to 'Elephant' which is under the 'Admiral' umbrella, and they've told me that unless it is a brand new car WITHOUT any added extras, factory fitted or not, they identify them as 'modifications'. Unfortunately, that pushes my insurance to nearly £1000, a price I absolutely refuse to pay.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Pretty much all of them work thus:

    If it's a factory fitted option then it is NOT a modification (stuff like aircon, different lights).
    If it's a dealer fitted option (or aftermarket) then it IS a modification.

    (Though it's worth being honest with them, of course - don't try to hide it as you could end up without cover)

    I hadn't heard of Elephant being different, but if they are just avoid them specifically

    Edit: I did a bit of Googling and this link suggests that Admiral Group do consider any deviation from the standard spec a mod. Most insurers do not. So just avoid them!

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4917861
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's not academic because if they felt the mod caused you to be a higher risk they could refuse to pay out on the comprehensive/fire/theft part of the policy entirely, or only to make a pro-rata payout. They have to pay out the third party part by law, but can even sue you for the payout if they believe you tried to defraud them with a false declaration.
     
  14. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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  15. DelW

    DelW Member

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    It might be worth checking whether the Mini owners club (or similar) have a broker they recommend, or searching yourself for a broker who specialises in those models.

    Most of my recent cars have had factory-fitted options, and I've always declared them as "unmodified" - if the car is as it was when it left the factory, it's unmodified in my book. Equipment fitted on the production line is just part of the car, in the same way as your choice of engine or transmission.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It seems it's possibly only Admiral Group who don't recognise that - and I'm not surprised as they are a bunch of shysters. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
     
  17. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    At the other end of the scale, many classic policies include an agreed value - as the calculated book value that insurers typically use will be fully deprecated.

    A common "modification" on Fords of a certain age was the replacement of the crap carb fitted with an aftermarket fit which might not improve performance, but would mean it could actually be started. Still, it's not OE fit so needed to be marked on. However, I need not declare the factory fitted options of a radio, heated rear window and parcel shelf! How much research insurers would do into the standard features of a 1979 car, I do not know.
     
  18. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    With my old 1969 VW camper it would’ve been easier to list the things that hadn’t been modified. :lol:
     
  19. Condor7

    Condor7 Member

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    It’s something a lot seem to have stopped doing these days, but go to an insurance broker it’s a heck of a lot easier than trying on-line companies one after another especially when it’s not quite straight forward.
     
  20. DelW

    DelW Member

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    Slightly O/T here, but I still have the invoice for my parents' first car, a Morris Minor 1000 bought new in 1960, and the "optional extras" fitted were a heater and windscreen washer. Just as well that they don't count as "modifications" these days.
     
  21. PeterC

    PeterC Established Member

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    Of course it all falls apart when you buy second hand. Even when buying from a main dealer nobody has ever confirmed to me that the vehicle is or is not of factory spec.
     
  22. muz379

    muz379 Established Member

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    You completely missed the point I was making . Which is that declaring after the fact and then attempting to claim for any modifications is not possible anyway unless your policy covers new for old so how you would prove such factory fitted extras to an insurance company is academic and they wouldn't ask or alter their payout anyway ,because you will only get book value for the car . Even in a new for old situation , anything not on the invoice would not be paid out for / provided

    Anyhow , yes if an insurer did think that you have attempted to defraud them with a false declaration they may well attempt to refuse you a payout , keep any premiums paid and attempt to recover any money already paid out under the policy . But if their belief is not found to be reasonable they would be unsuccessful in such attempts to breach their obligations under the contract .

    The ABI has clear guidelines on this , and it would be unwise for an insurer to attempt to withhold a claim unless they had evidence which made it reasonable to believe there had been a fraudulent declaration . The ombudsman also applies the law in a reasonable way so wont just side with insurance companies unless they can demonstrate a strong case .

    Everyone thinks that insurers can just void policies at the drop of a hat . Simply an untrue urban myth that does the rounds far too often . There are things you can do to hold insurance companies to account .

    That is indeed the case with plenty of classic policies , but they also generally cover much more limited mileage than every day use cars . And it is understandable why they employ an agreed value principle . With more valuable stuff they can even insist on conditions reports etc as this can effect the value of a claim massively . There are lots of difficulties with insuring classics and it would not be a business for the faint hearted .
     
  23. malc-c

    malc-c Member

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    I guess that a lot of insurers just look at the fact it's not a standard model, and the modifications effectively customise the car. In their eyes it doesn't matter if the £1000 alloy wheels were fitted as an option by the factory, or by a third party company. It still increases the value and makes the car more desirable as a target for theft.

    I've always found Hastings Direct good for insurance - been with them for years. I drive around in a 20 year old Volvo V70 which has a factory fitted winter kit (just heated rear seats, but a factory fit option from new) - Never resulted in a change in premiums. May be worth giving them a call
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I do agree that this makes sense, but Admiral Group seems to be the only major insurer that actually does it.

    What I don't get is why modifications (of any kind) are seen as a massive issue rather than accurately assessing the additional risk (or reduced risk[1]) each one poses. So rather than saying "do you have modifications", why doesn't it ask "Do you have alloy wheels / a sunroof / mudflaps / whatever" with a load of checkboxes?

    [1] Won't be common, but things like a towbar on a nice car might reduce the value a bit.
     
  25. krus_aragon

    krus_aragon Established Member

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    I once bought a car that had aftermarket alloy wheels fitted. I only discovered this when I had the car jacked up and found a third party's name on the inside of the wheel rims.

    When I called my insurer (to tell them I "wasn't sure" if they were aftermarket or not), they asked me to contact the previous owner to ask them if they'd fitted them or not. I pointed out that, as I was the seventh owner of the vehicle, there was no guarantee that any modification was done by the sixth. And would I be able to get hold of the fifth, fourth, third, etc, owners? The callcentre worker wasn't able to give a good answer to that, and just made a note on my account that I'd informed them of the issue (so my back was covered in the case of a claim).

    My problem was that the alloy rims were much wider than the originals, and if two adults sat in the back then the tyres rubbed against the wheel arches! I bought a set of steel rims taken from a similar model, and fitted them instead. The money from selling the alloys covered the cost of the steel rims, as well as the torque wrench I used to swap them over. :)

    I then had to persuade the insurer's call centre that I'd obtained some original factory spec wheels and that the car was fully back to standard. :rolleyes:
     
  26. malc-c

    malc-c Member

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    The only time I've had friends say their insurance had been reduced were for things like tracking systems installed or upgraded alarm systems (Thackam seems to be the one all insurance companies ask about). When I've shopped around in the past all companies ask if the car has been modified in any way, specifically the fitting of alloy wheels, engine modifications or upgrades, or if audio equipment that wasn't "standard". It's as if they all read the same queue cards :)

    I guess that they have to asses the risk, and how much the extras increase the value of the car and how desirable it is to thieves, or if any increase in performance has a higher probability of you having an accident or breaking the law (such as speeding or the possibility that the car could get written off as a result of a speed / manor of driving related accident). Some companies may see the adding of a rear spoiler as cosmetic, others as functional accessory to reduce drag and increase the cars performance...

    Just keep phoning around until you get offered a policy that you are happy with, or decide if some of the "extras's" are worth having if they double the cost of the premium from every insurer you get a quote from
     
  27. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    The mod enabled it to be started ..... that sounds dangerous, no wonder they upped the premium.
     
  28. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    That is not the way insurance companies think. Anyway, if you need spoilers to exceed the national speed limit ............ er, what the heck are you driving, a 1950's Ford Popular?

    They go on three things, in order of importance :-
    1) How much money they can get/talk out of you (adding spoilers/alloys shows you have money to spare)
    2) What type of person you are (spoilers don't mean you can go faster, it means you act the boy-racer)
    3) The value if stolen (spoilers etc will reduce sale value - watch second hand dealers, they remove stuff like that - but insurers don't allow for the reduction of course).

    But (1) trumps it all.
     
  29. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    The majority of cars have alloys anyway, and most of them are only available from factory if you have a certain spec level.
    For example the alloys on a 09 Volvo V50 R-design, are only available on the R-design spec level.
    And you have to declare the exact model of car you have when buying the car, so actually just asking for modifications makes more sense
     
  30. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    So why did you waste a phone call to the insurers? The car was now factory standard.

    Really, you guys are making too much fuss about this. For the vast majority of minor claims like dents, wing replacements etc, no-one is going to put your car on a dynamometer to measure the engine power, or bother if it has alloy wheels (the default these days). The insurance company is highly unlikely even to see it, only the repair shop does and they will just want to get on with the job, not have it hanging around their premises with a dispute going on.

    Where does it stop? Do we need to tell the insurers if we replace the tyres with a differnt make from the factory ones? In fact different makes of tyre can make a much bigger difference to the car's handling than spoilers or alloys (which make no difference at all).

    If the crash is more serious then courts will be involved and no court is going to let an insurance company off the hook after a motorway pile-up just because you had steel wheels instead of alloy (I did that too) or vice-versa.
     
  31. krus_aragon

    krus_aragon Established Member

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    Because I'd previously told them that it might not be factory standard.

    And why did I previously waste a phone call to them? To try to make sure they couldn't decide to disqualify my insurance if I had an accident in the meantime.

    I'd agree completely if both were options offered by the manufacturer. But I'd discovered that my wheels were not a factory option, and moreover didn't fit my car properly (though I didn't feel the need to mention that bit on the phone). In this case, I didn't want to risk it.
     

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