“It’s A Bit Modified, Mate”

January 4th, 2018

You can hear it in the voices of car owners whose attempts to complete an on-line quote have been foiled by an ominous message popping onto the screen. Usually it will read something like; ‘Vehicle Does Not Meet Underwriting Requirements, Please Contact Insurer’ and translate into ‘We Don’t Want Your Hot-Rod Here’.

If the company you contact next about insuring your Modified vehicle is Enthusiast, there really is no cause for nerves. We know a lot about Modified cars, some of our staff have owned and built them and we know what it takes to insure them.

So why do other insurers shy away from modified cars? Some believe that the people who own modified vehicles are more likely to have crashes and make claims. Enthusiast looks at every driver’s history objectively and quite separately from the type of car they drive.

Modified cars are more attractive to thieves? Possibly true, but where there is heightened risk due to modifications, Enthusiast will ask for added security devices, ranging from simple immobilisers to monitored tracking devices.

The values of modified vehicles can be difficult to determine but that is why Enthusiast employs experienced staff who can draw upon decades of collective experience to realistically price almost any modified model.

Then comes the question of; “Is it Legal?” Any insurer is going to require car owners to confirm that all modifications made to their vehicle comply with relevant laws. Meeting this requirement is entirely in the hands of car owners and all that Enthusiast’s Customer Service staff can do is remind them of that responsibility.

Every State and Territory registration authority administers laws which apply to vehicles registered there. Buying a car from interstate means the owner needs a roadworthy issued in the state where it will be registered. That can possibly entail obtaining additional engineering approvals.

Some ‘modifications’ may involve fitting parts that were optional on your particular vehicle when it was new. At Enthusiast we quite commonly see engine upgrades where six-cylinder motors are replaced by a V8 from the same model, replacement of drum brakes with discs and interior alterations.

Swapping bench seats for separate ‘buckets’ and adding seat belts are changes that can only be undertaken with an engineering approval. Seat mounts are considered to be structural and must be approved, likewise seat belt mounting points where none were supplied when the vehicle was built.

Some older two-door cars were fitted only with lap seat belts or had sash belts with the top mounting point in a dangerous position. These will need to be replaced in some States before the vehicle is registered. Some places even require installation of child seat attachment points, even though the car owner doesn’t want them.

Alterations to emission control equipment are an area where even experts disagree on what changes are permissible. Owners might also find that ‘smog’ equipment fitted and required overseas doesn’t meet local laws so advice from a specialist is essential if you have concerns.

Tyres are the one component of a modified car that cannot be covered by insurance. However the wrong tyres or rim/tyre combination could prevent you from obtaining any cover at all. Some registration authorities specify maximum rim diameters and widths for particular vehicles and a maximum difference in rim width front to rear. Breaching these rules renders the vehicle unroadworthy and breaches the conditions of your Motor policy.

2 Responses to ““It’s A Bit Modified, Mate””

  1. Sana says:

    Informative!

Leave a Reply