Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 7, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Your Department of Motor Vehicles will require documents like a certificate of origin, statement of construction, and safety inspection report to register your customized vehicle.
  • Customized Parts and Equipment Coverage will provide protection for your modified parts that were not installed by the original manufacturer.
  • Many insurance companies will impose exclusions on the policy if you will be racing with your customized car or if you fail to report additional automobile modifications.

Auto insurance coverage for custom vehicles can be found all over the country, but what is vehicle modification? A customized vehicle is a vehicle that has been altered from the original state with aftermarket components for purposes of classic appearance or improved engine capabilities. The alterations come at a huge price, making the entire vehicle extremely valuable.

So, if you’ve incorporated a hydraulic suspension, a racing spoiler, a supercharger, and classic paintwork to your 1994 Honda Civic, your next question should be, “Where do I get the car insurance for my new machine?”

Auto insurance for custom vehicles will be higer than for non-custom cars due to the expensive components that are more attractive to thieves and vandals.

You can (and should) compare cheap modified car insurance quotes from various insurance providers to get the affordable auto insurance for custom vehicles.  Use our free comparison tool today to begin looking for auto insurance quotes for custom vehicles now.

If you’re interested in learning how to insure a modified car, read on. Let’s begin by taking you through the registration process since you’ll need it to acquire auto insurance. 

Table of Contents

Registering a Customized Vehicle

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or other motor vehicle registration agency appointed by the state will require the following documents as proof of ownership in order to register your customized car:

  • An application for registration or title
  • A statement of construction
  • Proof of vehicle’s safety inspection or vehicle verification
  • A certificate of origin

Many insurance companies will be hesitant to insure your modified vehicle due to the risk of theft associated with such cars and the expensive features that may cost a fortune to replace in case of an accident or theft.

Here are the auto modification types that affect the cost of insuring these vehicles:

  • Chrome bumpers
  • Vertical doors
  • Racing tires and chrome wheels
  • Hood ornaments
  • Auxiliary lighting (fog lights)
  • Front or rear spoilers
  • New stereo systems
  • Under-car accent lights

For information on insuring customized parts, read the section below. 

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Customized Parts and Equipment Coverage

The additional features listed above and other customized paintwork and encryptions can be quite costly and you don’t want to leave everything to chance.

Depending on the level of vehicle modification parts and enhancements you use on your car, the insurance rates could vary from one provider to another. Either way,  insuring a custom built car is important. Take your time to shop around and compare quotes online before settling on a policy.

Auto insurance companies will only cover the features included by the original manufacturer.

If you choose to add any modification like GPS, customized paintwork, or decorations on the sides, be sure to take out customized parts and equipment coverage to take care of your favorite additions in case of damage.

In some states, it may be a requirement to have a collision and comprehensive policy to get customized parts and equipment coverage. Average comprehensive policy rates by state can be found in the chart below.

Average Annual Comprehensive Auto Insurance Rates by State

StateAverage Annual Comprehensive Rates
Alabama$146.28
Alaska$141.08
Arizona$184.20
Arkansas$183.36
California$99.29
Colorado$158.34
Connecticut$126.02
Countrywide$138.87
Delaware$113.23
District of Columbia$230.25
Florida$110.12
Georgia$153.61
Hawaii$100.09
Idaho$110.78
Illinois$117.98
Indiana$115.02
Iowa$171.58
Kansas$230.65
Kentucky$130.15
Louisiana$208.59
Maine$96.66
Maryland$146.77
Massachusetts$128.92
Michigan$147.02
Minnesota$173.04
Mississippi$194.74
Missouri$166.34
Montana$199.87
Nebraska$206.24
Nevada$116.79
New Hampshire$103.03
New Jersey$123.18
New Mexico$166.89
New York$156.66
North Carolina$123.00
North Dakota$227.64
Ohio$112.74
Oklahoma$201.56
Oregon$89.66
Pennsylvania$132.01
Rhode Island$122.17
South Carolina$165.38
South Dakota$228.59
Tennessee$135.62
Texas$186.70
Utah$106.57
Vermont$118.31
Virginia$129.89
Washington$104.11
West Virginia$195.04
Wisconsin$126.34
Wyoming$222.86
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As you can see, comprehensive rates can differ greatly based on the state in which you live.

Collector Auto Insurance

Collector car insurance is an ideal solution for providing coverage to a wide range of vehicles including Brass Era Classics and the favorite Honda Civic.

Honda Civic, in particular, offers the perfect vehicle for modification and that’s why it tops the list of the most stolen car on U.S roads.

Collector car insurance offers savings amounting to over 43 percent and doesn’t have limits for the level of modifications you can do on your car or the mileage you can cover.

However, customized cars are critically underwritten and the insurance rates will be highly affected by the extent of use.

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Why People Perceive Finding Customized Auto Insurance to Be Difficult

If you’re wondering, “Is modified car insurance cheaper?” the answer will usually be “no.” However, there are good modified car insurance options out there.

There’s a common misconception about the class of people who modify their cars and the types of modifications people get. There’s a lot more to customized vehicles than what you see in the movies.

The majority of people customizing their cars simply do it as a hobby, driven by the passion for powerful engines, shining chrome wheels, and elaborate paint work.

Additionally, most people with customized vehicles love their cars and take good care of them. That’s a big plus for insurance firms, since that means the driver is less likely to be engaging in risky behavior behind the wheel.

Top class garaging, low mileage, and high-class maintenance schedules are common practices for these hobbyists. Since they’ve spent thousands of dollars customizing their favorite cars, they won’t risk losing it all through reckless driving. So, finding car insurance for modified cars is easier than you think. 

Insurance for modified car parts can be found. Custom parts and equipment coverage (CPE) covers permanently installed customized car modification parts and equipment, accessories, devices, enhancements, and other changes not fitted by the original manufacturer. CPE for car parts may be a good thing to have for your custom car. 

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How to Save on Insurance for Customized Cars

Speed, style, and flair are all important factors for customized car enthusiasts.

Some drivers have been known to drive at dangerous speeds to showcase their brand new cars with monstrous engine capacities. This can and has resulted in some bad accidents and other scary situations.

That’s why auto insurance for customized cars has been soaring high and some insurers prefer not to insure them at all. Custom car insurance can be hard to find in some cases. 

However, you don’t need to worry about getting some of the best insurance rates in the market for your customized car. The idea is to get as many online quotes for car modification insurance as you can and make comparisons.

Customized Auto Insurance Exclusions

It’s important to note that insurance for customized vehicles may have some exclusions. Here are the common exclusions that you should be aware of:

Racing Exclusions

Many auto insurance companies will impose exclusions for accidents that occur when you’re racing with your modified car. It doesn’t really matter whether the racing is legal or not.

Depending on your state, even test driving your customized car on a racetrack may lead to the insurance company declining a claim in case of an accident.

In some states, however, as long as the car is not actually participating in a race, insurers will not be allowed to deny coverage for accidents on the racetrack.

It simply means that you can enjoy cruising speeds on the racetrack and get covered as long as you’re not racing.

You need to review your policy terms and see if you’re covered for driving on a racetrack. It will depend on your insurance provider and the state laws.

Reporting Exclusions

Insurance firms will not honor claims if they discover that you made some modifications to your car and failed to report the changes. Any modifications that are not reported are considered illegal and will not be covered in case of an accident.

In special cases, the insurer may pay part of your claim but not pay for all the modifications you’ve made to the car. Some insurance companies will totally void your policy if they discover the undisclosed modifications.

You should always make sure that your insurer is notified of every modification you add to your customized car to ensure that you’ll get reimbursement in case of an accident or damage.

It may be tempting to keep quiet about something to avoid a premium increase, but you should be aware that you won’t be reimbursed for them.

The bottom line is to compare quotes from various insurance providers to get the best rates for collision, comprehensive, and customized parts and equipment coverage. Compare today and see how much you could save on car insurance.

What is a modification for auto insurance?

Modifications enhance your vehicle’s performance but may put you at risk for auto insurance rate increases of up to 10 percent more than a normal policy. Are you wondering, “Is my car modified?” Read on for more information. 

  • If you’ve made any major performance modifications to your vehicle, such as adding hydraulic suspension or a racing spoiler, your car may be considered a higher risk car to insure by auto insurance companies.
  • The addition of customized parts for a modified car makes any damage to the car more expensive to repair in relation to the car’s value.
  • If you have modified your car, you may need to think about additional car insurance coverage to supplement your basic policy.
  • If you’ve modified your car for the purpose of racing with it and get involved in a car crash, your insurance will likely not cover you for any racing activities.
  • If you don’t tell your auto insurance company about any modifications to your car and then are involved in an accident, you may be out of luck in terms of getting coverage for the value of the modifications.
  • Managing your auto insurance policy requires you to be responsible and sensible.

Having a modified car means that you probably did something specific to “soup it up.” It’s true that modified cars are typically more expensive to insure, just like a fancy sports car would be.

However, modified cars are different from exotic or luxury cars because they refer to alterations to the performance or appearance of the car. The parts added to the car are typically non-standard and can be very expensive to find and replace if there is damage to the car.

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Telling Your Auto Insurance Agent About Modifications to Your Car

It’s important to let your auto insurance agent know if you’ve modified your car in a significant way. Simply put, your failure to do so means that you might not be able to get coverage for the true value of your modified car in the event of an accident.

There are some things that insurance companies will simply refuse to cover. Any modifications that make the vehicle a non-legal car to drive on public roads will certainly not be covered by your insurance company.

Items such as wheelie bars or drag wheels are not typically covered under a private passenger automobile policy. Sport-type modifications, such as performance wheels and exhaust systems, can be covered under an auto insurance policy as long as you declare them.

Be sure to contact your insurer to make sure that your policy has coverage before you make any major modifications to the performance aspects of your car. It’s a good idea to make sure that you’ll be covered before you invest money in modifying your car.

If you already have modifications to your car, then you may want to consider increasing the policy limits for your collision and comprehensive coverage.

These types of policies are what protect you in the event that your car is damaged in an accident or from some other type of unfortunate incident. Even if you’re at fault for the accident, a collision policy will help you recover losses for physical damage to your modified car.

Pay close attention to the deductible that you pay for your collision and comprehensive coverage. For a modified car, the car insurance company may ask you to pay a higher deductible than you would expect for a traditional car.

This means that your out of pocket expenses for an auto body repair job are going to be a bit higher. If you’re unsatisfied with your deductible options, you can always shop around for better choices.

This is a good way to make sure that you’re getting enough coverage for a reasonable price. Because the cost of insuring a modified car is higher, it’s even more important to shop around for good premium estimates.

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Filing a Claim for a Modified Car

While you hope to never have an accident, it’s important to know how you would file a claim for an accident involving a modified car if you have modified vehicle insurance. 

The process of gathering information for your claim is very similar to that of a regular car, but you may need to provide extra documentation to the car insurance company concerning the value of the modifications to your car and reasonable estimates for the cost to repair.

When you’re trying to figure out what type of damage to your modified car may be covered under your auto insurance policy, you should consult the declarations page.

If you have properly reported all of the modifications to your car to your car insurance company, they will be expressly listed on the declarations page.

You may encounter some pushback from your car insurance company in terms of what is a reasonable estimate to repair the damage to your modified car.

While you’re not necessarily required to go to the auto body repair shop that performs the estimate on behalf of your car insurance company, they may not be willing to pay a higher amount if you get an estimate from an alternate auto body repair shop.

If the total damage to your modified car is very expensive and you’re having trouble getting a settlement from your auto insurance company, it may be worthwhile to consult an experienced lawyer.

This could help speed up the settlement negotiation process and show the insurer that you’re serious about recovering the full amount of damage to the modifications you reported when you took out your car insurance policy.

What if the auto insurance company will not insure me?

If an auto insurance company refuses to provide you coverage, this does not excuse you from your legal obligation to have coverage. Modified car insurance companies can be found!

As long as you’re going to drive your car on public roads, you need to make sure you are covered so that you don’t have to deal with expensive fines and other penalties.

You can reach out to your state insurance commissioner for a list of insurance companies in your state or other options for coverage.

If you’ve modified your car in a significant way, this will almost certainly affect the value of your car and the cost of repairing it after a crash. 

This is why you need to tell your auto insurance agent about major modifications when you’re signing up for car insurance. You may be wondering, “Does my insurance cover modified cars?” An agent from your insurance company can answer this question.

If you fail to disclose major modifications to your car to the insurance agent, then you could forfeit your right to recover damages to repair your car to the modified condition in the event of an accident.

Are you ready to buy car insurance for custom vehicles?

Compare and save on auto insurance rates for custom vehicles by entering your ZIP code below now to find which car insurance company for custom vehicles is right for you.

References:

    1. http://www.iii.org/article/insuring-your-classic-car

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