Does lowering your car affect your insurance?

Car modifications impact auto insurance rates because they affect the car's value and safety rating. Some states fine you $1,000 or more for illegal modifications.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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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 and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Vehicle modifications are popular among vehicle enthusiasts and collectors
  • Modifications are not all legal and many are not covered by insurance
  • Check with your insurance company before making changes to your vehicle to avoid an increase in premiums
  • Some insurance companies will not pay a claim if you have vehicle modifications that they were unaware of

Some people like to make adjustments and modifications to their vehicle to create a sportier look or give it more power.

Some people add various elements such as turbochargers and other features like suspension lift or lowering kits to improve the appearance of their truck or car. Whatever the reason, modifications are changes that you make to your vehicle.

While many truck and classic car enthusiasts enjoy making these changes and alterations to their vehicles, it is important to remember that changes make your car different in some way.

This change must be reported to your insurance company immediately after you have made the change.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best rate for your specific situation.

Why does an insurance company care what I do with my vehicle?

You may wonder why a car insurance company cares what you do with your vehicle. Why should they care if you change the appearance or add on something as long as you are driving safely on the road?

Insurance companies want to know about vehicle modifications because it can change the way it drives and can even be dangerous in some cases.

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Unlawful Modifications

If you are planning to use a lowering kit or make some alterations to your car, you should keep in mind some of the unlawful modifications that are listed below.

  • Tinting windows – Window tinting beyond state specified limits is against the law because of the danger it poses to drivers as well as police officers when they are on a routine stop. You may have trouble seeing out of the car, and police officers cannot see if the driver has a gun or make a judgment on their mental state or physical condition when they approach a car.
  • Muffler removal – Removing the muffler also creates a danger because the exhaust system does not flow correctly and can create a human hazard or inhibit the performance of your vehicle.
  • Lowering or raising vehicles – The lowering or raising of vehicles beyond the limits of the law is an unlawful modification because it can cause problems with your vehicle clearing part of the roadway as you travel or causing you to run over objects that are in the road, causing damage to your vehicle.
  • Neon or strobe lights – The addition of neon or strobe lights in the back or front of a vehicle is prohibited in most states. They can cause a driver either in the front or back of you to become blind-sided while driving toward or behind you, creating a potential accident.


What does a turbocharger do?

Installing turbochargers is very popular among truck owners, especially young men who want to spruce up their truck to increase the speed or agility of their engines.

These modifications are not lawful in all states, so you need to get familiar with the laws in your state on this matter.

For those where turbochargers are allowed, just remember that, once you make this modification, your car will be considered a high-performance car.

This categorization puts your car into the same category as sports cars and other supercharged engine vehicles. So you will be required to inform your insurance company about this change.

When you do contact your insurer about this modification, you will likely see your insurance rates increase because your vehicle is now capable of going much faster with minimal effort, thereby increasing your chances of an accident.

Be careful with lowering modifications. Make sure you know the laws in your state so you don’t make an illegal change to your car.

What will happen if I am caught with the modifications on the street?

It is possible to go for a long time without anyone realizing that you have illegal modifications. Police officers may not notice your lowered truck bed until they are traveling behind you and they pull you over.

If you are stopped for using a lowering kit, you may have to pay a penalty for having an illegal modification. Once this penalty is on record, your insurance company may increase your premiums as a result of the violation.

It is important to inform your insurance company of any change that you make to your vehicle since they all have the potential to increase your risk of an accident and drive your premiums up.

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Do you pass the road test?

The question of whether or not a modification is legal will depend upon the laws in your state of residence. Know the regulations in your state and how such modifications and changes may affect your insurance rates.

Many people who enjoy fixing up their cars end up buying a second vehicle to make the changes to without making it “road-friendly.”

Instead, they choose to drive these vehicles on their private land or property or use them on a drag strip or race track. This is the better option if you want to apply some of the modifications discussed in this article.

That way, you don’t risk breaking the law or causing an accident due to the change the modifications make to your mechanical system.

If you cannot afford to get a second vehicle to make the changes you want, you may want to forget the idea of vehicle modifications altogether.

The risk is too great when you start making changes to your car, and you risk getting citations and increasing your car insurance premiums.

The best idea is to keep your car the way it is and make sure it can pass all of the tests that are required in your state. Staying safe on the road is the ultimate goal.

Comparison Shop at Least Once a Year

If you keep your driving record clean and avoid citations, your premiums should be reasonable. If they are not, trying shopping and comparing other companies and policies to see which one offer you the best deal.

Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool below to find the best deal on car insurance.

Only by looking into your options will you find what you need to feel secure when you are on the road.

Staying safe and keeping your car in good shape should be your number one priority.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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