Technology invaded the car industry a long time ago, but many people are unaware of the insurance implications that go along with vehicle modifications. If something makes a car safer or harder to steal, then the car insurance companies are happy. On the other hand, some changes make a car more dangerous or enticing to would-be thieves. All of this can translate into lower or higher insurance premiums for you.
Driver Smartphone Apps and Black Boxes
You can download an app and sync it with your car’s computer system which then gathers information about your driving speeds and tendencies. If your score is in the safe zone, you can report this to your insurance company and apply for a lower insurance rate. Even things like road conditions, time and area of travel can be fitted into the analysis. For example, the less you drive after 11 pm the less likely you are to have an accident.
Another option is to have a recording system (or “black box”) fitted permanently onto your vehicle to gather safety data. Much of the info gathered is thanks to GPS tracking technology. Some systems even give you real time alerts when your driving behaviour falls outside of safe zones. Insurers have a variety of schemes they use which can include insurance rebates for safe driving practices.
Stolen Car Recovery Systems
Also based on GPS technology, your car is fitted with a tracking device. In the event that your car is stolen, the tracking company can locate your car instantly. Additionally, if someone tampers with your battery to try to trick the system, the company calls you right away. Insurers reward anti-theft devices with lower rates.
Tyre-Pressure Monitoring System
This fairly simple technology measures your tire pressure, and if it is too low you are alerted. Proper tyre pressure improves handling and decreases the chances of a blowout making your car insurer friendly.
These cameras help you see when you are reversing. Sometimes you might miss an object in your rearview mirrors, and this is where a camera can help reduce accidents. This is the latest technology which extends the “beeping” parking sensors which have been available front and rear for a few years now.
Blind-Spot Warning Detection
This feature can be a life saver. When something is in your car’s blind spot, a sensor is activated. That way you won’t ever move over into an occupied lane. A lower chance of crashes means lower car insurance rates.
Emergency Response Systems
These packages can vary. For example, some shut off the fuel line and unlock the doors if the airbags deploy. Others might alert an accident response centre if a collision is detected. Some cars even have a built in verbal communication system for any accident situation.
Car Modifications that Increase Insurance Costs
Some car modifications can do the exact opposite, that is, they can increase your insurance premiums. Anything that increases the risk of accident or risk of theft is likely to increase your insurance. Furthermore, if you modify your vehicle without notifying the insurance company, there is a good chance that any insurance claim will be rejected.
Here are some modifications that can increase your premiums:
- Turbo or supercharging
- Nitrous oxide injection
- Wheel changing – usually bigger
- Exterior or interior lighting changes
- Any engine alteration, as most are to enhance performance
- Bodywork such as bulging wheel arches or extravagant spoilers
- Interior roll bars or seat removal
- Changing seats, steering wheels or pedals
- Specialised paint jobs such as pinstriping
Modifications to Performance or Paintwork Can Increase Premiums
In general, it is best to consult with your car insurance company before modifying your vehicle in any way. Any change can have an impact, positive or negative, on the cost of your premiums. Before you get stuck in with modifications, it’s worthwhile using an insurance calculator to see how they will hypothetically affect your premiums upon renewing.
These days there are many ways that vehicle modification can affect your car’s safety and performance. In some cases, your car insurance sees this as favourable and will discount your insurance costs. Other modifications, however, increase risk and will increase your premiums or run the risk of claim rejection. Before installation, ask your insurer about the impact of any modification.