Car insurance agreements will be axed without warning if you have an accident while your car is in a different condition from how it was purchased. Invalidated cover means motorists will be forced to pay for their own car repair bills which could be expensive with costly upgrades installed.
This includes a simple colour scheme change as this is still classified as a vehicle upgrade. Colour schemes can be changed through traditional spray painting or through a vehicle wrap, which covers the car in a special film with different colour designs. Duncan Richards, spokesperson for Autoshine and Tinting said: “Because it’s a modification you do need to tell the car insurance company.”
Wraps are commonly used by companies to put advertising on the side of a vehicle but can be purchased by ordinary road users as well.
Wraps can introduce cool effects such as a matte finish or decals to the side of a car without damaging the original paintwork underneath. The designs can be easily replaced or removed completely before a car is sold to return a vehicle to its original condition.
According to 3M, a professional vehicle wrapping service can cost anything from £1,800 or a basic cover to £5,000 for executive and bespoke designs. Because of their high value and sleek appearance, wraps could make your car a high target for thieves. Car insurance providers must be informed of the changes because your overall car insurance premiums are likely to increase by having the designs. Failing to inform the insurance company may mean you have not paid the accurate price for cover and insurers could refuse to pay out for repairs altogether.
However, some car insurance firms may still not cover a car with a vehicle wrap which may force motorists to abandon a policy and go to a specialist agency for the correct agreement. Mr Richards said: “We find a lot of companies don’t even know what a wrap is but there are specialist ones out there. He added: “We’ve had customers say, my current insurer won’t insure it, they’ve cancelled my policy. We’ve had others who haven’t even charged extra for so each insurance company is just different.”
According to Jardine Motors Group, specialised paintwork such as wraps could increase car insurance prices by 15 percent. Car modification firm Reforma also recommends checking with an insurer when you are considering a wrap to see if policies will be affected. Reforma also confirmed motorists will need to inform the DVLA of a colour change so a vehicle’s V5C certificate can be updated.
According to MoneySupermarket, a modification is simply anything that makes the car different to how it was originally manufactured. Cosmetic modifications road users must inform their car insurance provider of include the addition of car stickers or props. Although these will increase the cost of your premiums, larger performance upgrades such as a new turbo could see costs rise by over 130 percent. This is because not only is the increased risk of theft taken into account but also the added risk of having a car crash with the extra speed. Motorists are urged to always contact their car insurance provider first before getting any upgrades installed.
It is always advisable to find out how much your insurance could increase before being caught out with added charges.