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Old 12th October 2019
Keith-369 Keith-369 is offline
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Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

This has been copy pasted directly from our local free newspaper web site.

I just wondered if anyone else has heard of this. Sorry it's a bit long but I did not want to shorten it. -


STICKERS displaying allegiance to sports teams or political opinions could void your car insurance, an investigation has revealed.

Even paint protection products, commonly sold to new car buyers, pose the risk of invalidating a motor policy if not reported to the insurer, investigators discovered.

While every motorist knows that accruing penalty points or buying a car with a more powerful engine are likely to increase their premiums, insurers are more prescriptive than many drivers realise.

The issue is what counts as a 'modification' to the car - and investigators from Auto Express magazine found some surprising examples.

While paint protection may not seem to pose any additional risk to the insured vehicle, it may count as a 'modification' by some insurers.. This means not declaring it is a breach of some policies, with some insurers demanding to know absolutely any deviation from a car’s standard specification.

While some additions to your car are obvious candidates for telling your insurer about, many motorists will be surprised by the strict definition of modification, and how even a sticker in the back window could void your policy" - Hugo Griffiths, Auto Express Consumer Editor

In the case of stickers, advertising allegiance to a sports team or a political viewpoint may raise the threat of vandalism to the vehicle - with the insurer unaware of the increased risk if the stickers are not declared.

Even official factory-fitted options can be classed by cautious insurers as 'non-standard' if they increase a car’s “value, performance or attractiveness to thieves".

The magazine teamed up with the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) and Ageas insurance to shed light on the thorny issue of what constitutes a modification, with BIBA’s research revealing that some firms subscribe to a definition that classes all optional extras as modifications that must be reported to the insurer.

Hugo Griffiths, Auto Express Consumer Editor, said: "While some additions to your car are obvious candidates for telling your insurer about, many motorists will be surprised by the strict definition of modification, and how even a sticker in the back window could void your policy.

"BIBA’s work and our investigation revealed, that there are two definitions of a modification available to insurance firms.

"While one considers a car unmodified as long as it is unchanged from the state in which it left the factory, another stipulates that factory-fit options could make a car modified.

"Failing to declare something as humble as paint protection film or different alloy wheels could void a policy entirely, potentially costing thousands in the event of an incident, and even putting motorists at risk of a £300 fine and 6 penalty points.

"And, in the case of potentially controversial messages on stickers, it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself, or be prepared to share them with your insurer."
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Old 12th October 2019
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Naughty Nigel Naughty Nigel is offline
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

This isn't new but is well worth flagging up.

One of the most common is 'de-badging' a car because it is seen as an invitation to others to race.

I doubt that most insurers would be bothered for a bump in a traffic queue, but if an incident involves personal injury and is likely to cost a lot of money they are keen to find reasons to repudiate claims.

It also worth mentioning that most insurers now void any cover if a driver was under the influence of drink or drugs at the time of an incident. Whilst this seems fair enough it could put the third party in a difficult position. Likewise undeclared or even unknown medical conditions that affect ability to drive.
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Old 12th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

I’d argue that any car you see with loud exhausts is illegal, they contravene construction and use regs. If the insurance company doesn’t know and approve the mods then once again, illegal. Same goes for engine mods, suspension mods, bodywork mods, wheel mods. All contravene construction and use. As to whether anything would be done? Unlikely, sadly. Personally I’d hang the noisy sods roaring about with their nob compensator cars! Just saying.
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Old 12th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

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I’d argue that any car you see with loud exhausts is illegal, they contravene construction and use regs. If the insurance company doesn’t know and approve the mods then once again, illegal. Same goes for engine mods, suspension mods, bodywork mods, wheel mods. All contravene construction and use. As to whether anything would be done? Unlikely, sadly. Personally I’d hang the noisy sods roaring about with their nob compensator cars! Just saying.
Can't argue with that, Tim. And they are modifications which [B]need to be notified ........ but paint protection prior to purchase or a sticker on the rear window, well !
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

Stickers blocking your view in say the rear window then yes I agree can be dangerous if overdone. That said many new car dealers actually put a sticker in the back window when they sell the car. So are they immediately making the car insurance void?

Paint protection surely is a step too far. How on earth can that be seen as modification that would void your insurance. (Except if you try to claim for paint damage of course).
If you follow that thinking then isn't taking the car out in the rain and getting it wet a modification. If you wash it is that a modification?

Some insurers will do anything to avoid paying out.
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

A very interesting article and no doubt factual although this is not the first time this has been raised online. The information contained regarding the various possibilities and definitions of "modification" are also valid.

It would however be interesting to determine just how many instances exist where insurance companies have evaded liability by invoking the "modified" clause when it relates to such minor things as window stickers. Also of interest would be to know if the attempted evasion of liability has ever been challenged, and a precedent set, in a court of law. Without this additional information the article could be classed as simply scaremongering.

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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

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Can't argue with that, Tim. And they are modifications which [B]need to be notified ........ but paint protection prior to purchase or a sticker on the rear window, well !
No, I agree that is taking the mick. Such insurers need to be called out and ideally boycotted. All just sounds like the ‘any excuse’ bullsh1t that seems prevalent nowadays. Presumably caused by punters taking advantage , so the rest of us end up paying the price and worse off.
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

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Some insurers will do anything to avoid paying out.
This is the real problem, probably exacerbated by people making fraudulent and frivolous claims.
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

When I was younger I fitted a straight through “silencer” and they tried to prosecute me for having a defective exhaust, which was a RTA infringement.

I argued the summons, so they dropped the charge and fined me £7 under the Vehicle Use and Construction Regulations...
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

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When I was younger I fitted a straight through “silencer” and they tried to prosecute me for having a defective exhaust, which was a RTA infringement.

I argued the summons, so they dropped the charge and fined me £7 under the Vehicle Use and Construction Regulations...
That’s the one. I wish they’d enforce it now, sick of having quiet afternoons in the garden spoilt by the selfish tw@s
Yes, we’ve all done it on bikes but it wasn’t in the same league then.
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

I seem to recall that Porsche 911 Sport models had a switch on the dashboard to make the exhaust straight through and the noise they made was amazing.
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

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I wish they’d enforce it now
So who are the 'they' who are going to enforce it, then?

Jim
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

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So who are the 'they' who are going to enforce it, then?

Jim
I’m thinking the same people that manage to enforce things like speed limits, it would certainly improve far more people’s quality of life if they did.
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

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I’m thinking the same people that manage to enforce things like speed limits, it would certainly improve far more people’s quality of life if they did.
What, traffic cameras? Perhaps have microphones on them?

Jim
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Old 13th October 2019
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Re: Car modifications - is it or isn't it?

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What, traffic cameras? Perhaps have microphones on them?

Jim
...or the police perhaps?
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