Although we all enjoy adding that special “personal touch” to the items we own, be it a painting in our living rooms or a new ringtone on our smartphones, certain changes may result in more harm than good, at least from the perspective of your insurer, that is. New studies have shown that car insurers are likely to “red flag” customers who make changes to their vehicles without first consulting their insurance company. These changes, such as the addition of car window stickers, don’t have to be drastic. In fact, some of them are so subtle that most of us wouldn’t think twice before making them, let alone refraining from asking the permission of our insurer.
Take, for example, the issue of the roof rack. While this add-on poses little to no risk of physical damaging the car itself, insurers may consider this unexpected addition to the vehicle an “unauthorised” add-on which, in the worst of scenarios, could result in the cancelling of the insurance policy. The reasoning in this particular situation would likely be something along the lines of the fact that a roof add-on may, statistically, correlate with an increase in the number of car accidents. Because of this, car insurers may declare that your current insurance rate assumes a less high percent-change of car accident than that which corresponds to cars having bike racks. Therefore, an increase in the current insurance rate would be deemed necessary.
According to Matt Oliver, a representative from GoCompare.com, it’s important to assess whether or not changes have been made to your case during your own period of ownership as well as in situations where you have purchased your vehicle from a previous owner. Oliver states, ”If you’ve altered your car in any way since it left the factory or showroom, this can be deemed an after-market modification….The fact you didn’t make them might not be taken into account by your insurer”.
So, the moral of the story could, perhaps, be this. Although it sounds like a fun idea to “mod” out your vehicle with car window stickers of your favourite bands, a bike rack and brand new bucket seats, take the time to discuss these ideas with your insurance company before you commit to them, as you may discover that the long-term costs associated with such changes falls outside of your budget. If you do neglect these disclosures, you may discover that, in the unfortunate event of an accident, your insurance company refuses to follow through with their commitment to support you financially. For many of us, this could be prove to be a devastating financial blow.