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Thinking of modifying your car? Be sure to run it by your insurer first

08 June 2022 - 13:02 By Motoring Staff
Extreme modifications that affect the safety of other road users, including radically-lowered suspension or over-sized wheels, could render your vehicle unroadworthy.
Extreme modifications that affect the safety of other road users, including radically-lowered suspension or over-sized wheels, could render your vehicle unroadworthy.
Image: bulgn / 123RF

Car customising is a must be many SA drivers, but before you hit the road with a free-flow exhaust, new body kit, low profile tyres and a set of custom rims, it's crucial that you tell your insurer — or else you might find yourself in a tight spot when it comes to claim time. 

Not all modifications are equal. Some may not affect your insurance premium much, such as a custom paint job or a set of alloy wheels, for example. Other add-ons, such as dash cameras and tracking devices, might even reduce your monthly premium. But anything that affects the performance of the car must be disclosed, says King Price Insurance’s client experience partner Wynand van Vuuren.

“There are plenty of after-market extras and modifications you can do to your car that are seen as extras, such as a high-end sound system, that increase the value of your car and must be included in your monthly premium. By the same token, anything you do that changes the performance of the car, such as an after-market turbo charger or dropping the suspension, will influence the risk and must be disclosed.”

And if you’re going to get extreme and install performance modifications, such as nitrous oxide cylinders, you won’t only make yourself uninsurable, but you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Modifications that affect the safety of other road users, including radically-lowered suspension or over-sized wheels, could render your vehicle unroadworthy.

“There’s a clear onus on you to inform your insurer of any modifications you make to your car as they may affect the risk and the premium payable. A simple rule of thumb is to tell your insurer about anything that didn’t come standard on the car, from wheels to sunroofs to new sound systems. That way, you’ll know what’s covered and what isn’t, if the worst happens.”

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