How safety modifications might increase your car insurance
There are some pretty terrifying statistics out there when it comes to road accidents, so you might be forgiven for thinking that your insurance company would want to help you out if you take steps to make your vehicle that bit safer on the road. Unfortunately, you may find that rather than rewarding you, your insurer views your safety improvement as a modification, and you’re labelled as a boy (or girl) racer.
While you’re probably not looking to turn your family runabout into a hot hatch, Money Supermarket has had a quick look at some of the most expensive alterations you can make to your car. We’re not talking about fitting your car with a turbo engine (that’ll add 132% to your policy), but rather the sort of upgrades you might be offered by a keen mechanic.You might be considering fitting a new set of brakes. After all, no matter how fast or slow you drive, your car is only as good as its brakes. You need to trust your car’s brakes to stop you or slow you down in a controlled way, and a great way is to upgrade them. Beware though – that’s a 36% increase on your policy.Your exhaust allows gasses out of your car’s workings, keeping pressure down, and allowing air and fuel into the car’s engine more efficiently. Unfortunately, it’s also quite common to need a replacement if the pipes rust or get damaged, and you may be tempted to purchase a lighter weight replacement, which could improve your car’s performance. You might want to reconsider though, when you find out that some models of aftermarket exhaust will add 26% to your premium.When your car came out of the factory, its suspension was probably perfectly in tune with your car, but just like with us humans, day to day life does cruel things to an ageing car’s suspension! You’ll get better handling with new replacement springs or shock absorbers, but choose the sporty ones, and prepare for a 25% rise in your insurance price.
It’s not all bad though. There are some modifications you can make to your car which might actually bring your premiums down. Adding parking sensors means an average 13% reduction in premiums, since you’re a bit more unlikely to reverse into walls, trees or other cars. Caravan owners report that adding a tow bar can take as much as 20% off your premiums.
Popular amongst younger drivers are telematics boxes. This little black box is installed in your car to monitor your driving. Its data is fed back to your insurer, who will monitor your driving and adjust your premium accordingly. Drive well and get a discount, usually around £89 per year. If you don’t mind trading in your privacy to save yourself money, it’s a good option.
Whichever route you go down, remember that all modifications must be reported to your insurer so that your policy can be updated. Failure to do so can mean that your policy is invalid, and no amount of safe driving can make up for that.