Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Mar 10, 2019

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Important facts to know...

  • Custom cars, sometimes called modified cars, are vehicles that have been altered or modified from their original state
  • These types of custom vehicles can have both physical and superficial modifications, both of which can be expensive to add to the car and even more expensive to cover
  • Purchasing insurance for a custom car may have different conditions and stipulations from the insurance provider
  • Part of the reason these policies are so expensive is that the drivers of these vehicles often engage in riskier behaviors
  • The other reason these policies can be so expensive is that the parts to customize these vehicles can cost more than the vehicle itself

When you have customized or modified your car, finding insurance coverage to adequately protect your vehicle from the risks it’s exposed to may be difficult.

Customized vehicles are often a composition of a traditional vehicle and specific, unique, and usually expensive parts.

When searching for coverage, many things can affect your options, such as:

  • the state you reside in
  • the company you’re attempting to get coverage through
  • modifications you’ve made

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the right coverage for your needs.

What is a customized or modified car?

A custom car is different from many other types of unique cars, such as luxury, classic, and antique vehicles. Custom cars are vehicles that have been enhanced, modified, or otherwise altered to change their performance, appearance, or both.

These modifications often occur after the car has been purchased and are referred to as aftermarket upgrades.

There are multiple types of modifications that can be made on a vehicle, including:

  • chrome bumpers
  • wheels
  • racing tires
  • vertical doors
  • front and rear spoilers
  • accent lighting
  • enhanced stereo equipment
  • hood ornaments

These improvements can be quite costly, and the insurance necessary to protect these parts can cost even more.

When you have a custom car, you may encounter difficulties finding a car insurance provider that is willing to cover the vehicle.

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How do you properly cover a custom car?

Traditional car insurance policies may carry coverage for some customized parts, normally under the comprehensive coverage of the policy. However, true equipment coverage may need to be added to your policy if you want any modifications to be covered.

Some insurance companies may offer specific riders for your coverage, such as a custom parts rider, but you will need to confirm they offer this protection.

In some instances, customized or modified vehicles can qualify for other types of insurance coverage if the modifications you have performed qualify your vehicle as a collector car.

Your insurance provider will have to make a determination if your vehicle qualifies, and if so, what the conditions of your coverage are.

What should you remember about custom car insurance?

One of the biggest things to remember about custom or modified vehicles is that there are often exclusions on what can be covered. Some of the exclusions that apply to these types of vehicles can include racing exclusions and reporting exclusions.

A racing exclusion is when your insurance provider denies coverage due to an accident that occurs during a race regardless of the legality of the race.

A reporting exclusion can mean two things in the case of a custom car.

  1. It can mean that the claim is denied because the time between the incident and the actual reporting of the claim was too long.
  2. It can mean that your modifications or alterations were not reported to your provider, which means they may not cover them if lost.

It’s important to remember that illegal modifications are never covered by insurance carriers. Additionally, if you have not reported your modifications, your claim may be partially settled, but your modifications may not be covered in the settlement.

Some insurance carriers retain the right to void or cancel your insurance policy for failing to disclose modifications that have occurred.

Conclusion

Custom cars are exposed to the same types of risks that traditional vehicles are, but they also face risks that are unique to customized or modified vehicles. These unique risks can expose the car’s owner to even greater losses than traditional car owners face.

Although the purchase price of the car itself is not necessarily a high cost, the parts that have been added to the car are often where the additional expense is found.

While you are shopping around for coverage for your custom car, it’s important to know what your policy will provide coverage for, including any limits and exclusions listed.

There are sometimes conditions that must be met for your coverage to stay intact, which can include installing anti-theft devices or garaging your car in a secured location.

A custom car can face increased risks from those looking to steal or vandalize a car, especially with the amount of physical or superficial modifications that may be in place.

Finding ways to reduce your risk exposure to these losses can help reduce the costs associated with covering your car. Make sure to speak to your current or potential provider about discounts you qualify for, or things you can do to decrease your risk.

Compare car insurance quotes right now by using our free rate comparison tool.