A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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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, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2021

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Important facts to know...

  • High-performance vehicles are in a different category than traditional cars
  • Modifications that you make to your vehicle could raise your insurance premiums
  • Shop and compare companies to find the best deal for high-performance vehicle coverage
  • Contact your insurer when you modify your vehicle

Insurance companies define high-performance vehicles as any vehicle that is considered a faster than normal vehicles such as sports cars that have been “souped up” to include things such as turbo engines or other enhancements.

This title may also belong to any types of trucks or cars that perform at a higher-than-average level and that pose a higher risk than normal cars do.

Car insurance companies assess high-performance vehicles and they may call your vehicle a high-performance car if you have added any extras that create more power or turbo that increases the risk of your car on the road.

Sometimes vehicles in this category are just called performance vehicles. This classification applies to the speed factor that is usually present in these cars.

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Statistics About High-Performance Vehicles

You may wonder how insurance companies decide on whether something is a high-performance vehicle or not. They rely primarily on actuaries and statistics.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that, between the years of 1998-2001, there were 149,568 fatalities.

They also reported that speed was a factor in 31 percent of all traffic fatalities. Many of these fatalities were due to the use of high-performance vehicles.

High-performance vehicles are six times more likely to speed faster than the average 65 mph.

This statistic is true probably because people who “soup up” their cars to the status of a “high-performance” vehicle are more likely to use it in non-traditional ways that involve increased speeds and higher levels of risk.

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What makes a car a high-performance vehicle?

Many people wonder what criteria insurance companies use to decide is a car is a high-performance vehicle. The following criteria are often used to decide this.

  • Engine handling – One of the characteristics of high-performance vehicles is the fact that they handle differently than ordinary cars.  When you add turbochargers or other components to your regular car, you may increase the danger of handling your car in some normal situations and circumstances.
  • Engine speed – The speed of your engine is increased also when you install a turbo booster or other element. Car insurance companies take all of this into account when giving your vehicle a high-performance rating.
  • Vehicle safety ratings – Another criterion that insurance companies use to determine this label is the safety ratings of your vehicle. They will often look at the safety ratings that the car normally has, then they will add in the modifications that you have made to the car and factor that in.

About Modifications for Standard Cars

One factor in your insurance premiums is whether your car has been modified in any way. When you make any modifications to your car, you are required to call your insurance company and report the modifications since it could change your premium rate.

Failure to contact your insurer when you have made modifications to your vehicle is considered a type of insurance fraud because the policy you have on record does not accurately reflect your vehicle if you make changes.

It may not be considered as serious as deliberate attempts to commit insurance fraud. But it does fall under the category of fraud.

Your insurance company needs to know when you make changes to your vehicle and they may even want to come inspect your vehicle to see if it qualifies as a “high-performance” vehicle.

Tips on Finding Insurance for Your High-Performance Vehicle

If you are trying to find the best insurance for your high-performance or modified vehicle, you should consider the following tips when shopping for insurance.

  • Consider the safety factor.
  • Do the changes affect the risk of accidents in any way?
  • Do you plan to race your vehicle even once in awhile?
  • Learn the criteria different companies use to decide on premium rates.

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Is it worth it?

Lastly, you should consider whether making the changes to upgrade or modify your vehicle are worth it or not. If you make changes that increase your premiums, what are you getting out of this deal?

You have to make the decision based on whether an increase in premiums is worth what you hope to get out of the changes that you make.

One idea is to have a separate insurance policy such as a temporary policy for your second car that is considered a high-performance vehicle. This way, you only have to pay premiums once per year or so, while your regular insurance stays as it is at the lower premium.

This temporary policy idea will not work if you drive your high-performance vehicle on a regular basis.

In the final analysis, you must do some research to see which option is best for you. Consider how much you drive your vehicle and then shop and compare to save as much money as you can on your vehicle insurance.

If you must make modifications, consider some of these more practical adjustments that seek to make your car more efficient, but not more dangerous to drive.

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