Modified Car Insurance In NZ: What Are My Options?

Date Jan 25, 2022
Blog category Car Insurance
By Staff writer
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When it comes to keeping a car insurance policy, drivers are expected to have their own share of the responsibility. One aspect of this is with regards to modifications done, whether they’re add-on parts or complete replacements for an existing component. Unfortunately, most policies don’t cover these modifications, requiring you to look for modified car insurance in NZ.

As such, it is important to understand how these modifications will affect your insurance prospects and where to start your search for the best policy.

How will adding modifications influence my insurance policy?

The most immediate change to your insurance when it comes to modded cars is the cost. Should you find an insurer willing to cover your vehicle, expect your price to go up the more expensive the modifications are (provided they are legal). Aside from this, other effects include:

  • Increased chance of theft - All those shiny additions could result in the car becoming more prone to being stolen, especially for thieves looking to make money by selling certain enhancement parts from the car.
  • Increases the risk of accidents - Experimenting with different fuel mixes, lightening the materials on certain panels, or even getting a shinier, glossier, paint job could lead to an increased risk for an accident.
  • Increases the value of the vehicle - Adding modifications to the vehicle could cause it to increase in value and thus, increase the cost of insuring the vehicle.

Common examples of car modifications

Modifications can be used to either alter the cosmetics of the car or to boost its performance altogether. For the former, common examples include repainting the car or tinting the windows. On the other hand, parts like turbochargers and boosts are typically used to improve a car’s performance. Depending on the chosen modification, some of these parts may not be covered by any insurance policy at all! 

For instance, the following parts tend to not be covered in any mainstream policy:

Boost Controllers

Boost controllers are an essential component for any car with any kind of turbo installed. After all, the boost controller is responsible for controlling how much air pressure travels to the mechanical wastegate actuator. The higher the air pressure that travels, the bigger the boost. Most of the time, turbochargers will have this feature already installed but drivers can also get it as an aftermarket component. When driving a car with these parts, it is best to check with your policy provider and see if they are willing to cover them.

Modified Engine Management Systems

This system manages how the fuel injection and the throttle bodywork, resulting in extra power in the car’s engine. As a result, this system is usually just found in modified cars where they also maximize the productivity of other equipment like turbocharges, high compression methods, superchargers, or any other boost method.

Internal Engine Modifications

From oil changes to ignition changes, and to even larger injectors for better compression that increases the performance output of the car. All of these internal engine modifications could disqualify your car from a policy given the increased risk presented.

Door Modifications

Perhaps you replaced the door of the car? Perhaps you changed the way the car opens or even replaced them with one built from lighter materials. Well, most insurers are typically wary of any door-based modifications to a vehicle. The reason being is that it makes it a lot more attractive to thieves.

Carbon Fibre Panels

Carbon Fibre tends to be the lightest material available for cars. The less weight the car has, the faster the performance. These panels replace certain parts of the car and are usually installed alongside turbochargers for maximum performance. However, this now makes them a higher risk especially when it comes to thieves looking to steal and re-sell the pieces for profit. As such, insurers are generally wary of insuring vehicles with carbon fibre panels.

Fuel Modifications

Some car owners modify the fuel used in their cars with other things. In this instance, an insurer may decline to give a policy due to the increased risk that a mix of different fuel types could offer.

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Modifications commonly covered by insurance policies:

On the other hand, some of these basic modifications may be covered by most insurance providers:

  • Bicycle racks
  • Alloy wheels
  • Chrome exhaust systems
  • Driving lights
  • Sunroofs
  • Reversing cameras
  • Leather seats
  • CD stackers
  • Bullbars
  • Towbars

When it comes to modified cars, your best bet is to ask for specifics. Ask for more information regarding the vehicle and how much they’re willing to cover.

What can I expect from specialist modified car insurance in NZ?

With modified car insurance, you can be sure some of the alterations you make to your engine, suspension, chassis, or other parts of the car will be adequately covered in a policy made by people who will take good care of these cars.

Specialists will be able to cover even the most unlikely modifications but of course, you should expect the price to increase exponentially depending on your chosen add-on. This is true whether the modifications are meant to add to the car’s power or its safety features.

Coverage for modified classic cars

Specialists can also help you find cover for classic and vintage cars as they should have the expertise needed to craft a policy that works for a vehicle’s specific use. For instance, you might get more flexible lay-up periods considering classic cars are only driven a few times every month. They can also allow you to choose your own mechanic, and even retain modifications already in place which often cause headaches for most insurance companies.

Modified car insurance providers:

NAC Car Insurance

NAC’s main page does mention that they are willing to insure a wide variety of cars and drivers, ranging from younger driver options, people with driving convictions, and of course, modified vehicles. Simply choose from four available covers and choose an offering that has all the features you need.

Insure Direct Car Insurance

Insure Direct claims to specialise in dealing with modified vehicles, from minor cosmetic changes like a new set of mag wheels or even major modifications like a new engine and a new full body kit. Download their application form from their website and work out the details with their representatives for the best deal.

Classic Cover NZ

Classic Cover’s standard policy has its own provisions when it comes to dealing with modified cars. From kit cars to special one-off models, they are capable of finding a way to accommodate a wide range of items you may have. When you get modified car insurance from classic cover, you get benefits like an agreed value sum cover for classic cars, multiple vehicle discounts, and the ability to choose your own repairer.

State Car Insurance

Officially, State does not cover modifications in their PDS, unless you have informed the provider of all the modification details in your vehicle and State agrees in writing to continue providing coverage. Of course, you're also responsible for making sure to alert State of any further modifications you make to the car after signing the policy documents, as well as any material increases or changes in risk level.

Modified Car Insurance in NZ

Custom parts require money, and insurers will charge more to cover them due to the inherently increased risk these parts provide. The more extensive the modification, the more difficult it is to find an insurer that is willing to cover all of these risks.

If you’re looking to research in order to get the best car insurance for your needs, you can always use glimp’s FREE comparison tool. Enter your details and we’ll do the sorting for you. Get tailored results for car insurance providers in just a few minutes!

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