Will my modified car still be insured?
You love your vehicle, you want to individualise it and upgrade its performance or aesthetics with aftermarket parts. For example, you want to change your exhaust system for a sexier exhaust note, you want a spoiler and a body kit for a more aggressive look or you want bigger brake kits for better stopping power.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to customise your car and make it different from the rest, but at the same time, the more you customise it, the more you want to protect your car. Thus, what happens to your insurance?
Before you start happily slapping on new parts and accessories, please read the terms of your policy carefully and do a check with your insurer. You wouldn’t want to run into a situation where your claims get voided.
In general, your policy should stay safe if the mods are legal and properly installed.
The problem is, regulations by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on vehicle modifications have been so strictly implemented that car enthusiasts passionately ran nationwide petitions two years ago in aim of seeking justice for fairer rules. The authorities never relented and many were forced to give up their passion for car modifications, on top of other reasons such as increasing car prices in Singapore.
Bernie Leung however, has managed to maintain his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X that he spent close to $70,000 in modifications. He said,
“It does take more effort and money to keep your car street legal with the existing regulations, but I’ve not faced difficulties in maintaining it. Just make sure you do your homework on the parts you intend to install, and do your research for a reputable and reliable workshop.”
Insurers such as DirectAsia will honour all claims as long as the modifications are properly installed and approved by LTA. Under their standard policies, the vehicle owner is covered for the costs of original parts replacement and claims will not be voided for LTA-compliant modifications.
If you would like to have these modified parts insured so you can make claims on them, DirectAsia has an optional My Accessories cover that will allow you to insure them against loss and damages. Thus, do keep all records from the workshop which completed the installation for you, the LTA inspection papers and anything else that can back the modifications.
Here is a list of LTA-compliant car accessories that you can insure:
- Air intake
- Exhaust system
- Body kit
- Car camera
- In-vehicle entertainment system
- Solar film
- Suspension system
But do take note that there are two types of modifications which will not be covered at all.
Increasing the engine capacity is deemed dangerous as it may adversely affect the safety and exhaust emission characteristics of the vehicle, with a risk of premature failure of the engine and other related components.
Nitrous injection devices
Nitrogen oxide gas is highly reactive and provides faster combustion, but again, might affect the engine and compromise safety.
If you are considering modifying your car, do the necessary paperwork and checks instead of rushing right into it, and then if everything clears go ahead and do it.
Cheryl Tay is an established Singaporean motoring journalist who appreciates cars and their technologies, when she’s not jumping up and down during a Grand Prix race. More of her at www.cheryltay.sg or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.