With the popularity of custom car TV shows such as "Pimp My Ride," personalized cars became hotter than ever. Accessories also came a long way from simple paint jobs and fuzzy dice. Today, drivers want their cars to stand out from the crowd, and to express their personality and style. As a result, car owners are adding chrome rims and grills, customized murals, spinners, pipes, LCD monitors, DVD players, expensive stereo systems, ground effects, and hydraulics.
But what is the cost to insure these hot new accessories? And do you know if your auto insurance company will cover these often-expensive enhancements?
If you're thinking of improving your car, these are some very important questions to ask! Modifying your car can be a huge investment, and you don't want to find out after the fact that your vehicle is not covered.
Ask first, change your car later
The best course of action is to consult your insurance company before you start modifying your car. This will help you find out what your auto insurance company does and doesn't cover, if they are willing to insure your new car, and the total cost of keeping your customized auto covered.
Most insurance companies will ask if your car has "substantial customization" that you would like to insure at an additional cost. If so, you can add an endorsement to your comprehensive and collision coverage for custom parts and equipment. An endorsement is a change to your auto insurance policy, and it can extend coverage to include your modifications.
Check the amount covered under your endorsement, because it can vary for different companies. If your new parts cost more than the covered cost, you may want to consider shopping around to explore your coverage options. Keep in mind that standard insurance companies insure the actual value of the parts, meaning that they will pay you what the parts are worth, not what it costs to replace them.
Safety is key
Always make sure that your parts are installed safely by a knowledgeable professional. Many drivers attempt to do the work themselves. As a result, parts could be installed improperly.
Your best bet is to have a professional do the work for you. It will save you a lot of money in the long run, in addition to keeping you safe.
Even if you don't have a custom car, you can still get free car insurance rate quotes from multiple companies by filling out a single application. If you do have a custom car, most companies will cover you. Just make sure to select "Yes" for the question about substantial customization in the vehicle information section of the application, or call for assistance.
Originally posted: May 16, 2006
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