To Modify, or Not to Modify?

To Modify, or Not to Modify?

| January 27, 2022

For many gearheads, one of the greatest joys of being a car or truck enthusiast is doing your own work, or more specifically, making your own modifications. This usually involves removing an original part or replacing it with an aftermarket part that may increase performance or cosmetically change the appearance of the vehicle. Everyone knows that one person who just loves their truck and—for better or worse—puts lots of time and even more money into making it their own. That person may even be you! But what happens in the event that your truck is damaged or totaled after you’ve put all that time and money into making it a sweet ride? Will you be covered?   

For starters, what are some of the aftermarket changes you are likely to see on a modified pickup truck?   

  • Lift/lowering kits – these are suspension and sometimes body kits that physically increase or decrease the ride height and ground clearance of the truck.     
  • Rims and Tires – many truck owners will opt for larger rims and tires depending on the intended use or modifications made to the truck.
  • Performance Parts – these are parts that are intended to modify or increase the performance of the truck itself. Things like cold-air intakes, custom exhaust systems, turbochargers, superchargers, updated fuel and electrical systems, etc.
  • Bumpers and Grills – some may opt for custom upgrades to their bumpers or grills. This may be aesthetic, or it may be to include something like a winch or other work tool.
  • Utility upgrades – winches, hitches, bed liners, light kits, ladder racks or toolboxes are a few examples of a modification for the purpose of utility.

For many standard auto policies an endorsement or some supplemental plan that covers add-ons would be required to obtain additional coverage for most aftermarket modifications. Without working with an agent to include these endorsements it is very likely that your insurance carrier won’t cover the loss of those parts in the event that they are damaged in an accident or otherwise covered incident. That BDS lift kit, the 5,000 lb. winch, those custom grills, and that paint restoration you forked all that cash out to get? You won’t get that back if it wasn’t specifically covered by some add-on or supplemental policy.

So what are your options? Well, as previously mentioned, you and your insurance agent can work together to determine what specific endorsements or add-ons you may be able to obtain on your policy. Keep in mind that insurance carriers will review these modifications and try to determine how they may have affected the baseline performance and overall road safety of your vehicle, and this may increase your premiums. But this isn’t your only option.

What about Modified Car Insurance policies? These are policies that are for exactly what it sounds like: modified cars. Carriers like Hagerty and American National, amongst others, offer nontraditional coverages for vehicles just like yours! In these cases an appraisal of the truck and its modifications would be done and you and the carrier would agree upon a value for the vehicle. Once appraised, the carrier can then determine how much coverage you might need to ensure your baby is fully covered out on the road or out in the garage.

There are always options out there to make sure a joy doesn’t turn into a sorrow. If you have questions give us a call today at Insurance Strategies – The Cooksey Agency and we’ll help get you sorted! (757) 819-6896