You do not want to drive around in a "plain Jane" automobile that looks like every other car out on the road. What you do want is a sporty car with fancy new parts replacing the factory ones that came on the vehicle when you bought it. Once you spend the money to customize your vehicle you need to make sure that your investment is covered by your auto insurance policy.
Customizing your vehicle can be a lot of fun. You can add on ground effects that make your car look lower or more aggressive. Next, you have put on a new back fin, wing, or spoiler. There are side skirts, front dams, new grills and many other parts that you can place on your vehicle to give it the look you want. After-market parts no doubt give vehicles a personality. It is fun to see a car that does not look like all the other cars on the road.
What did you get for your money? Beyond the look of the vehicle, beyond the new way it handles, beyond the new fat wheels and rims what do you have? You have an investment. Now what happens if the rims are stolen? Even worse, what happens if you are in an accident and the after market parts are damaged or even destroyed? How will you replace them, will insurance cover it?
The best time to find out what your auto insurance company will cover is before you start working on your vehicle. You might find out the insurance company will not cover the parts you are adding on or if you are modifying your engine they will not want to continue your current policy. Even if it seems tempting to hide what you are doing from your insurance company, that is never a good idea. If they find out what you have and it is against some clause in your policy you could be in trouble. You never want an insurance company to think you are trying to commit insurance fraud.
Insurance coverages for customized cars will vary from state to state and insurance company to insurance company. There are many variables involve such as: what type of vehicle you have, the changes you are making, your current policy and perhaps even your driving record. If your current insurance policy does cover your items, such as custom wheels or rims, likely you will have to do an endorsement on the policy and pay an additional premium.
You do not want to modify a car in a way in which it would be found unsafe. Keep this in mind while doing any work on it. If you do change the car and end up in an accident and the insurance company deems that the modification made the car unsafe it could be enough, depending on state laws, for them to not have to pay out on your claim.
What if your insurance company says no to the changes you are determined to make or have already made? You likely will not have to tear up your car and put it back to the factory look. Instead, you can shop around for an insurance company that will cover your customized car. CarInsurance.com has carriers that offer simple Custom Parts and Equipment coverage. It might mean you need to find an insurance company or broker that specializes in antique or specialty cars but if you want your vehicle and all of its parts to be properly be insured you will find the right insurance company with a policy for it.
For an insurance company to compensate a person for aftermarket or customized parts the insurer will need to know beforehand that those special items were on the vehicle. After the rims are stolen or the customized grill is totaled, it is too late to notify the insurance company of their existence in most cases. If you do not think they need to know about your specialty rims wait till the morning you walk out and they are gone and see if your insurance company, without the correct endorsement, will cover them - it will not likely go in your favor.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more thieves are going after customized parts. They have given up on breaking in the car to steal radios or compact disc players but instead go for the rims that are on the outside and sometimes easy to grab. You do not want to end up with your prized possession missing off your vehicle and not have them covered.
In short, if you are going to spend your hard-earned dollars, or possibly thousands of those, on customizing your vehicle make sure that the parts will be insured properly. The first step is to contact your auto insurance provider. Be upfront with what you have or what you want to do with your vehicle. Likely, the agent will have to look up their guidelines on the various parts and get back to you with a quote for what an endorsement for covering these items would cost.
This endorsement would apply to the comprehensive or collision portion of your insurance policy in most cases. If you are spending a lot of money on your vehicle, you should already have these coverages, which are beyond your state's minimum liability coverage, on your vehicle. As you add new items to the vehicle, continue to let your insurer know so that they will not say they did not know about them and only pay for standard factory replacements if they are damaged or stolen.
Customizing a car can be a lot of fun and give you great joy. Do not let this pleasure be taken away by not covering your investments properly. Whether adding rims or an in-car entertainment system let your insurance company know so that you car covered if there is a loss of it in the future. Then you can ride around in style with confidence.