Van modification has become more and more popular in recent years, but with that comes the need for modified van insurance. If you’re thinking of modifying your van – or have already done so – then it’s essential to know what to look for in an insurance policy. A standard policy will not be enough to cover your vehicle, so you need to look for a specialist provider.
Modified van insurance covers your van for all of the usual risks, such as accidents and theft. It’s essential if your van is customised in any way, from the addition of a new sound system to the installation of a lift kit or more. Modified van insurance can be more expensive than regular van insurance, but it provides cover for all the extra equipment and accessories that make your van unique.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about getting cover for your modified van. We’ll discuss why it’s important to have insurance, how it works, what modified van insurance covers, and we’ll give you some tips on how to find the best deal.
Read on for information that could save you money and hassle.
What is modified van insurance and what does it cover?
Modified van insurance is a type of policy that covers vans that have been modified from their original manufacturer specification. A modified van policy will generally cover the same things as a regular van policy (e.g. damage to your vehicle, liability for damage caused to other people’s vehicles), but it will also cover any modifications that have been made to your vehicle. These include custom paint jobs, new body kits, or the addition of alloy wheels or even stereo systems.
However, it is important to note that the extent of modifications covered should be legal and not contravene any other insurance conditions. Again, this type of policy can be more expensive than a regular policy, but it is worth paying for if you have made any modifications to your van.
What counts as a modification in modified van insurance?
The definition of a “modification” can vary from insurer to insurer. Typically, any change or enhancement made to a van that affects its appearance, safety or performance will be considered a modification and may increase your premiums. This can be something as simple as adding a spoiler to the back or changing the van’s colour. It could also be a more extensive change, such as modifying or replacing the engine or suspension.
Generally, any modifications affecting safety, appearance or performance will need to be listed on your policy for it to be valid. This is not an exhaustive list, but some popular modifications that can warrant modified van insurance include:
- Cosmetic changes, like new spoilers, body kits or custom paint jobs and wraps
- Tinting the windows
- Reupholstering or replacing the seats
- Changing the wheels or tyres, e.g. to alloy wheels
- Installing aftermarket audio equipment
- Adding a sunroof or skylight
- Adding or removing windows
- Brake, suspension, Engine Control Unit (ECU) remapping or engine mods
- Adding spoilers or other aerodynamic features
- Changing the styling of the exterior
- Installing racking or storage
- Adding a turbocharger or supercharger
- Modifications due to the owner’s disability
- Installation of a kitchenette, including permanent catering equipment like refrigeration, mini cookers etc.
- Installation of beds or bathrooms
It’s important to check with your insurer before making any changes to your vehicle, as they will be able to tell you precisely what counts as a modification and how it will affect your premiums.
What is not covered by modified van insurance?
If you make an unauthorised modification to your vehicle, your insurance policy will not cover you if something goes wrong. This means making a modification without informing or consulting with your insurer. Therefore, it’s very important to check with your insurer before making any changes to your van to ensure that you are fully aware of the risks involved and that your insurance policy will still be valid.
Illegal modifications are obviously not going to be covered either. Such modifications are excluded because the addition of certain features or equipment may change the way your vehicle performs, and as a result, increase the risk of an accident. For this reason, most insurers will not cover what they deem as illegal modifications that compromise the safety standards of the van.
Do modifications affect a van’s insurance cost?
It depends on the insurance company and the modification.
Many people think that car modifications will automatically increase their insurance rates. This is not always the case. Insurance companies take many things into account when calculating rates, and each company has its own specific set of rules.
Some modifications are likely to cause an increase in premiums. If you increase the value of your van with expensive aesthetic modifications, then this will make your vehicle a higher theft risk and may increase your premiums. Additionally, if you make your van sporty or modified for speed, this will also put it at a higher risk for accidents and could lead to increased rates.
The damage in a modified van following an accident or theft would also be significantly higher than if it were an unmodified vehicle. The higher expected payout in such events from the insurance company would necessitate a higher premium. However, disability modifications shouldn’t cause you to pay significantly more for insurance, thanks to the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and Equality Act 2010.
On the other hand, some modifications can actually help reduce your premiums. For example, installing a stability control system would make you less likely to experience an accident, or a dashcam could prove an accident wasn’t your fault. Likewise, anti-theft devices, such as heavy-duty locks, alarms, immobilisers or anti-lock brakes will make you van less likely to be targeted by thieves. So it’s essential to speak with an insurance broker to understand how any changes you make to your vehicle will impact your rates.
What happens if you do not declare modifications done to your van?
If you make modifications to your van without declaring them to your insurer, you may invalidate your policy. This means that if you have an accident, your insurer could refuse to pay out for repairs or replacements, leaving you to foot the bill yourself.
It’s important to remember that you must inform your insurer if you make any modifications to your van – no matter how small. Even making simple changes, such as fitting new alloy wheels, could affect your policy and lead to invalidation. So always check with your insurer before modifying your vehicle in any way.
If you make modifications to your van during your insurance term, you may not have to take out a new policy. But you need to notify your provider for them to make the changes and adjust your premiums accordingly to retain the policy’s validity.
Levels of Modified Van Insurance Cover
There are different levels of modified van insurance cover that you can choose from. Each level provides a different level of protection for your van. The three levels of cover are:
Third-party only cover
This is the minimum level of cover required by law. Third-party only cover provides the lowest level of protection for your van. It covers you for liability if you cause an accident injuring someone else or damaging their property.
Third-party, fire and theft
The next level is third-party, fire and theft, which covers the same as third-party only but also includes protection against your vehicle being stolen or damaged by fire.
The highest level of cover is comprehensive, which covers everything that third-party, fire and theft does, plus any damage to your own vehicle. Many would consider this essential if you have a modified van, as it means yourpride and joy will be fully protected against any potential accidents.
Classes of use in modified van insurance
There are four types of van use, and it’s important to choose the correct one when getting insurance so that the insurer can assess the risk properly. Here is a little more information about each:
This would mean that your van is used for personal trips and not for commutes or work-related travel. It’s designed for people who use their vans for social and leisure purposes only.
Social and commuting use
The van covered is used for personal trips and work-related travels. The work-related commute should be to a single permanent place of employment.
Own goods use
The van covered is used for business purposes. Service providers and door-to-door salespeople are best placed for this type of cover. Plumbers, carpenters, house cleaning crews, builders are all examples of trades-persons who might need this category.
Haulage (hire and reward) use
The vans that fall under this category are used for commercial purposes, especially in the transport and delivery of third-party goods. It is ideal for couriers and furniture removers, for example.
What if you use your van for something other than what’s listed in the insurance coverage?
If you use your van for anything other than what you told your insurer, you may not be covered, and your insurance policy could be voided.
What determines the cost of modified van insurance?
When looking for van insurance, it is important to understand the factors that will affect the cost. Insurers consider many things when setting rates, so understanding what affects your premium can help you find the best deal. Here are some of the most common factors:
- Driver’s record
- Van usage
- Van model and make
- Coverage level
- Number and types of modifications made
How do I reduce the cost of modified van insurance?
There are a few things that you can do in order to get more competitive modified van insurance:
Different companies charge different rates for modified van insurance, so it’s important to compare as many quotes as possible in order to find the best deal.
One option would be to go through an insurance broker. A broker will have access to a range of insurers and policies, as well as the ability to negotiate for you in order to get better rates.
Build up your no-claims bonus
A no-claims bonus is a rebate that an insurance company offers to policyholders who have not made any claims during a particular period. It is designed to encourage customers to maintain a good driving record and not make any claims on their car insurance policy, which in turn keeps premiums lower for all customers.
Opt for black box van insurance
This policy is underwritten with a black box installed in your van, which monitors your driving style. The data collected includes your speed and braking patterns. This type of policy is often less expensive than traditional modified van policies, as the insurer is able to monitor driving habits and adjust premiums accordingly.
Install safety and security features
Adding security and safety features to a van can affect the cost of insurance in different ways. Security features, like alarms and tracking devices, may make the van less likely to be stolen, which could lead to lower premiums. The addition of safety features can also decrease the cost of insurance, as these features make the car less likely to be involved in an accident. Some examples of safety features that can lower insurance premiums are anti-lock brakes or stability control systems
Reduce your mileage
Reduced Mileage rates are a discount applied to an auto insurance policy for drivers who log fewer than the average number of miles each year. This is because the insurance company assumes you’re statistically less likely to get into an accident.
Install a dashcam
Insurers may view the presence of a dashcam as an indicator of increased safety and it may have a positive effect on insurance rates because it can provide evidence in the event of an accident.
If you own a modified van or are planning on modifying your van, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved. You can still enjoy your customised ride without sacrificing coverage. At A-Plan Insurance, we want to help you find the best policy for your needs. We have a wide variety of policies to choose from, and our team is always happy to answer any questions you may have about modified van insurance or any of our other products.
With our many years of experience in the insurance industry, you can be sure that we will provide you with the best possible service and cover at a price you can afford. We’re also here for your other insurance needs – from auto, home, health, life and more! Call us today for a free quote that will be tailored just for you.