Anyone with a high performance car knows the exhilaration of driving for joy, not just routine. Your car’s sleek seats, engine speed and glorious, gritty performance brakes, all combine to create an explosive driving experience.
If you own a high performance car, you’ll want to know how to get high performance car insurance. Regular car insurance policies may not cover your prized vehicle, so it’s important that you get the right coverage.
As high-performance cars are specialist vehicles, and sometimes have modified parts: whether that’s a supercharged engine that you’ve installed yourself or a custom paint job, it’s important to find an insurer that can take all your individual needs into account when drawing up a policy.
In this article, we’re going to cover whether you need high performance car insurance, how high performance car insurance works, and how you can lower the costs on your high performance car insurance.
Do I need high performance car insurance?
You need high performance car insurance if your car is designed to perform at a higher level than a regular car, for example, in terms of its speed, acceleration and braking, whether you drive a high performance sports car like the Porsche 911, or a family-friendly hot hatch with a turbocharged engine.
High performance car insurers will give you coverage that takes into account your unique needs as the owner of a high performance car, because these vehicles may face greater risks of theft and vandalism, and are more expensive to repair or replace than regular cars in the event of an accident.
Let’s dive right in and explore in further detail whether you need high performance car insurance, and what high performance car insurance should cover.
What is high performance car insurance?
High performance car insurance is insurance specifically designed for high performance cars.
For example, if you’re the proud owner of a Porsche 911 GT3, ordinary car insurers may not cover your vehicle because of the extra risks of theft and damage associated with its value, rarity and power.
Even if you do get cover, a one size fits all insurance policy may not be appropriate to your vehicle.
For instance, if a part of your car gets damaged, you may need to source an original, authentic replacement that your insurance just won’t cover.
On the other hand, high performance car insurers will grasp both the full material worth of your car, and its emotional and symbolic value.
Rather than just viewing your vehicle’s slick design and capacity for power as risk factors, specialist insurers understand that if you own a high performance car, you’re likely to take extra care to maintain its flawless appearance by driving it safely.
As well as insuring your high performance cars against the usual risks such as fire, vandalism, theft and damage from accidents either to your own or other people’s vehicles (different policies will apply if there is drink driving involved), high performance car insurers should aim to restore your car as much as possible to its original, authentic appearance if it does get damaged, for example, only sourcing parts made by the original manufacturer of your car.
Similarly, high performance car insurers understand that your car can be worth much more than its market value at the time of your claim.
In the case of a write off, your car is likely to have depreciated much less than other models of a similar age, particularly if your car is a classic car, which may even have increased in value with age.
Some high performance car insurers can offer ‘agreed value cover’ for your car, which means you agree the amount that you think your car is worth upfront with your insurer and then, if it gets written off, you can claim this value back and purchase yourself a car of similar value.
High performance cars
If you drive a Ferrari or an Aston Martin, it’s fairly obvious that you’re the owner of a high performance car. However, your vehicle doesn’t have to be a typical sports supercar to count as a high performance car.
As well as the fact that more family-friendly high performance cars like the Hyundai i30N now exist, to give drivers that magical mix of convenience and power, any car that has been fitted with an enhanced engine for greater speed and power counts as a performance vehicle.
This includes many imports from outside the EU, which are built to specifications that UK insurers would class as high performance. Your car is usually a high performance vehicle if it includes one or more of the following:
- An enhanced engine. For example, if your car engine is turbocharged or supercharged, which increases power output.
- Smart suspension. If your car has an inbuilt system to control the vertical movement of its wheels in relation to the chassis of the car, rather than relying on passive suspension, which is dependent entirely on road surface.
- Performance brakes. If your car has, for example, high performance brake pads which offer significant friction and never ‘fade’ (lose their braking power) under the heat of braking.
- Responsive steering. Your car reacts intuitively to the smallest movement of the steering wheels, and can turn in and out of tight spaces with flawless precision.
What does high performance car insurance cover?
High performance car insurance can cover you for a range of things, including risks which may be specific to you as the owner of a performance vehicle.
If your vehicle has sustained any damage from fire, whether by accident or through arson, your insurance can pay out for repairs or a replacement if your car is too damaged to be roadworthy.
If your car has been damaged through arson, you’ll need to report the crime to the police and have them investigate the situation before you can get a claim from your insurance provider.
If your high performance car is stolen or damaged through theft or attempted theft, your high performance car insurance will cover you for repairs or a replacement vehicle.
As the risk of theft is greater with high performance vehicles, given their rockstar status and the fact that they cost a lot more, it’s important to get adequate theft cover for your car.
You’ll need to make sure that you have somewhere to safely lock your car and that it has appropriate safety devices installed, otherwise your theft insurance may not be valid.
Damage to your own and others’ vehicles
Your high performance car insurance can also cover you for damage to your own or others’ cars if you get in an accident.
However, it’s important to note that insurers are very unlikely to pay out for accidents in which you were drink driving.
Although the Road Traffic Act decrees that your insurer has to pay for any costs of claims by third parties (the person whose car you hit while drink driving, for example), your insurer will usually include a caveat in your policy that says you are liable to pay for any costs incurred as a result of third party claims if you were drink driving. This means that they have the right to recover the costs from you.
Your insurer is also unlikely to pay for damage to your vehicle if you were driving under the influence of drink or drugs, nor for any legal costs if you have to go to court.
Agreed value cover
As your high performance car is likely to be unique and valuable, high performance car insurers can offer ‘agreed value cover’.
This is when you and your insurer agree on the figure that your car is worth, and the insurance company pays this out in the event that your car gets written off.
As your high performance car is less likely to depreciate in value than regular cars, an agreed value cover policy could ensure that you get the most accurate price for your car, rather than its current market value.
Salvage retention cover
If you’ve assembled your high performance car yourself or you’ve got a particular attachment to your original vehicle, salvage retention allows you to keep the wreckage of your vehicle after a write off.
Whether you want to try and restore your car to a roadworthy condition (remember you’ll likely have to apply for an Individual Vehicle Approval to check that your repaired car is safe to be driven) or use its parts to build another vehicle, salvage retention will give you the money for the value of your car, minus whatever the insurance company would have got by selling it to a scrap yard.
You’re usually allowed to keep the salvage of your vehicle if it is a Category S or N write-off, as these categories mean that the car can eventually be restored to a roadworthy condition.
The only time you will not be able to retrieve the salvage of your kit car is if it is classified as a Category A or B write-off.
Kit car insurance
If your high performance car wasn’t put together in a factory and you assembled (or are planning to assemble) it yourself, you’ll need a specialist policy that doesn’t just protect your pride and joy while its on the road, but while you’re waiting for parts to be imported from around the world.
For example, kit car insurance can offer you build up cover, which protects your kit car from accidental damage, fire and theft before its fully built.
Similarly, if you have the skill to fix any damage to your high performance kit car yourself, you can get ‘parts only’ cover for your car. This means that your insurance will only cover the cost of parts that need replacing (as you’ll perform the labour yourself), which can reduce your insurance premiums.
Track day cover
If you and your high performance car regularly tear up the tarmac on track days, it’s definitely worth considering track day cover.
While insurance isn’t a requirement to go on circuits, it’s a great way of ensuring that you can pay for any repairs you might need for damages to your vehicle during track events.
When you’re ripping up the race circuit, the last thing you want to worry about it damaging your precious car, especially as you’ll be around drivers that you don’t know the experience or capabilities of.
High performance car insurers understand that if you own a high-end vehicle, you’re used to driving in style.
If your own vehicle is temporarily out of action, insurance companies will cover the cost of a rental vehicle of similar value and prestige.
How much does high performance car insurance cost?
The cost of insurance for your high performance car depends on a range of factors, including your how often you take it on the road, and your age and driving experience.
Given that high performance cars, with their greater capacity for speed and acceleration, are more likely to be involved in accidents (and thefts, as they are often much more expensive than regular cars), these vehicles are likely more expensive to insure.
High performance cars are stunning, from their sleek exteriors, to their aerodynamic grace. However, maintaining your car’s beauty and authenticity often means finding rare and specialist parts for repairs. These parts can be a bit more pricey to source and import, which can add to your insurance premiums.
As the owner of a high performance car, you may also be asked to pay a higher excess, because your car is more at risk of getting in an accident. An excess in car insurance is the amount you agree to pay towards the cost of your claim. You’ll already have a compulsory excess set by your insurer, but you may be asked to contribute more to cover certain costs if your car is deemed to be a greater risk.
However, the cost is worth it to many drivers who are passionate about their performance vehicles, and want to show them off on the road.
The amount your insurance will come to also depends on which insurance group your high performance car falls into.
All cars belong to insurance groups ranging from 1-50 (50 being the most expensive group of cars to insure).
While many high performance cars are in the higher groups, you can find cars in slightly lower groups, which is useful if you want to drive a performance vehicle but keep the costs manageable.
However, insurance companies don’t all stick to the same insurance groups when it comes to insuring cars, so make check that your particular provider classes your particular car as a lower group, if you are hoping to lessen your premiums.
Key factors that affect the cost of your high performance car insurance include:
- Your age. If you’re a young driver (under 25), you may pay more in insurance for a high performance car. This is because your age is already a risk factor when it comes to car insurance, as younger drivers statistically have more car accidents. Couple this with a high performance car, with increased acceleration and speed, and you’ve got a pretty nerve-wracking combination for insurers. That’s not to say that it’s impossible to find high performance car insurance for young drivers, but your premiums are likely to be significantly more than for an older and more experienced driver.
- Car security. If you don’t have a secure place to park your car, you may have to pay higher insurance premiums, as the risk of theft and vandalism is greater. Similarly, if you don’t have adequate security features fitted, you’ll pay more in insurance.
- Mileage. The more you drive your high performance car, especially if you’re regularly ripping up a race track, the more risks you incur, which means your insurance could be more expensive.
- Where you live. Your postcode can indeed affect the cost of your insurance. If you live in an area with greater population and traffic density, crime rates and road accidents, you’ll automatically be considered at greater risk for accidents, which could increase your insurance.
How to reduce costs on your high performance car insurance
Get a high performance car in a lower insurance group
Although if you own the latest Ferrari or an Audi Q7 6.0 TDI you’ll struggle to escape insurance group 50, you can find high performance cars in lower insurance groups, meaning you can get your fill of speed and power while keeping costs down.
For example, the Renault Twingo GT will be in insurance group 11 for many insurers, for example, Honest John, but it’s still a decent hot hatch with a sharp steering response.
Remember that not all insurers place cars in the same insurance groups, however, so make sure you check this before you rush out and buy a particular car.
Ramp up your safety features
If you’re the owner of a high performance vehicle, you may be able to save on your premiums by ensuring you have strong safety features, given the added expense of your car.
If your car doesn’t automatically come with a car engine immobiliser to protect against hot-wiring (if it’s a classic car made before 1998, it may not have one installed), it’s a good idea to have one installed. You should also make sure you have an electronic alarm.
Make sure that any devices you use are Thatcham approved (Thatcham is an independent institution that rates car security), if you want to try and decrease the premiums on your high performance car insurance as much as possible.
Get a limited mileage policy
If you don’t drive your car more than a few thousand miles a year, it’s a good idea to tell your insurance company.
The less you drive, the less risks you face through accidents, so your insurer may be able to offer you a cheaper insurance deal, as you’re less likely to make a claim.
Join an owners club
If you’re the proud owner of a particular high performance car, joining a club for car enthusiasts who share your passion for a particular make and model can help reduce your car insurance.
Often, car insurers will see you belonging to an owners club as evidence that you’re particularly enthusiastic about your vehicle, and are therefore likely to take extra care in preserving and maintaining it.
If insurance companies think you’re less at risk of getting in accidents and making a claim because you’re careful with your car, they may be able to offer you a significant discount on your insurance. For example, some insurers offer 15% off insurance to members of an owners club.
Advanced driving qualifications
You can take certain advanced driving qualifications, which may reduce the cost of your car insurance.
Although if you’ve just passed your test and are a younger driver you may struggle to get insurance for a high performance car, it’s still worth considering a PassPlus or Any Driver BTEC course, so that if you still want to get insurance for a high performance vehicle when you’re older, you’ll have more of a chance of reducing your premiums.
If you’re a more experienced driver, advanced driving courses from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) or RoSPA could help you to get slightly cheaper insurance for a high performance vehicle.
Classic car insurance
If you’ve got a performance car that is more than fifteen years old, you may be able to get it covered by classic car insurance. This can be cheaper than high performance car insurance.
However, different insurers have different criteria when it comes to identifying a classic car and some may expect you to agree to certain limitations, for example, only driving it a certain amount of miles a year, so make sure any policy you choose is an accurate reflection of your lifestyle, and how you want to use your car.
Named driver insurance
If you’re a young driver, adding someone else to your insurance policy can help reduce the cost of your insurance premiums. For example, if you put an experienced driver (such as a parent or guardian) on your insurance, it signals to your insurer that someone with more driving experience may sometimes drive your car, lessening the risk of a claim.
How can I find the best high performance car insurance?
You’ll need a specialist insurance broker for high performance cars, to find the best insurance for your vehicle.
As the driver of a high performance car, you’ll likely have extra insurance needs for your vehicle, for example, expensive replacement parts or track day cover (especially if you’re planning to race), and an insurance broker can help you tailor a policy that meets all these needs.
Not only can insurance brokers offer you cover in more range and detail than insurance comparison websites for high performance cars, they often have special relationships with an array of insurance companies, particularly specialist insurers who you can’t contact directly for a quotation. Look for brokers who have access to a wide range of specialist high performance car insurance schemes, covering key brands like Mazda, Porsche, Aston Martin and Caterham.
Now that we’ve gone through whether you need high performance car insurance and how high performance car insurance works, I hope you’ve found this a useful read. If you own a stunning performance vehicle you want to make sure you protect it with the right insurance, whether that’s cover for when you rip up a race track or just insurance to cruise leisurely around your neighbourhood.