Hastings Direct.

Important - Coronavirus update

In line with guidance from the Government and to help look after our colleagues, we now have a limited number of staff in the office. During this time, we're committed to supporting you in the best way we can. We'll be here throughout to keep you updated so make sure to check back regularly.

  • At this time, please help us to prioritise essential calls by using our online services.
    • If you're a car customer you can use MyAccount or the app to make policy changes or payments, including changing your payment date, checking your documents or to report or track a claim (MyAccount only).
    • If you're a home, bike or van customer, or for any customers wishing to cancel their insurance, please use our online forms.
  • If you do phone, we will only be able to deal with your query if:
    • You're in a vulnerable situation or an NHS or frontline health┬ácare worker who can't easily access our online services, or
    • You are worried about making future payments, or
    • Your policy is due to renew in less than a week and you're concerned the policy is no longer suitable for you, or
    • You need to make a claim and your vehicle is un-driveable or if you need urgent roadside assistance.
  • For all other queries, including buying a new policy, please first read our Coronavirus FAQs for the latest advice and how to use our online services.
  • Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am - 6pm, Saturday 10am - 2pm and Sunday Closed. If do you need to call us, please bear with us as it may take us longer to answer your call. We're sorry for any inconvenience this causes you.

Read our Coronavirus FAQs

Why car modifications could invalidate your insurance

A mechanic making modifications to a car.

From tinted windows to alloy wheels, complete body kits to tiny decals, car modifications come in all shapes and sizes. But any change to your car's likely to impact the price you pay for cover – meaning, your insurance provider will want to know about it.

We've put together this simple guide to help you understand car modifications and make sure you don't end up invalidating your insurance.

What's classed as a modification?

A modification is any change that differs from the manufacturer's original factory spec. The changes could be performance-related, like suspension and exhaust upgrades, or aesthetic, such as stickers and tinted windows.

Common modifications

Compare the Market listed the top five most common modifications as:

  1. Engine. Tweaking engine performance can increase the speed of the car, with insurers likely to increase premiums as a result.
  2. Wheels. Bigger wheels could impact handling, while shiny alloys could increase the risk of theft.
  3. Sat nav. Sat navs that aren't built-in could also turn your car into a target for thieves.
  4. Tinted windows. Some insurers may see tinted windows as an attempt to increase privacy, but you need to make sure you're on the right side of the law.
  5. Alarms/immobilisers. Boosting the security features on your car could lead to a drop in the price you pay for cover.

Other popular modifications include stickers, bodywork, exhaust upgrades, spoilers and parking sensors.

The impact on insurance

Certainly the majority of modifications will see your premium rise. This could be because the modifications increase the value of your car, making it more expensive to repair or replace parts. Insurers might also be wary of certain modifications impacting the handling, and therefore the safety, of the car, too.

Risk also plays a part. If you've modified your engine to make your car faster, insurers may think you're more likely to be involved in an accident. Also, insurers might increase your premium if modifications make your car more attractive to thieves.

But it works both ways – certain modifications can lead to you paying less for insurance. These are likely to be changes that boost your car's security and safety, according to Compare the Market. The top three are:

  1. Parking sensors. Installing sensors on your car could lower the risk of minor bumps and see your premium drop by an average of 13%.
  2. Security features. Industry-approved alarms, immobilisers and tracking devices double up as great thief deterrents, and you could be rewarded with a discount on cover.
  3. Tow bar. Fitting a tow bar onto your car for a caravan, trailer or horse box could lower your premium by 20% because you're likely to drive slower and more cautiously.

No mod too small

If you do decide to modify your car in any way, the best piece of advice we can give is to let your insurer know. That way, you won't run the risk of having a claim denied because you didn't tell them about the modification.

One mistake many drivers make is not telling insurers about modifications already made to a car – for instance, if you buy a second-hand, modified car. It's down to you to check if the car has been altered in any way from the original spec, and pass on this information on to your insurer when you get a quote.

To modify, or not to modify?

Remember: modifications are just one of many factors insurers take into account when calculating the price you pay for cover. But in most cases, making a performance or aesthetic-related change to your car will increase the price of insurance.

If you're a young or new driver, you probably already pay over the average for insurance. So, you should really think twice about modifications that will see you parting with even more cash each year.

For straightforward insurance at a competitive price, it's got to be Hastings Direct. Get a quote today to see how much you could save.

Car insurance

Our straightforward car insurance is Defaqto 5 Star rated, so you can be sure you're getting a great product. Plus you can choose from a great range of optional extras.

Join us...