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Considering Car Modifications? Those Shiny Alloys Could Cost You Dearly

Tempted to jazz up your motor with some new alloys or some snazzy head-turning headlamps? Modifications can be a great way to personalize your vehicle BUT they can come at a price.

Car modifications like this could increase your insurance premiums

Modifications on your car can significantly bump up your insurance premium and at worst void your insurance all together.

We decided to once again warn motorists about the implications of car modifications following news that the number of drivers caught illegally modifying their vehicles had risen sharply.

Latest figures released by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) reveal that 146 vehicle owners were caught monthly for illegal modifications in 2008 compared to an average of 1,360 in the first three months of this year.

According to the LTA the main offenders are modified exhausts, tinted windows and various lighting alterations. Modifications that appear harmless enough yet could land you in big trouble.

The LTA believes the main reason for the upsurge is increased feedback from the public and more enforcement.

Senior Manager, Operations at DirectAsia.com, Shawn Lim, said:

"The increase in numbers is due to an increase in enforcement checks and not necessarily a real increase in the number of people modifying their vehicles."

However, he does believe there is a current trend favouring modified cars particularly as it’s so easy to buy parts online. He added:

"It is also true to say that modifying cars is a trend right now and with more parts available online this could pose a danger if owners try to DIY their own modifications."

Car mods in Singapore usually mean higher insurance premiums

Meanwhile, motorists are being warned that most insurance policies do not usually provide coverage for vehicle modifications, whether illegal or not, unless it is specifically mentioned. And even then in most cases an additional premium is usually required.

Lim advises motorists to check with both the LTA AND the insurer on the limits of modifications.

"You won’t want to find out one day after being involved in a serious accident that the policy is not valid because of illegal modifications done by you or the previous owner,” said Lim.

Apart from the implication to your insurance cover and premium, offenders can be fined up to $1,000 or jailed for a maximum of three months and their illegal modifications could void their warranties.

Meanwhile, beware that there are some insurers who might reject your claim if your car has been modified. At DirectAsia.com, though, your car insurance policy will still be valid if your vehicle has been modified so long as these are LTA approved.

For more information on LTA guidelines regarding modifications