In Texas, there are many factors that could influence your car insurance premiums, from your age and gender to your credit score and type of vehicle. But what about the modifications to your car? While it is tempting to make customizations to your vehicle, some of these modifications can end up costing you in the long run. Here’s what you need to know about auto insurance in Mansfield, Texas and how even the smallest car modifications can affect your auto insurance coverage.
What Is a Car Modification?
Anytime you replace, remove, or add a vehicle component or system that differs from the manufacturer’s original specifications, it’s considered a vehicle modification.
Regardless of whether the modification was made to enhance the appearance of the car or to make it perform better, the Texas Department of Public Safety has strict guidelines about what modifications are allowed and what are deemed illegal, especially in relation to a vehicle’s exhaust, safety, and noise emissions.
Some modifications are acceptable and don’t require the State’s approval, such as the addition of tinted windows or sporty rims or lowering the suspension. Meanwhile, other modifications like removing a vehicle’s muffler or obstructing the license plate are strictly illegal. These can result in hefty fines.
For a list of vehicle modifications that comply with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s guidelines, visit their web site here.
Why Do Vehicle Modifications Affect Insurance?
There are a few reasons why modifying your vehicle can affect your auto insurance coverage.
For one, it can impact the safety of your vehicle, which is why it’s important to speak with your car insurance agent in Mansfield before making any modifications.
Despite being legal, some modifications that could impact the safety and performance of your vehicle include:
- Tinting the windows
- Modifying the engine or performance (e.g. adding nitrous oxide)
- Modifying the exhaust system
- Modifying the vehicle’s suspension
- Modifying the brakes or braking system
- Modifying the vehicle’s transmission
- Modifying the vehicle’s horsepower
- Increasing or decreasing the tire size
Secondly, some car modifications can impact the vehicle’s overall value. Take, for instance, an aftermarket stereo system or customized rims. While these parts might increase the value of your vehicle, they also increase the risk of your vehicle being targeted for vandalism or being stolen. This is another reason why modifying your vehicle could impact your auto insurance coverage.
Lastly, as mentioned above, some vehicle modifications are just plain illegal. No matter what car insurance agent in Mansfield you choose, chances are it will be pretty hard to find one that is willing to insure a vehicle with illegal modifications.
What Modifications Are Covered by Car Insurance?
That said, some car modifications are covered by your auto insurance.
Typically, modifications for accessibility, appearance, or safety purposes are considered safe by car insurance agents in Mansfield. These are generally included in your auto insurance coverage.
Modifications for Accessibility
These modifications are usually made to accommodate people with disabilities (e.g. wheelchair lifts or special hand controls). While they likely won’t impact your auto insurance coverage, they could impact your premiums if they increase the value of your vehicle.
Keep all receipts associated with your modifications, so that if you need to file a claim with your Farmers Insurance agent in Mansfield, you can show proof of how much each modification cost you.
Modifications That Only Affect Your Vehicle’s Appearance
Modifications that are made purely for cosmetic reasons (e.g. spoilers and custom paint jobs) likely won’t impact your insurance premiums, unless they significantly increase the value of your vehicle or affect the safety/performance of your vehicle.
Make sure to check with your car insurance agent before making any cosmetic modifications, to see if any of these factors will affect your auto insurance.
Modifications for Safety or Security Reasons
Other modifications that likely won’t impact your auto insurance rate include adding safety features, such as enhanced braking systems or anti-theft devices (e.g. alarms). Since these features tend to increase the safety of your vehicle and lower your risk of having your car stolen, they may actually lower your insurance premiums!
Talk to your Farmers Insurance agent in Mansfield to see whether you qualify for any discounts on your car insurance.
Always Notify Your Insurance Agent about Modifications
Your vehicle is your pride and joy, so make sure any modifications you’re considering add to the value of your vehicle—and don’t cost you more money in the long run.
The best way to ensure your vehicle modifications are both legal and within the scope of your insurance coverage is to talk to your car insurance agent in Mansfield.
Keep in mind that it is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to inform the agent about any vehicle modifications and that an auto insurance agent will not inquire about or investigate modifications.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. The last thing you want is to get into a car accident and then find out from your car insurance agent that your car is no longer covered under your policy, because you made modifications to your vehicle and neglected to inform your agent. This could leave you liable for the damages and costs of the accident.
Talk to an Experienced Farmers Insurance Agent in Mansfield, Texas
If you’re looking for a qualified Farmers Insurance agent in Mansfield, Texas, Farmers Insurance – Crystal Schuder Agency can help you. We will take the time to help you find the right car insurance for the right price and explain your options if you have a modified vehicle. Book a consultation today to find the insurance policy that fits your specific needs and works within your budget.