Today’s technological innovations have provided solutions for challenges that once seemed insurmountable. Among these advancements have been modifications applied in vehicles, allowing motorists with disabilities to operate their cars. However, depending on the specific installments and number of changes made, these adaptive devices can be used by auto insurers to hike up premiums.
Since the term ‘modification’ has a racing-related connotation to it, insurance companies may be quick to jump the gun upon hearing that your vehicle has added equipment. As the perception of liability increases, the rates you start to hear from different insurers will do the same. When looking through auto insurance rate comparisons, it is crucial know to what extent insurance companies factor in these modifications, and how you can keep your payments low. Here are just a few things to keep in mind:
Companies Can Raise Premiums for Heavy Modifications
The more modifications in the car, the more likely insurers are to provide you higher quotes. Before looking for coverage, make sure the only alterations in the car are those that you require to operate the vehicle. Removing unnecessary modifications will lower your perceived liability, which translates into savings on premiums.
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, common vehicle modifications include:
-High or extra-wide doors
-Seat adjusters to move the seat in all directions (including up and down)
-Dashboard-mounted ignition (rather than a traditional steering column)
-Support handles to facilitate entry and exit
Know What Coverage Is Necessary
Depending on the equipment you have, different types of insurance may be required to keep them covered in case of damage. Consulting with an insurance agent when shopping around can help you understand the specific policies you do and do not need. This way, you won’t be overpaying for coverage that you might never even use.
As Automotive Mobility Solutions points out, the premiums for comprehensive and collision coverage will rise to accommodate insured equipment inside a modified vehicle. However, liability coverage will not change either way. Make sure your policy adheres to state requirements and provides the level of coverage you’re comfortable with in case of an accident!
Disclose All Modifications to Insurance Agent
Although more modifications generally means higher insurance premiums, being completely transparent when disclosing the equipment in your car is a must. If full disclosure isn’t provided upon attaining coverage, the unspecified equipment won’t be covered in case of damages, and may even cause your policy to be voided altogether.
Get Insurance for All Modifications
After you disclose vehicle modifications to your agent, make sure your vehicle equipment is covered. The reality is that you never know when one of these devices can sustain damage, and gambling on which ones you should cover can be a risky game. Although the insurance premium you receive will be higher, having coverage for these often-expensive modifications will give you peace of mind in case of an incident.
Know the Legalities
In 1990, the Americans with Disability Discrimination Act was enacted into law to ensure those who have disabilities are not discriminated against, and are granted equal opportunities across the board. This also applies to car insurance policies, as companies are strictly prohibited from refusing coverage or hiking up prices due to disabilities. However, as with any law, loopholes do exist and staying alert for these can help avoid any complications with your plan.
Motorists who require modifications to operate their vehicles are often stuck paying higher insurance premiums due to increased vehicle value. Although insurers are barred from refusing service on account of a disability, insurance jargon may allow for loopholes to justify their rate increases. Before shopping around, do some research on the process itself, common insurer gimmicks and your rights and responsibilities. Taking these measures will ultimately save you money on auto insurance, and protect you against any coverage-related issues in the future.