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Pimping your ride? Your insurer needs to know

Image by Peter Benoit from Pixabay.

Image by Peter Benoit from Pixabay.

Published Jun 10, 2022


For many South African drivers, putting your own stamp on your car is a must. But before you hit the road with a free-flow exhaust, new body kit, low profile tyres and custom rims, make sure you’ve told your insurer, or you might find yourself in a tight spot when it comes to claim time.

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When it comes to pimping your ride, not all modifications are equal. Some may not affect your insurance premium much – like a custom paint job or a set of mag wheels, for example. Other add-ons, like dash cameras and tracking devices, might even reduce your monthly premium. But anything that affects the performance of the car must be disclosed, says King Price Insurance’s client experience partner, Wynand van Vuuren.

“There are plenty of after-market extras and modifications that you can do to your car that are seen as extras, like a high-end sound system, that actually increase the value of your car, and must be included in your monthly premium. By the same token, anything you do that changes the performance of the car, like an after-market turbo charger or dropping the suspension, will influence the risk, and must be disclosed,” says Van Vuuren.

And if you’re going to get extreme and install nitrous oxide cylinders in your vrrpah, you won’t only make yourself uninsurable, but you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law as well. Extreme modifications that affect the safety of other road users, including radically-lowered suspension or over-sized wheels, could render your vehicle unroadworthy.

“There’s a clear onus on you to inform your insurer of any modifications you make to your car, as they may affect the risk and the premium payable. A simple rule of thumb is to tell your insurer about anything that didn’t come standard on the car, from wheels to sunroofs to new sound systems. That way, you’ll know what’s covered and what isn’t, if the worst happens,” says Van Vuuren.