A new investigation has found the surprise insurance risks that could cost drivers across the UK thousands of pounds.
In fact, it was discovered that even displaying sports team stickers on a vehicle could void an insurance policy.
Even paint protection, a service often offered on brand new cars, can be classed as a ‘modification’ by some insurers, therefore invalidating a policy.
Hugo Griffiths, consumer editor for Auto Express, who conducted the investigation in partnership with the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA), said: “While some additions to your car are obvious candidates for telling your insurer about, many motorists will be surprised by the strict definition of modification, and how even a sticker in the back window could void your policy.
“BIBA’s work and our investigation revealed, that there are two definitions of a modification available to insurance firms. While one considers a car unmodified as long as it is unchanged from the state in which it left the factory, another stipulates that factory-fit options could make a car modified.”
Auto Express tested the impact that ten common optional extras had on insurance premiums and found increases ranging from five per cent to over 177 per cent. A typical family car was used as a sample, with insurance quotations generated through a comparison site.
in the case of potentially controversial messages on stickers, it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself, or be prepared to share them with your insurer.”
The addition of stickers showing allegiance to a certain football team may raise the threat of vandalism in an insurer’s eyes – with the policy provider unaware of the increased risk unless informed by the vehicle’s owner.
Griffiths added: “Failing to declare something as humble as paint protection film or different alloy wheels could void a policy entirely, potentially costing thousands in the event of an incident, and even putting motorists at risk of a £300 fine and 6 penalty points.
“And, in the case of potentially controversial messages on stickers, it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself, or be prepared to share them with your insurer.”