Is Leather, iPod or BlueLights a 'modification' for insurance purposes? - Civinfo
 
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 8th September 2007, 14:24 Thread Starter
 
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Is Leather, iPod or BlueLights a 'modification' for insurance purposes?

I got my new Civic SE yesterday! It looks great and I will enjoy driving it.

Got Driveaway Insurance for 7 days, am now trying to sort out insurance for after that, but one question they always ask is "Has the car been modified beyond the standard manufacturer's specification."

I tend to answer 'Yes' to this because I had Honda install the following additional upgrades:

- Leather heated seats
- iPod Connector
- Blue Ambient Footwell Lights

However when I search online I see many insurers won't give quotes for modified vehicles, and the ones that do are expensive.

Am I incorrect in thinking these items are 'modifications' - what do other people do? I'm just conscious that I don't want my insurer to have a wait out of paying a claim on the basis that I misdescribed my car for the quote...
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 8th September 2007, 14:32
 
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If the car was bought with the bits fitted then no it isn't modified. Is the car brand new and these are dealer fit options or is it secondhand with them already fitted either way as I understand it they are standard.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 8th September 2007, 15:26
 
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The best thing to do is call them and explain what the 'extras' are that have been installed. I suspect they will be OK with your items. I would then ask for written confirmation of the agreed items and then you should be fine (get them listed on the policy). What you don't want to do is to say nothing and then find you are not covered on a technicality, because if they can get out paying they will.

As an example I bought a brand new VW Beetle out of the dealer showroom. The dealer had fitted different Alloys and tyres, nothing to OTT, just different. When I called the insurance (VW Insurance by the way) had to declare these as they are 'not standard manufacturers specification' even though they were VW alloys, fitted to a brand new VW car by a VW dealer. I had an increased excess on the car because of the wheels and tyres.

The items you have added are not as obvious and therefore might not incur the same problem, BUT you are better checking and getting your car covered fully.

Just adding a different HiFi counts as 'being modified' by some insurers.

Ian
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 8th September 2007, 16:19
 
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Frankly, I would find it incredibly demeaning if your insurance company asked for more money for those extras. The leather, at least, is a factory option, and so is a standard with the car. Having to declare dealer fitted ipod connectors or little lightbulbs is ridiculous.

Next you'll be telling me the car mats I ordered for mine will need declaring on my insurance policy. Or a CD I place in the glovebox. These things can only go so far.

I would not bother to declare such things. Exterior features like bigger alloys, bodykits etc. yes (supposedly more tempting for thieves - god knows why you have to pay for the temptations of the scum of society), but not minor interior details.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 8th September 2007, 17:41
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Insurance companies are only interested in modifications that affect the performance or characteristics of the car or significantly increase the value. i.e fitting bodykits, new alloys, engine tuning.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 11:33 Thread Starter
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Thanks for your responses.

It is a tricky one because the insurer asked about 'optional extras' and things like the Leather Heated Seats, the iPod Connector, and the Blue Lights are optional extras. However these are very different things from a souped up engine, 3rd party stereo, blah blah.

In the end I have said "No, the car is a standard Honda model with standard accessories" because that is the truth.

The worry is what Parky says - what if they try to deny a claim because of a technicality. I reckon I will just argue the toss on that one though.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 12:28
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czechplastik View Post
Insurance companies are only interested in modifications that affect the performance or characteristics of the car or significantly increase the value. i.e fitting bodykits, new alloys, engine tuning.
Does leather not increase the cars value? The leather is not standard with the car. How can it be an optional extra and be standard? It is manufacturer fitted - agreed, but that does not make it standard. If the owner says they have a Civic SE, then the insurer knows that as 'standard' that car comes with cloth seats (NOT leather). So if they try to make a claim and say I have a Civic SE with leather seats the insurer will say 'leather is not standard on that car' and you risk not being covered.

I am just suggesting that it is better to be 'safe than sorry'.

If you tell them the truth, i.e. exactly what the car it like, then you will not have any problem later.

What happens if you damage the leather seats in the car? A spill, sharp object, etc. When you claim they may say "the leather is not standard on that model and you never told us about it".

When they ask for the value of the vehicle, what you must do is tell them the price of the car including the all the extras, and list the extras. I am sure they will not charge more for the insurance, except perhaps a little bit due to the higher value of the car (i.e. the increased risk of loss)

If the car is stolen or a right-off and you claim for it and you have not included the value of the extras in its value then that is classed as insurance fraud. This is because you are seen to be undervaluing the insured item and therefore get a cheaper price. They could refuse to pay for the extras or at worse invalidate the claim (which they can legally do).

Ignore these people who seem to be saying 'take the risk' don't tell. They will not come to your aid and compensate for your loss if your insurance is cancelled.

With insurance you should 'always' provide as much information as you can, yes you might be charged more. If you don't and omit to provide some information that the insurer deems important to your cover then they will cancel your insurance when you try to claim. State the facts and pay what is due, then you are getting what you pay for - full cover.

One of the main points of insurance for the car owner is to remove the risk of loss of money. What you are doing by not declaring the extras is taking that risk yourself, but still paying the insurance company to do it.

I really do think that you will not be asked for more money to cover the extras, BUT they and the car will then be covered. At the moment without telling the insurer you don't know if you car is covered or not, and will only find out when you try to claim.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 12:37
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floop1977 View Post

The worry is what Parky says - what if they try to deny a claim because of a technicality. I reckon I will just argue the toss on that one though.
And you would lose, no doubt about it.

You were asked the question and said 'No', they will even pull out the recording of you answering the question to prove the point. (Remember you were warned the call was being recorded).

Your statement itself implies that you re not sure you are covered, but yet you still feel you want to take the risk and argue the point when you try to claim. Why would you risk over £15,000 (or what ever the value of your car is), for the sake of a few pounds (or maybe nothing). Do you want to feel you have got one over the insurance company, because trust me you won't.

I have said enough on this subject now I think. Insurance is all about risk and what you should do is make sure you are not taking any at all when you insure yourself. It is just the same with house insurance, do you read the small print? Do you know what locks you 'must' have fitted, or that window locks 'must' be locked when you are out of the house, etc, etc. Probably not, but I tell you the insurer will know them, and if they can use these omissions to not cover you they will do, it is the whole reason for them putting them there in the first place.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 13:06
 
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Just to wrap up I will give you my example of how slippery insurance companies can be :-

I few years ago I caught a burglar in my house, he only managed to grab my wallet and car keys, but he ran off with them and I chased after him. I did not get very far, just down the drive when I tripped (I had no shoes on) and fell ripping my trousers and grazing both knees. The wallet and car keys where never found. I tried to claim for the following :-

1. New wallet and cash in it - House insurance paid for this minus the £75 excess, so I got £35.
2. Driving license - house insurance did not pay for this as documents are not covered (Cost me £30 for a replacement I think)
3. New trousers - house insurance did not pay for as I was outside the property and therefore not covered. (Cost me £20 to replace)
4. Replacement car keys and locks - not covered on car insurance (read the small print) - (New key and locks cost me £475). I made sure this was covered on my next policy!

To add insult to injury the car insurance company also charged me £20 for a replacement insurance certificate as my original was in the stolen wallet.

So even though I was fully insured and through no fault of my own I was over £600 out of pocket - so much for insurance!!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 14:05 Thread Starter
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Parky thanks for your full and helpful replies. I recognise what you are saying about not risking the value of the car for the sake of a few pounds, I think the dispute however is what constitutes 'modifications' or 'optional extras'.

When I talked through the leather, iPod Adapator and Blue Lights with the customer representative on the phone, they told me that they had a list of tick boxes that should be tick for categories of these 'modifications'. There were about 30. Most were things like 'bored engine' or 'new horn', that kind of thing. The only thing my add-ons would fit under was 'Interior Modifications'. That is a very vague category and seemingly would cover a lot of things.

They followed up by saying that their insurance wouldn't cover any of these modifications and upgrades anyway, they would only insure up to the standard spec of the car from the manufacturer. So I figured that even if these items should be listed as modifications / 'optional extras' / upgrades in answer to their earlier question, the fact that they won't pay out on these items makes it somewhat a moot point.

Thanks again for your helpful posts.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 14:29
 
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As long as you discussed the extras with them you should be fine, especially if you gave them a value for the car which included them.

Ian
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 18:29
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I can understand declaring something like leather or glass roof, as they add value and would be costly to replace. Safest thing is probably to declare something which you could anticipate having to claim for.

Things like ambient lighting or door step garnishes wouldn't fall into that category for me.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 18:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floop1977 View Post
Parky thanks for your full and helpful replies. I recognise what you are saying about not risking the value of the car for the sake of a few pounds, I think the dispute however is what constitutes 'modifications' or 'optional extras'.

When I talked through the leather, iPod Adapator and Blue Lights with the customer representative on the phone, they told me that they had a list of tick boxes that should be tick for categories of these 'modifications'. There were about 30. Most were things like 'bored engine' or 'new horn', that kind of thing. The only thing my add-ons would fit under was 'Interior Modifications'. That is a very vague category and seemingly would cover a lot of things.

They followed up by saying that their insurance wouldn't cover any of these modifications and upgrades anyway, they would only insure up to the standard spec of the car from the manufacturer. So I figured that even if these items should be listed as modifications / 'optional extras' / upgrades in answer to their earlier question, the fact that they won't pay out on these items makes it somewhat a moot point.

Thanks again for your helpful posts.
Hi
100% right in your enquiry to your insurance company.Did the rep. definitley state your extras were not required declared as they were factory fit options, or did he/she point you to the list of available categeries available to you-one of which was interior modifications, leaving you the option where and if to declare? (Pretty much agree with Parky's first reply and is the route I would take)

Last edited by cb550; 9th September 2007 at 18:38.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 19:05
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czechplastik View Post
I can understand declaring something like leather or glass roof, as they add value and would be costly to replace. Safest thing is probably to declare something which you could anticipate having to claim for.

Things like ambient lighting or door step garnishes wouldn't fall into that category for me.
You should declare everything. What is covered under insurance and what is important or not is not actually up to you it is up to the insurance company.

It does not matter if you think you will be claiming for it or not. That is not the purpose of the declaration or the insurance companies interest. They are interested in the risk and the facts. If they 'feel' the extras increased the risk to the car (regardless of if you think they do, or if you are going to claim for them) then they will say it has a material effect on the policy. If they were not declared and when you claim it was discovered your policy could be invalidated. WHY TAKE THE RISK? What are you gaining by trying to hide information?

The insurance company will try to avoid paying or providing cover if they can, that is why you should always read the small print and make sure you are not putting you and your property at risk of being uninsured.

Please do not provide advice to people that puts them at risk from loss, unless you are prepared to cover the loss for them.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 19:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parky View Post

Please do not provide advice to people that puts them at risk from loss, unless you are prepared to cover the loss for them.
I'm not giving advice, I'm giving opinion which is why I referred to myself in my last post.
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 19:34
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czechplastik View Post
I'm not giving advice, I'm giving opinion which is why I referred to myself in my last post.
But it give the impression that it is the right thing to do, which may not be the case. He asked for advice, not an opinion.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 9th September 2007, 23:55
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Whilst I can certainly see CZ's point, I can also see Parky's (how diplomatic is that )

With regards to leather seats - yes, absolutely 100%, should be declared.
Imagine the (gawd forbid!) scenario - 2 identical Civs parked next to each other.
Except one has leather.
In the eyes of low life scum, the leather seated one is the one they will take, purely because they know it is worth more (either as a whole car, or broken down for spares).
Adding leather therefore increases the risk.

By how much, and how much they load your policy price by, is down to your insurers.
And then up to you to decide if you want to accept that policy, or shop elsewhere.

However.
By not telling them, if (again, gawd forbid!), the car is stolen, then the insurers have a ready made loophole to turn around and say "sorry - but you didn't tell us of the increased nickability of your car, go jump". Leaving you somewhat out of pocket.

For me, from a personal point of view, would I tell them that I had fitted LED sidelights instead of the standard Honda ones?
No. I wouldn't.

Not, however, because I shouldn't - but because I'm a lazy git at heart.


When it comes to insurance, the safest option is to do just that. Play safe.
At the time of getting the quote, list each an every single box that you ticked on the option sheet when you ordered.
The put it in writing.

If you want to be extra safe, send the letter recorded delivery.

For the sake of the extra couple of quid per year vs the chances of them not paying out £15K to £20K...
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 10th September 2007, 00:04
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I agree with TT.
I know from the past, that fitting a spoiler, even if its supplied by Honda and fitted by the dealership, the insurance companies want to know.
They consider the car more nickable by boy racers .
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 10th September 2007, 02:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parky View Post
But it give the impression that it is the right thing to do, which may not be the case. He asked for advice, not an opinion.
I know where you're coming from parky, not my intention.

Hug and make up?
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