Insuring Modified Cars in Thailand – Does this affect my Insurance Premium?

Insuring your car can be daunting enough as it is, without having to worry about any modifications on your vehicle. So, what do you do when trying to secure yourself the best possible insurance premium?

Whether you purchased a used car with existing modifications, or you would like to improve the performance and aesthetic of your motor in the future, you’ll need to know how modified cars, for better or worse, can actually affect your overall insurance premium.

Car mods: Cosmetic Vs Performance

Do not fall into the common misconception that cosmetic car modifications are unimportant and don’t need to be reported to your insurer. This is a dangerous mistake that can get you into a lot of trouble; particularly if you are driving around with modifications that you otherwise believe to be harmless, though are actually either A) Illegal or B) associated with higher insurance premiums.

Thus, if you’d like to avoid any unnecessary fines and would prefer to remain above board in the eyes of the law when it comes to insuring your modified car, then you should take a closer look at the various types of car modifications, and how they can influence your insurance policy.

Before we go any further, it is important to remember that any and all changes (no matter how small or seemingly insignificant) to your vehicle, should be reported to your insurer.

What are the popular types of car modifications and how do they affect car insurance?

  • Car Engine upgrades : If your motor already has an aftermarket upgrade (or whether you are planning on modifying it in the future), you should be aware that yes, it does indeed have an impact on your vehicle insurance. This is because when upgrading a car engine, you are quite literally altering the actual car speed and performance. Thus, any such performance modifications must be reflected in your up-to-date car insurance plan. If in the event, you were to have a car accident while driving a car with an engine modification that hasn’t been declared; you may face life-altering repercussions (particularly if said accident results in injury). In other words, performance upgrades are not to be taken lightly and must always be declared.
  • Bodywork upgrades : You would think that altering the bodywork of your auto wouldn’t affect your insurance, however, here are two rather compelling reasons as to why it must be declared:
    • A) Aftermarket bodywork tends to add value to an automobile and thus it must be declared and re-calculated within your auto insurance agreement.
    • B) Changing the bodywork on your car can affect the aerodynamic and safety claims in the event of a car accident. Unless declared, there’s no way for your insurance provider to gauge as to whether or not your cosmetic upgrade has made your automobile less safe, or whether it was a contributing factor.
  • Wheel upgrades : Wheels can indeed affect your insurance premium. Again, this is because they can add value to your car, but they also affect the overall performance of your vehicle as well (with upgraded tires especially). In addition, brand-new wheels make a vehicle more appealing to potential car-jacking. Any such modifications must be declared.
  • Spoiler upgrades : While primarily being used as a cosmetic upgrade, spoilers do affect the handling of a vehicle. This is in addition to being a potential visual obstruction in your rear-view that will indeed, have an effect on your insurance premium. If you have or desire a spoiler upgrade, you must declare it.
  • Exhaust upgrades : Of course, a new car exhaust can have a huge impact on the overall handling of a vehicle. Thus, you must safely declare your exhaust when having a new one installed.

Here are a couple of other car modifications that shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your insurance premium. Nonetheless, the bad news is that you must declare these changes to your insurance provider in any case.

  • Parking Sensor upgrades : Parking sensors can significantly reduce the risk of having an accident while parking your car, as such, this is often seen as a positive modification. So, this one, you definitely should be reporting to your insurance company, as it might even result in a reduction on your insurance premium (Of course, largely depending on the quality and manufacturer, including any other modifications made).
  • Tinted window upgrades : Tinted windows shouldn’t have all that much of an impact on your premium. However, you should report it to your insurance provider in any case. These can potentially be seen as a crime deterrent, resulting in fewer car break-ins.

Should I report everything from my modified car to my insurance provider?

The short answer is: yes. No matter how small or insignificant you think a modification might be, there may be ways in which it can either negatively or positive impact your insurance premium. As such, you must always declare them.

Are there any modified cars that are considered illegal?

A very important question: are there any car modifications that are considered to be illegal? The answer is yes! Here are a few that you should avoid:

  • Having an aftermarket car exhaust that is louder than 100 DB might land you in trouble with the law as well as your neighbours.
  • Any cars that have been lowered below 40 CM are considered illegal. Road Surface Level must be at least 40cm and raised no higher than 175CM (measured from centre of the car’s headlights).
  • Do not modify the car license plate under any circumstances. Any license plate changes must be done so through the appropriate channels.
  • Any modifications to your vehicle’s lights and their respective colors is strictly prohibited:
    • Brake lights must be Red
    • Power supply must be a yellow light
    • And your reverse lights must be white.
  • Changing your whole car color without permission is also illegal (you must inform Department of Transport and your Insurer should you choose to do so).

Again, any and all modifications to your vehicle—whether cosmetic or performance related—must be declared to your insurance provider. If you have a modified car (or plan to upgrade one), which wasn’t detailed on this page and you are unsure, please do not hesitate to contact us today. Our friendly and experienced insurance team will gladly answer any questions that you might have and point you in the right direction.

In any case, please stay safe out there on the roads. Eyes forward and don’t forget those blind spots!