Vehicle modifications/insurance/aftermarket parts

15 Dec 2009
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Whitby N Yorks
United Kingdom
Bit complicated but here goes.......

While our vehicles are under manufacturers warranty we know the warranty would be invalid if we fitted parts other than the ones specified by the manufacturer. The manufacturers will not accept aftermarket parts.

When our warranty has expired we might choose to fit cheaper aftermarket parts but how do we know these parts will be accepted by our insurers? Maybe they won't? The prescience has already been set by the manufacturer.

Fitting aftermarket parts is a modification and our insurers should be informed.

The point of this post is does anyone know where the responsibility lies to establish the suitability of these parts. Who tests & certifies them as being suitable and more to the point how can I persuade my insurers they are suitable.

Any ideas?

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Most of the after market parts fitted are designated as OEM parts
That guarantees that they are as good as the original equipment.
Cars are made from bits and pieces brought in from all over the place so if you think about it, even a brand new car is made from OEM parts.
manufacturers of anything will generally not accept any aftermarket parts for three reasons.

1) they have not been tested by them and as such their reliability is unknown....this leads to....
2)they are under no obligation to replace a part under a warranty that is not to their own specification especially if it then leads to a failure of another component or is suspected of doing so.
3)manufacturers of anything will often make far more money from the supply of spare parts than the original piece of equipment.

one thing worth mentioning about car parts is, with a little digging, the original spec parts from the original manufacturers supplier can often be found far cheaper from the likes of GSF, ECP and others.

the insurance scam merely makes a mockery of the situation. if the insurer is unlikely to find out that an aftermarket part is used i'll take my chances and not tell them.
The insurance side of things is only interested in modifications that either improve performance, increase risk of claim by driver or increase the appeal to car theives. If you are fitting standard engine components that are OEM then there is no increase in power, no extra appeal to make the car more likely to be stolen and the driver will get no extra benefit and be more likely to crash it. By all means, tell them, but they will not be interested, maybe make a note on their records. They will be more likely annoyed at such a trivial phone call when they could have been earning commission on a sale.
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What PJF220 said basically.

If fitting non-manufacturers spare parts caused your insurance to be void, they'd be no Halfords, Kwik-Fit, local motor factors or independent garages.

The only time insurers are likely to void your insurance is if the parts are non-standard to such a degree that they effect the performance, safety or steal-ability of the vehicle.
What I am actually proposing to fit is a new set of wheels & tyres. I have a Land Rover and there are 2 tyre sizes specified in the owners manual as being suitable.

7.50 x 16


235/85 R16

The vehicle already has the smaller 7.50 X 16 but these have worn out very quickly. I have decided I would like to fit 235/85 R16 but my existing rims will not accommodate these wider tyres. Hence the requirement for wheels & tyres.

A number of online suppliers are advertising sets of wheel/tyre combinations as being suitable for my vehicle. However the tyre sizes they are recommending in some cases are neither of the above. I am left wondering if they can be trusted.

I was hoping to establish the existence of a recognised standard for such car parts as is the case for some other products. I understand there is a German standard but it seems UK have not yet caught up. Hence the confusion.

I only every use OEM parts if pattern parts are not available, never given it a second thought, to me its not a modification, its replacing a worn part.

My towbar is a modification, and it didn't make a difference to my insurance, but it is noted, and is taken into account if my vehicle is written off (as it was not long ago) in the payout, as I would need to furnish my new motor with one.

non standard body parts probably incur an excess if its a fully comp policy, as costs to repair would be higher if involved in a bender, probably alos stereotyped by insurers as a higher risk.

Any mods that would increase the power would also probably increase the premium, rightly or wrongly, but where would the "its only 4 more BHP" stop?
7.50x16 so a 'proper' Land Rover not a Disco/RR/Freelander then?

Many years ago I had a fancy for a Hi-Lux with a truckman top and when I mentioned it to my local insurance broker he said because it was a commercial/agricultural type of vehicle, the insurers wouldn't be worried about minor mods related to its function.

Landies in particular come in such a baffling array of specifications that unless you got a set of bling-bling alloys I don't think the insurance company would care unless you claimed for having wheels stolen, in which case they might only reimburse you for the standard set.
My concern is not to do with whether the parts I purchase might/might not be replaced by the insurers in the event of an accident or theft. It is more in the case of a "worst case scenario". My vehicle is involved in a fatal road accident and my vehicle is carried away on the back of a police trailer to be gone over with a fine tooth comb for any suspect components.

I am aware of a case where a Land Rover was involved in an accident (no idea how serious) and when the insurers established the wheels were of a non standard type and in particular not to the approriate load rating they refused the claim.

Many years ago I had a Land Rover heavily sign written advertising my business with huge chrome "bling" wheels & enormous tyres. At that time the insurers were very relaxed about it but things have changed dramatically in recent years.

My BMW was fitted from the factory with 15" alloys. I've upgraded to the next shape M sport 17" which are wider and in my opinion, brings the car more up to date. I contacted the insurance and they simply said "They are still BMW wheels so that's no problem, no extra cost" If you fit another make, tell the insurance company and they can tell you if you will need to pay extra or if your policy will not allow them. If they give the okay, then they are now taking responcibility to the point that if you have a claim, they are fully aware the wheels are fitted. Aftermarket wheel makers can't just make a wheel and say 'don't blame us if it breaks, we don't test them' They have to do thorough testing to ensure the wheels are safe and fit for purpose, otherwise if the police when through your car with a fine tooth comb after an accident, they would be approaching the wheel maker with regard to them selling products not fit for purpose.
The insurance side of things is only interested in modifications that either improve performance, increase risk of claim by driver or increase the appeal to car theives.

Not true... I have the OEM hard-top with my roadster and it adds approx £50 a year to the premium. To insurers it counts as a modification, and it would not be replaced in case of damage to the hard-top or write-off of the whole car.

I explained that it was an OEM part, the insurers didn't care.

I explained to my insurers that the hard-top makes it harder for thieves to break in, the insurers didn't care.

I even explained that the extra weight slows the 0-60 time, they didn't care.

They then explained that despite the extra cost, the hard-top itself is not covered.

So, a "modification" that is manufacturer-built and approved, OEM-supplied, decreases performance and makes it harder to break in STILL increases the insurance premium.

To give a sense of proportion, the roof adds £50 to my premium, but when I got them to quote on adding a +100bhp nitrous oxide kit they only wanted another £100...

And let's face it, no-one installs nitrous without the intention to give it some welly...
There are always exceptiions. You should try and prove the car was fitted from the factoory with it so it's not a modification, depends what roadster it is, a local club might back you up with a letter even if your actual car was not spec'd at the factory with the hard top. I had a mate with a Calibra turbo that had the factory fitted body kit. His insurer wanted to add a premium because it had a body kit fitted and it took quite a lot to finally get them to understand that you cannot buy that special edition without the bodykit. Talking to a manager tends to help!

Though hard tops are a bit of an issue, They add a risk of theft as the hard top for my 3 series is worth in the region of £600 second hand and like a lot of hard tops, can be quite easily stolen without breaking in to the car. There is a market for the second hand hard tops and therefore increases the risk of a claim where damamge may have been made to the car in the theft of the roof. In other words, you could be making a claim for damage despite the fact they are not covering the actual hard top itself.
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