Drivers could be invalidating insurance with this simple mistake: Alloy Wheel

11 October 2018, 10:52

Drivers could be invalidating insurance with this simple mistake

With over four million* used cars sold so far this year, GoCompare is warning drivers to check for modifications to avoid invalidating their insurance.

  • Less than 2% of drivers claim to have modifications on their car.
  • Drivers could have modifications they’re simply not aware of.
  • Failure to tell insurers about modifications could invalidate your car insurance.
  • Anything classed as non-standard on the car is classed as a modification.
  • Alloy wheels, suspension and exhaust system changes top list of car modifications.
  • Insurers’ definitions of modifications include tow bars, roof racks, parking sensors and tinted windows.

With over eight million used car transactions in 2017 and over four million so far this year* – the used car market in the UK seems to be remaining steady.

When choosing a used car, there are many things you’re advised to look out for. Whether that be miles on the clock, condition under the hood or service history, but GoCompare is warning drivers to check beyond the hood to spot modifications, to avoid invalidating their car insurance.

Research has found that only 1.6%** of drivers are claiming to have modifications on their vehicle, suggesting drivers simply may not be declaring any added extras.  

When calculating the cost of car insurance, providers consider many factors. Any modifications to your car, which aren’t classed as factory standard - even aesthetic changes such as specialist paintwork or decals - will affect the cost of replacing your vehicle should it be damaged or stolen.

Some of the more popular modifications on cars are non-standard alloy wheels (25.2%), exhaust system changes, (15.1%), suspension changes (15.1%), along with optional extra alloy wheels (14.0%) as well as tow bars (13.3%) and tinted windows (10.7%).

Top 10 Modifications

% of Customers with Mods with specified Mod

Alloy Wheels (non-standard)


Exhaust System Changes


Suspension Changes


Alloy Wheels (optional ex)


Tow Bar


Tinted Windows


Air Filters


Parking Sensors


Chipped/Engine Management


Complete Body kit


While some of the least popular modifications for cars included altered pedal configuration (0.4%), high level brake light (0.4%), rally lights (0.3%), dual controls (0.3%), Increased performance badges (0.3%) and nitrous oxide kits (0.1%).

Bottom 10 Modifications

% of Customers with Mods with specified Mod

Altered Pedal Configuration


High Level/Extra Brake Light


Flared Wings


Dual Control


Increased Performance Badge


Blue Printed


Rally Lights


Nitrous Oxide Kit


Magnetic/Removable Signs




Matt Oliver, spokesperson for GoCompare car insurance, said: “While modifications may ring bells of the bygone boy racer, it’s worth remembering that insurers don’t just class body kits, exhaust systems or suspension changes as vehicle modifications. 

“The average used car buyer could find there are modifications they’re simply not aware of. Typically, modifications are anything which isn’t standard on a car, which could include alloy wheels, a satellite navigation system or even tinted windows – so it’s always worth checking what the factory standard is for your model of car to avoid landing in hot water when it comes to making a claim.

“Under 2%** of drivers are claiming to have car modifications, but we estimate this figure to be much greater, which leaves potentially millions of drivers open to invalidating their insurance and having their claims rejected.

“Different insurers have different views on what constitutes a modification – so it’s always wise to tell your insurer of changes or additions you make to your vehicle at the time of making them.  

“Otherwise you could find yourself in the situation of having a claim rejected and possibly your car insurance declared void - that could affect your ability to be insured full stop, and not only for car insurance.

“Shop around and look for the best deal that suits you and your car, and if in doubt, check the service history for any modification and speak to your insurance provider.”

- ENDS -


For further information please contact:

Anders Nilsson 01633 654054 / Martyn John 01633 654725 / Louisa Marsden 01633 655132

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare


Notes to Editors

*According to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

**According to data from GoCompare, all quotes between March 2018-September 2018, compared to last quote per customer with modifications added.

Percentage of modifications table data derived from quotes between March 2018-September 2018, based on last quote per customer.

About GoCompare

GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

GoCompare does not sell its customers’ data.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

GoCompare is the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

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Contact Information

Louisa Marsden

Senior PR Executive


01633 655 132