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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In light of the information provided by MarcR regarding insuring of optional extras in this thread I decided to start looking at insurance in a bit more detail, in the hope it could help out when it comes to renewals or taking out insurance on our brand new cars.

Here are some of the ones I have looked at so far:

Admiral: A modification is any change to the car away from the manufacturer's standard specification (including optional extra's), such as changes to the bodywork, such as spoilers or body kits, changes to suspension or brakes, cosmetic changes such as alloy wheels, changes affecting performance such as changes to the engine management system or exhaust system

Axa: A modification is any change to the manufacturer's original specification or features. That includes things like new stereos, body kits or spoilers, alloy wheels, new paintwork, and any performance enhancement.

Aviva: A modification is an alteration to the specification of the vehicle which was not included when the vehicle was first registered. Modifications include features to improve performance, appearance, comfort or safety. They do not include minor additions like mud flaps, floor mats, seat covers etc.

eSure: A modification is any alteration or change to the manufacturer's standard specification for your car, including optional extras fitted to the car when new by the vehicle manufacturer or dealer, which improves its value, performance, appearance or attractiveness to thieves. This includes, but is not restricted to, changes to the engine, engine management or exhaust system, changes to the wheels or suspension system, changes to the bodywork, such as spoilers or body kits, paintwork or changes to the windows, such as tinting. It also includes any modifications or changes made by previous owners.

Churchill: any changes to your car's standard specification, including optional extras. These include, but are not restricted to, changes to the appearance and/or the performance of your car (including wheels, suspension, bodywork and engine) and include changes made to your car by the previous owner(s)

Please be aware that the information here is correct at time of posting and may change. I'll try and get a few more up here when I get a chance to dig up the information.
 

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As I said, they all have a slightly different take on it. Unsurprisingly, they are not very clear.

Please also bear in mind that if you use go compare or compare the market, they may ask the question differently as well. For example compare the market ask 'has your car been modified in any way?'

They then say 'A vehicle is considered modified if it has been changed in any way since it was first supplied by the vehicle manufacturer.'

Therefore under this question optional extras would be okay as they are included when the car is first supplied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yep - they aren't very clear.

Ironically I was just looking at some of the comparison sites and their wording is as follows:

Confused: Modifications are non-standard changes made to the car after manufacture. These include new spoilers, alloy wheels, exhaust pipes, changes to the engine capacity etc.

Gocompare: A vehicle has been modified or adapted if it's been changed from the manufacturer's standard specification in any way.

Correct me if I am wrong, but those wordings could cause issues if someone bought say a policy from Churchill via Confused.com. They could be thinking that they are okay with the factory fitted parking sensors not being declared because of the description on Confused, but according to the wording on Churchill they need to declare them.
 

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drey_p said:
Yep - they aren't very clear.

Ironically I was just looking at some of the comparison sites and their wording is as follows:

Confused: Modifications are non-standard changes made to the car after manufacture. These include new spoilers, alloy wheels, exhaust pipes, changes to the engine capacity etc.

Gocompare: A vehicle has been modified or adapted if it's been changed from the manufacturer's standard specification in any way.

Correct me if I am wrong, but those wordings could cause issues if someone bought say a policy from Churchill via Confused.com. They could be thinking that they are okay with the factory fitted parking sensors not being declared because of the description on Confused, but according to the wording on Churchill they need to declare them.
Drey, you are absolutely correct. Once you go to the insurers site you need to check the question again!
 

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drey_p said:
Correct me if I am wrong, but those wordings could cause issues if someone bought say a policy from Churchill via Confused.com. They could be thinking that they are okay with the factory fitted parking sensors not being declared because of the description on Confused, but according to the wording on Churchill they need to declare them.
Yes, I agree. There's usually a warning or reminder to check the actual policy details as this can apply to all sorts of clauses. After using a comparison site to find the best deal I normally check the top 3 or so to work out which is really the best - some are often unsuitable for various reasons. Cover for business use, in particular, has different interpretations.

Some of the wording above is clear but some is ambiguous. It's not at all obvious what a "standard specification" is. For example, the 17" alloy wheels and heated leather seats are standard specification for an Elite but not provided on the "standard" Astra. Even Intellilux headlights are arguably "standard" in the sense they are part of the car, as built by Vauxhall, rather than a third party add-on.

In practice I suspect the price difference is minor and where there is ambiguity like this, I think the insurer would struggle to argue that you were in breach by not declaring a factory fitted option.

Full disclosure is probably the best option, to be on the safe side, but perhaps discuss it with an agent over the phone rather than doing it online and also record the date and time of the call in case you ever need to reference it. (This is invaluable in case of any dispute with a company).
 

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drey_p said:
eSure: A modification is any alteration or change to the manufacturer's standard specification for your car, including optional extras fitted to the car when new by the vehicle manufacturer or dealer...
Even this is open to interpretation as it is not clear what "optional extras" refers to. Does it mean any modification or optional extra, or does it mean a deviation from the standard spec+optional extras.
 

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I'm with UKtekkie on this one.

"A modification is any change to the car away from the manufacturer's standard specification (including optional extra's)" can be read two ways, it could be read that a modification includes optional extras, or that standard specification includes optional extras fitted when the car was new.

If we assume that it excludes optional extras then that could be difficult for people buying a second hand car. In a few years time if someone were to go to a dealer looking for a second hand car they may see an Astra K SRi with heated seats. Unless you know the model who's to say that these were an option. We all know they are because we've been looking at the cars new, and poring over the brochures, but unless the car comes with it's original invoice or a sales brochure a future purchaser may not.

If we assume that factory fitted options are fine, then that can also cause problems. Someone I know once had a Mondeo Ghia, and he fitted the factory optional spoiler to it. The car didn't leave the factory with that spoiler, (although it could have done) it was added when it was a few years old. Now my friend knew this, so he would have been able to tell his insurance company. A future purchaser of the car would again not necessarily be any the wiser. Even if he researches the model it would show as a factory option, so no need to tell the insurers, except that particular car didn't have it from new, it was fitted by a previous owner, so it does need to be declared. What a minefield.
 

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Hi.Is it not the case insurance companies have rewritten the rule book For every thing to be in there favour regarding modifications.Most motorists do not know you have to notify you're insurance company.Say installing a CD player.This makes your car more attractive to a beak in.I Have been reading a lot of what you must report and the list is quite big.I was amazed at what you have to tell them even a Towbar and a racing style strip.Im not an expert on insurance but it's like you said it's a mine field also thank you for taking your time to inform us with all the above information it's great that members can get help on this forum
 

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I would recommend that any options added to the standard specification of the car are declared to Insurance Companies, but they do all differ. My Astra J has a VXR body kit which was put on the car as an optional extra from new. The insurance company I used at the time (LV) stated as it was put on the car in factory it was not classed as a modification. However last year I had an accident and the rear lower skirt was damaged and needed replacing. I was insured with Admiral at the time, and they would not cover this part as it was classed by them as a modification! So all Insurance companies seem to differ, so every time you change Insurance companies, best declare any options over and above the standard spec of the car.
 

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The Insurance Act 2015 comes into effect later this year. I will try to put something on here about it as it will have an impact on this.

I will have a chat with my colleagues first as I normally deal with businesses rather than private insurance, and just want to get their take on the implications for private car insurance.

However, if in doubt tell the insurer. It is always better to pay an extra amount on the premium than to have your claim kicked out, or policy cancelled by the insurer!
 

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Thanks again.Your 100% Correct in what you say.If in doubt phone and tell them.Its better to pay a few extra pounds rather than have a claim denied for not Informing them.Its always better to be safe than sorry.I look forward to reading your future posts on Private Policy's
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I go to work and come back and there are loads of replies! Keep the conversation up guys! :) I will try to look at a few more insurers and add their terminology to this thread, that way it may make it easier to refer to when taking out insurance.

I look forward to your input tomorrow MarcR - it'll be great to have some insight from someone in the industry. Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise.
 

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Its a mine field. I know what I am doing and some of those insurer responses confuse me.

How can they expect the public to get it right?

I am going to try to get hold of the Association of British Insurers to see if they have a steer on this subject.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That'll be great, thanks for doing that! I am very interested to hear their interpretation of the whole thing. I imagine they will probably pass it back to the individual insurers. Isn't the wording supposed to be clear and in plain English? LOL

Here are some more insurers I've looked at:

DirectLine: Modifications are changes to your car's standard specification, including optional extras. These include, but are not restricted to, changes to the appearance and/or the performance of your car (including wheels, suspension, bodywork and engine).

LV: I couldn't find anything in their policy documents, but did find this on their site if you do a quote. You need to tell us about any changes that have been made to your car (since it was first registered) that may alter its performance or appearance..... You don't need to tell us about:
changes to entertainment and audio equipment and optional extras that were fitted by the manufacturer when the car was new / first registered


The AA: A modification is any alteration to a vehicle that was not part of the manufacturer's standard specification, or that was not fitted as an option when the vehicle was manufactured.
 

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Have spoken to the ABI, they have asked me to email them with examples.

I will do this later when at home on laptop as copying and pasting in iPhone is arduous.

Explained that if I as a broker do not know what the insurer is asking, then how can the public know?

They will get their motor insurance people to look at this and respond.

I will report back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think you raise a very valid point - if you don't get it, how can the rest of us?

Hopefully this will bring about a change in the way that the industry does things which will make it easier for both the insurers and their customers
 

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A friend has just ordered a Kia Sportage and I told him about this insurance business. He is with Admiral and phoned them and was told the items they object to are tinted windows Because there are lethal limits to the opacity and alterations to the power output of the engine.
If he has other mods like a tow bar etc etc he should inform them and they will update his policy details.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It does definitely depend on the insurer Cornishtaz.

Slowcoach - I have used Admiral in the past and they are pretty good when it comes to modifications. They are also noted for insuring vehicles with modifications, but, the policy wording seems to class optional extras as modifications that you need to declare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
MarcR - did you hear anything further from the info that you sent through to ABI?
 
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