What Will Modifications to Your Cadillac CTS Do to Your Insurance Coverage?

Part of the joy of owning a beautiful car like the Cadillac CTS is making modifications for peak performance and appearance. You have dreams for that baby, but will the insurance man share those dreams? What should you tell your provider and what is likely to be covered? These are the kinds of questions you want to ask before you have the work done. Understanding the relationship between car modifications and insurance saves time and money and guarantees that your coverage will remain intact along with your vision of the perfect ride.

Preconceived Notions on the Part of the Insurer

Any time you modify a car, your insurance provider is going to be operating on some preconceived assumptions from the “git go.” These include:

  • Modified cars carry a greater value therefore if there is a claim, the insurer will be out more money.
  • Modified cars are more attractive to criminals and therefore carry a higher attached risk.
  • Modified cars are meant to be driven fast, therefore the driver’s chances of being in a crash are higher.

    Every one of these items could be true, but none are absolutes. For any modification, be prepared to educate your insurer. Have documentation showing exactly what has been done to the car, how it effects the value of the car, what the cost of repairs or replacement would likely be, and how the car will be driven and stored to protect it from theft and damage.

    Not Every Modification is Equal to Another

    That’s just common sense, and we’re not talking about the cost of the modification itself. Remember, insurance is all about perceived risk. An improved braking system will make your insurance company very happy because the perception will be that you’ve made your Cadillac CTS safer. Other changes the company is likely to respond to favorably include:

  • Security devices and precautions. Insurers like cars that are kept under lock and key and that are outfitted with devices to monitor, track, and locate the vehicle in the event of a theft.
  • Limited driving. If you can illustrate that your car is driven a limited amount of time under verifiable conditions, like weekends or on summer holidays rather than serving as a commuter vehicle, the perceived risk will be lower.
  • Club or group membership. Drivers who belong to enthusiast organizations illustrate a genuine love of their vehicles that translates, in an insurer’s estimation, to greater maintenance and care.

    Now, on the other side of the coin, an insurer is apt not to look so favorably on:

  • Extreme modifications. This is anything that shows a car may be used in a reckless and unsafe fashion. While you’re not likely to outfit your Cadillac CTS with a nitrous oxide injection system, that would be an example of an extreme and potentially dangerous modification to the car.

    Tell All

    The best strategy is to disclose every single modification to the car with documentation. You may not think it’s a big deal, for instance, to change out the front seats, but your car insurance company may think otherwise. They’re going to be concerned about factors like visibility and the interaction with restraint systems and airbags. Never assume that anything is insignificant unless you want to flirt with losing your coverage.

    Watch your tone when discussing your Cadillac and what you have and haven’t changed. The more knowledgeable you sound about the equipment, the more likely your insurer is to assume you are a well-informed owner who has made reasonable and safe changes.

    Speak Insurance Talk

    Know the insurance terms you’re likely to encounter when going into a negotiation for coverage on a modified vehicle. These terms, for instance, may apply:

  • “agreed value” or “like for like” - This coverage terminology addresses what it cost to build the car and how much the coverage needs to be to reasonably build another car with the same specifications if a total loss has been incurred.
  • “modifications not covered” - No mystery here. Policies of this nature cover the car, but not anything you’ve done to it. Hopefully this is the kind of policy you can avoid.

    Generally the owners of modified cars manage to negotiate a position in between those two extremes. Some comparison shopping may be involved, but cars that are well built and well maintained will speak for themselves regardless of the modifications that may or may not have been made to them.

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