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Re: Insurance coverage questions...
As an Agent, my experience tells me that a company would be hard pressed to
deny any liability claim even if they could prove the alterations were the
sole cause of the accident. They may (depending on the amount of
damage,death, etc.) put up a stink, but I don't think they could get out of
it. The one stumbling block might be your original application. Auto
applications almost always include a question about alterations to the
vehicle. Obviously a V8 in place of a V4 would result in a "Y" response.
If you honestly aswered "N" and later altered your vehicle, there would seem
to be no mis-rep on your part. Since applications are usually done only
once (renewals automatically process each year) the subject would never come
up again. You think about the guy who goes out on Friday night and "alters"
himself into a drunken state, drives & kills, the company is on that claim.
Although I've never experienced your example, it seems like small potatos.
Forget about recovering your own investement though. If you want the
company to replace a V8, they better be insuring a V8. I'll be checking
some resources and getting some more clerification.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 23, 1999 12:33 PM
Subject: Insurance coverage questions...
> This weekend, I was at a local Honda salvage yard to pick up some
> for my sister's '88 Accord LXi and struck up a conversation with a kid --
> under 25 years old but definitely over 18 -- who has a slammed '89 Civic
> something or other.
> Me: "How come you're playing around with a Honda instead of a *real*
> Him: "This was my mother's car so I got it cheap. It's also pretty nice
> drive every day and cheap to maintain and insure."
> Me: "Is insurance really that bad for young people these days?"
> Him: "It sure is ... I tried to buy an '89 Dodge Conquest last year but
> insurance was going to cost me almost $250 per month, which is more than
> twice what I'm paying for the Civic."
> Me: "Yeah but what if you put a turbo on that instead?"
> Him: "It doesn't seem to matter. The insurance agent only seemed
> about whether I'd installed any stereo stuff in it and had an alarm system
> and not whether I'd made any other modifications to it. I've been
> about adding a turbo and it seems like there are quite a few kits out
> that sell for $3000 or less. Of course, nitrous is the cheapest way to go
> but refilling the tank every week seems like a pain."
> Me: "I remember 10 years ago when kids your age were buying and insuring
> 4-cylinder Mustangs and Camaros then dropping V8s into them ... is this
> happening today?"
> Him: "Yeah, I've got a friend who did that but who wants a Mustang?"
> On the drive home, I started thinking. In the UK, my friend tells me he's
> required to notify his insurance carrier about any changes he makes to his
> car, even to the point of installing different size tires on the factory
> rims, and they then adjust his insurance premium accordingly. He finds it
> hard to believe that here in the US, I could, in theory, drop a Chevy V8
> my 200q and not report this to my insurance carrier, let alone have to pay
> higher premiums because of it. He said if he doesn't report everything,
> risks having his claims denied.
> I've sort of danced around this issue with my insurance agent since I'm
> enough not to ask a question to which I don't already know the answer but
> lately I've been wondering if I'm leaving the door open for trouble down
> road when I wipe out the proverbial school bus full of kids in my 2.5L
> with 140hp more than it had when it left the factory.
> Has anybody ever investigated this matter thoroughly? Are there any
> insurance agents out there who are willing to clear the air on this for
> As much as I would hate to pay higher premiums, I'd hate even more to have
> big accident then have my claim denied because I'd modified my car.
> Am I supposed to be reporting this kind