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Peaklander

Vehicle insurance and declaring "modifications"

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I recently challenged NFU, the insurance broker for my 110 300 TDi about the premium increase this year. I had declared my Eberspächer heater, Roamerdrive and heated front windscreen and the price went up more than I expected year on year. During the to-ing and fro-ing  whilst they thought about a reduction (which they eventually provided), I asked Adrian Flux for a quotation. They have a great system where they won't quote on-line and instead will do a call-back, seven days a week.

I had to go through the whole details stuff with the call-centre person of course but it is a lot quicker than filling-in an online form. Eventually we got to modifications. So I mentioned the heater, OD and windscreen. Also the removal of seats, oh yes and the heated mirror upgrade I did.

Anything else sir? What other things are modifications I asked? Well anything none standard. OK well there's boost alloys with 235 tyres. OK, anything else. I've just fitted an A bar. OK. How much detail do you need to know? Everything. Right so what's defined as everything? Everything that has changed. Even if you have added a sticker. A sticker? Yes. Are you serious? Yes.

So I listed everything and got my premium cost and paperwork. They undercut the NFU quotation but I didn't like the look of the paperwork such as "if the vehicle isn't in a locked garage after 10pm and before 6am we will not pay for theft". Or something similar. So I got the feeling that actually making a claim might be a huge challenge and decided to stick with the NFU.

Has anyone else been advised or felt the need to state absolutely every nut and bolt that's been fitted as non-standard? Or did I have a conversation with a slightly OTT operator?

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When I raised the question of modifications to my Volvo with Saga they were only interested in modifications which would increase performance, affect safety or make it more desirable to steal.

For example they weren't interested in a modification I did to the wiring 

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47 minutes ago, Peaklander said:

Has anyone else been advised or felt the need to state absolutely every nut and bolt that's been fitted as non-standard? 

As nothing more than an owner of a used vehicle. How do you know what isn't standard and what is? Some items may be obvious. But Boost alloys for example. Unless you are an "expert", how would you know if they were or weren't standard fit on any particular model year?

My point being, unless they want to inspect the vehicle. Then there is a very finite limit to what you should be claiming as non standard.

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I insure with NFU for my 110 and I had to send an engineers report to get them to agree cover. (It's a 1989 110 CSW with a 200Tdi, rear disk brakes and a 2 tank cooking oil fuel system).

My 90, (not yet on the road), is with Flux.This is as near as I can get to standard given its age. Once it is on the road, I will probably get it covered by NFU.

Insurance as a special contract with much of the terms covered by law. The underwriter is entitled to know exactly what they are covering and if you don't tell them the contract will be void from issue. They get the set the level of detail, so 1001 stupid questions is the order of the day. If you materially mis-state, you are not insured.

Once the claims start, it will be up to you to show that you were truthful; that can be difficult, but you do have to deal with the burden of proof. If it goes pear-shaped, the final arbiter is the insurance ombudsman or the courts. If an undisclosed fact is immaterial, then the insurance company cannot use it against you. 

I have always found NFU fair, if not cheap. 

(According to the local rozzers, a sticker or two is likely to reduce the likelihood of your P&G getting nicked!) 

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My 110 is with NFU & has been since 1995, told them about the galv chassis & rear disc conversion, reverse camera kit, my yearly premium went up by 26 quid & that was 7 years ago, I can't be bothered to keep changing to different insurance each year. 

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My worry with flux is that you declare everything, I mean everything, then next week put a new sticker in it, will they use that to wriggle out of a claim? 

I was with them for a couple of years, on renewal I asked them over the phone what mods were on the policy, as I wasn't sure what else I had done - and they couldn't tell me. 

I declined their offer of renewal. 

Subsequently I went with Academy Insurance, that do a 'all mods allowed and off road' policy for about the same money. 

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It's a bit late so no time for a big reply. The discussion and experiences is interesting. I am an older driver with a long no claims and no accident history and my premium is cheap. So casting around for competitive quotations isn't something I normally do for my 110. It was just the annoyance of a reasonable hike when I added the items I mentioned to an already modified and declared vehicle, that prompted me to look around.

The contrast between Flux and the NFU was stark and it was Flux's insistence on details that NFU are not interested in, that really got me wondering. They are brokers after all not underwriters. As usual with renewals across the insurance industry, a slight push back following an increased premium usually produces a revision. It was the attitude of Flux and the need to specify everything that really shocked me and for what ended-up being a few pounds, it just isn't worth the risk.

Academy insurance is a new one. I'll put them on the list for next time.

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I tried Academy a while back - it was like talking to an African prince who wanted to share a fortune with me and just needed my bank details but didnt know what a land rover was - i was seriously unimpressed. 

I stayed with NFU at the time. Flux were useless and have been every time I tried them for a quote. 

About two years ago I changed to Cornish Mutual as NFU seemed to be goIng up and when I rang them the YTS girl on the phone couldnt care less. 

Cornish Mutual halved my NFU (fully comp, unlimited miles inc business use) quote and didnt care about any modification that does not enhance performance. They were very good and very efficient. I had a full loss incident in another car and they paid up very quickly without a fuss. I would recommend them but you have to live in the southwest I think. 

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Think about it from a perspective of being in court after an accident.  With Flux, all your mods are listed and they can’t wriggle out.  NFU could state they weren’t told about it and void your insurance, potentially bankrupting you (and leaving you open to prosecution for driving without insurance).  ALWAYS give insurers a full list of modifications or major works, and always have them return it to you via email or hard copy with an office stamp or signature confirming their receipt.

For what it’s worth, I had an accident with my 109 after it’s rebuild, and because of the cost of the damage, Flux sent about an assessor.  The £15k agreed value paid dividends in that case - the assessor told me the thought it must have been a misprint and the value £1.5k until he saw the vehicle, but as soon as he saw it, he signed off on the repairs.  Because everything was declared and documented (I even referred them to my blog so they could see how the work was done), they didn’t have much leeway to get out of the claim, and the assessor could see it was legit and had no qualms.

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I believe your still insured 3rd party even if they decide not to pay out on yours.

When I was much younger I put a 4' Panasonic sticker in the back window of my car to mock a friend who put a 2' kenwood sticker in his. Someone broke in and pinched some of the audio and I totally blame the sticker 🤣

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I have been with Flux for around 20 years all mods declared  have not spoke to anyone but filled everything in on paper the only query was what qualifications did I have to be able to carry out the modifications told them I was s time served maintenance fitter they were happy with that policy has always been good value to date although I've never had to make a claim so cannot comment on that side regards Stephen 

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1 hour ago, Stellaghost said:

I have been with Flux for around 20 years all mods declared  have not spoke to anyone but filled everything in on paper the only query was what qualifications did I have to be able to carry out the modifications told them I was s time served maintenance fitter they were happy with that policy has always been good value to date although I've never had to make a claim so cannot comment on that side regards Stephen 

Me too, but only for 15 years or so.  Flux offer me a "classic car" policy, which includes the "must be locked in a garage after 10pm" clause which I've been using for years on my Disco (which is not classic!).  However, if I'm not at home, it doesn't have to be locked in a garage ~:-|

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Both our 110 and ibex are through flux all mods declared (although what's a mod and what's not is up for debate on the ibex). The 110 had a car pull out on it while the wife was driving (named driver) flux were very helpful although the claim ended up going direct to the 3rd party insurer. I've had kit or modified cars all my life and used flux for most of them. Equally I know a couple of people that have had no end of trouble with them. Make of that what you will.

Mike

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4 hours ago, Cynic-al said:

I believe your still insured 3rd party even if they decide not to pay out on yours.

When I was much younger I put a 4' Panasonic sticker in the back window of my car to mock a friend who put a 2' kenwood sticker in his. Someone broke in and pinched some of the audio and I totally blame the sticker 🤣

You may be right about third party payouts, but that still doesn’t help with liability for passengers or for your own vehicle or injuries.  It still leaves you open to prosecution for lack of insurance or insurance fraud, too.  It’s just not worth the risk to me.

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I'm with flux on two vehicles and I've always found them to be fine - they have reasons for asking about stuff we don't care about because a sticker is just a sticker to us, but to boy racers they might've spent hundreds on stickers or graphics or a vinyl wrap that would be part of a claim, just like they might have a 10k stereo in a 5k car or gucci fluffy dice etc. etc.

However... as part of the agreed value insurance Flux not only ask for a list of modifications but also photos of the inside & outside of the vehicle so IMHO if they have those they can't argue about a sticker or whatever as they have the photos.

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17 minutes ago, FridgeFreezer said:

because a sticker is just a sticker to us, but to boy racers they might've spent hundreds on stickers or graphics or a vinyl wrap that would be part of a claim

Or it's a sticker like this:

image.png.e049cf97efe6125ea7addec129082ab4.png

  • Haha 4

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I wouldn’t want to insure drivers with “One Life” stickers, but I know where I’d want to shove the quote... 😉

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All our insurance has been with NFU for a number of years. They don't seem bothered about modifications except VNT turbo (addit £60)  and roll cage (won't allow). They have paid up sensible amounts when needed without quibble - a refreshing change if you have dealt with some other companies (not just transport insurance) . My biggest issue with them is that they won't do agreed values. And yes, they aren't particularly cheap, but generally they do me give peace of mind.

Incidentally in the UK at least passengers are insured as third parties. 

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1 hour ago, cackshifter said:

 

Incidentally in the UK at least passengers are insured as third parties. 

Good to know.  I though it only catered  for those outside the vehicle.

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With NFU for several policies and now just finished a home insurance claim, car claim on my modified 90 few yrs ago.

Both were dealt with amazingly well, no problems at all and both times i was genuinely happy to have paid a few more quid in year for such amazing service.

In terms of mods i listed them all and offered to drive to local office to let them see it,   offer declined but thats ok as having claimed i am now totally satisfied they dont try to wriggle out of stuff.    Be honest from start and they will be great.

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When I first insured the 110 with A-Plan (Thatcham office) I declared the existing mods on it and enquired about what would happen when I fitted locking diffs. They apologies that they'd have to probably change the nominal £15 or whatever it was admin fee but it was really unlikely to affect the premium. The main reason for declaring it was that acknowledging Defenders susceptibility to being stolen was that I was at least financially covered for what was on the vehicle. I asked out of curiosity what mods would hike the premium? The answer was, um maybe a >5l V8 but probably not by that much.

I've been with them for a number of years now and the premium has stayed the same despite getting some points a few years ago and a bump that wasn't my fault abroad. Chap burst out laughing when my response to "what was the damage to your vehicle" was "um, I think he might have knocked some mud off". One of the really nice things is there's no switchboard and you get straight through to a person who knows what they're talking about, if the phone keeps ringing it's because no-one is available (extremely rare).

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My S2 is insured with Peter James, no mileage restriction, agreed value and they are not interested in the change of engine from a 2L petrol to a 2.25 diesel or the overdrive or the 750 tyres. It is kept on the drive and the premium is very reasonable.

Peter

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I am with NFU. The last time I had to clain, a no fault for me, I ws asked "any modifications" My reply  "it's my expedition vehicle" was met by "alright" and no further questions

 

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I think that it's a bit hard to summarise this thread as there's a lot of input which almost asks as many questions as it answers. The surprise really is that there is so much variation across the experiences on here. Why is that? The insurance companies can't be so different in terms of risks and assessments.

I laughed when I saw the reference to the sticker but it did create a (potential) claim.

On 12/18/2019 at 7:02 AM, Cynic-al said:

When I was much younger I put a 4' Panasonic sticker in the back window of my car to mock a friend who put a 2' kenwood sticker in his. Someone broke in and pinched some of the audio and I totally blame the sticker 🤣

 

The slightly more confusing point though is still what is a modification? Since renewing my insurance I have upgraded to a 110A alternator, I guess I'll have to declare that. Also I forgot to declare that I have changed to Sumo bars for Drag and Track rod.

 

On 12/20/2019 at 10:21 AM, mmgemini said:

I am with NFU. The last time I had to clain, a no fault for me, I ws asked "any modifications" My reply  "it's my expedition vehicle" was met by "alright" and no further questions

The odd thing for me is that NFU are certainly not as "picky" as Flux when it comes to declaring absolutely everything (including stickers) but they did ask a weird question. This was about the fitting of my Roamerdrive. "Was it done by a qualified mechanic?" I explained that it is a DIY fit although I had talked to the manufacturer directly about the unit (which is true). However the NFU office then said, "OK but it has been MOTed since you fitted it though, hasn't it?" Well yes it has but why is that relevant?

So this suggests that the broker is trying to ensure that they themselves have correctly asked all the questions or satisfied themselves that all is OK, or they refer back to the underwriters. This is the bit that seems to vary.

I will continue to try to remember all modifications and continue to declare them. I am certainly not trying to hide anything and for an annual premium of well under £300, I don't need to.

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Most motor insurance is on a broker to underwriter basis, (even when the underwriter is a captive of the broker; the broker owns the underwriter and places its business there) and the broker holds a binding authority. (They bind the underwriter to the contract with the insured person). 

The underwriter will have given the broker the criteria of an acceptable risk and the broker will be trying to ensure that whatever they pass to the underwriter matches the acceptable risk. Depending on the contract between the broker and the underwriter, there will be a hefty bonus for not passing dubious risks on the the underwriter and penalties can be levied for too many marginal risks or proposals out of scope.

The Roamerdrive questions sound like a roadworthiness check and nothing else. If they were being really picky, they might have asked for an engineers report.

(Sorry, I'm an insurance geek).

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