What is a modified vehicle?
At Hagerty, some of the most frequent questions we receive involve modified vehicles, so we’re guessing you’ve heard these questions, too. Here’s a primer to help you provide your clients the answers they need.
For starters, these cars may fit into several different categories: street rods, hot rods, rat rods, lowriders, prostreet and tuners, to name a few.
What is the difference between a stock vs. a modified vehicle?
The common rule of thumb is a vehicle that has not been changed since rolling off of the assembly line is stock, but if modifications were made after it left the production lines it may need to be rated as a modified vehicle. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. For example: available factory options that were added at a later date , modifications that do not require structural modification, or basic custom paint jobs can still adhere to the stock car rating.
More specific examples of these exceptions include:
- Modern brakes or steering systems
- Leather upholstery or wool carpeting
- Electronic dash or digital gauges
- Modern sound systems valued at less than $5,000
- Aftermarket steering wheels or seats
- Ground effects
- Hood scoops or spoilers
- Different wheels or hubcaps
- Basic custom paint jobs valued less than $10,000 (including flames or decals)
- Performance upgrades that result in less than a 50 horsepower increase
NOTE: Vehicles can also still be considered for the stock rate if they have only had an engine replaced and the current horsepower is equivalent to what originally came in the vehicle .
A vehicle is considered modified if it has been structurally altered, if the performance has been significantly increased or if it has a custom paint job valued over $10,000. Examples of cars that require a modified rating include:
- “Pearlized,” “Candy,” “Chromallusion” or heavy “metal-flake” paint
- Painted/airbrushed graphics or murals
- Chopped, dropped, channeled, sectioned, tubbed or frenched
- Performance upgrades that result in a more than a 50 horsepower increase
- Addition of a blower, supercharger or turbocharger
- After-market tires with low sidewall height of 70 percent or less of the tread width, generally on 20-plus-inch rims, on a large-bodied vehicle similar to an Impala or Cadillac from the 1960s.
**Hagerty reserves the right to change the stock/modified rate based on receiving a full set of photos and a Custom & Modified worksheet. Please set this expectation with your client.
Are there any modified vehicles that Hagerty won’t cover?
Certain cars are so heavily modified that they do not fit our low-risk program. Most of these modifications have to do with performance. Examples of modifications that we are unable to accept include:
- Blown alcohol
- Nitrous oxide or nitro-methane
**Please be aware that liability coverage generally will not be offered on vehicles with more than 700 horsepower, although comprehensive coverage may still be available on a case-by-case basis.
How does Hagerty make sure modifications are covered properly?
Before issuing a policy on a modified vehicle, we require a Custom & Modified worksheet along with four colored photos; one of the engine, interior, exterior and inside of the opened trunk. The Custom & Modified worksheet tells us what modifications have been done to the vehicle along with the approximate cost for parts, and the photos give us a way to view the condition and how everything is arranged. In the event of a claim, the modifications would be covered. For example: if a client’s car has an extravagant paint job that would cost $11,000 to repair, one single scratch on the paint could cause the entire vehicle to require a repaint. This type of repair would be covered under our modified vehicle rating, and the client even gets to choose which shop does the repairs.
If a vehicle qualifies to be rated as modified, the premium may be slightly higher, but it is worth it to the client to have the extra coverage to ensure that all of the time, money and work they put into the vehicle isn’t lost in the event of an accident.