Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Agent for 15 Years Rachael Brennan

Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • Owning a custom car means that you have a unique vehicle, one that has been modified or altered from its original state
  • These custom cars may have superficial modifications that affect their appearance, or they may have physical modifications that affect their performance
  • When you go to purchase insurance for a custom car, the provider you are considering may have specific conditions you have to meet before they cover your vehicle
  • The cost to repair or replace a custom car is expensive, and the drivers of these vehicles may engage in high-risk behaviors
  • Make sure you speak to multiple insurance carriers to determine their rates and the coverage options they provide custom cars

If you own a custom car, sometimes called a modified car, finding the right insurance coverage to protect your investment can be difficult; every insurance carrier handles this type of risk different.

Custom cars are compromised of a regular car that has been modified to look a specific way or has had unique parts added to it.

When you are looking for coverage, it’s important to remember that the modifications you have performed can have a big impact on the coverage options available to you.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best rate for the coverage you need.

The Basics About Custom or Modified Cars

A custom car, sometimes called a modified car, is different from other types of unique vehicles that insurance providers may provide coverage. Unique vehicles include:

  • Classic cars
  • Luxury cars
  • Antique cars

Classic cars are often modified, superficially or within the mechanics, to alter the appearance, performance, or both aspects of the car. These modifications are normally performed as aftermarket changes by the car’s owner.

There can be several different modifications that a car’s owner may perform, including:

  • changing or adding bumpers
  • changing wheels or tires
  • adding vertical doors
  • adding spoilers
  • adding accent lighting
  • new paint jobs
  • body modifications
  • new audio equipment

The cost associated with these changes often drives up the price of insurance coverage, as they can be very expensive for insurance providers to replace in the event of a claim.

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Proper Insurance Coverage for Custom Cars

Purchasing car insurance for a custom car is a little different than insurance for a traditional car; the comprehensive coverage of a traditional policy only provides a small amount of coverage for custom parts.

To properly cover your modifications or changes, you may need to add equipment coverage on to your policy, which is an additional coverage form that your provider may be able to add.

If you make alterations to your vehicle and do not purchase the correct coverage, you may find that some of your claimed losses will not be covered.

It’s important to inform your provider of modifications and confirm what coverage they provide. Your insurance provider will often need to understand what modifications have been made, how much they cost, and if there is intent to perform further alterations.

Things to Remember About Custom Car Insurance

One of the most important aspects of any custom car insurance policy is the potential exclusions that your policy may contain; exclusions are situations that prevent your policy from covering you in the event of a loss.

Two of the most common exclusions for custom car insurance are the following:

  • Reporting exclusions
  • Racing exclusions

Reporting exclusions can mean two different things when it comes to a custom car policy. Your claim may be denied or rejected if there has been an extended length of time between your loss and the actual reporting of your claim.

You should report losses to your insurance carrier sooner rather than later. Additionally, if you fail to report modifications or changes to your vehicle, your provider may not cover those in the event of an otherwise covered loss.

Racing exclusions allow your insurance provider to deny a claim or coverage if your vehicle is damaged during a race; the legality of the race does not matter in this case.

This exclusion may vary based on your state, the racing conditions, or the insurance carrier’s specific policy conditions and terms.

It’s important to make sure you confirm how this exclusion may apply to your policy; some states allow racing on a racetrack under clearly specified or defined circumstances.

Illegal modifications are never going to be covered by your insurance provider, so make sure that any alterations you make are legal and follow required guidelines.

As mentioned before, failing to report changes or alterations can lead to your claim being denied, or if can lead to your claim being partially settled. You may incur financial losses for any modifications you did not report.

Your provider may retain the ability to cancel, void, or non-renew your policy if you make modifications to your custom car without reporting them.

Failing to disclose these types of changes can introduce additional risk to your provider that they did not assess during your initial policy purchase. Your provider may also need to increase your premiums if you make too many changes from what you originally reported.


Custom cars have some risk exposures that are the same as traditional cars, but they also have several that are unique or specific because of the type of car.

If you own a custom car, you may find yourself exposed to more opportunities for financial loss than someone that is driving a traditional car. This higher risk often comes with the purchase of unique or specific parts that are added to your car to modify it.

When you are looking for insurance coverage, make sure to understand the policy conditions of any policy you purchase, including limits of coverage and coverage exclusions.

There may also be conditions that you have to meet to get coverage for your car, which can include:

  • installing anti-theft devices
  • storing your car in a secured location
  • restricting the drivers that may operate the vehicle

Remember that custom or modified cars face an increased risk of being stolen or vandalized, especially when you have high-performance modifications in place or attention-grabbing superficial alterations.

Reducing your risk is often essential to finding a policy within your price range and a provider willing to cover your car. You may need to speak with the provider you choose about potential discounts you can qualify for or steps you can take to lower your risk exposure.

Compare car insurance quotes today to make sure you have the best coverage at the best price for your custom car.