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Are the 17" Wheels a Modification?

2766 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Basil
Would you class the 17" S Spoke Wheels as a modification?

I am having to pay an extra £100 a year as my insurance company says that since I had to pay extra to have them fitted they are classed as a modification :eek:

What a load a cobblers :mad: As far as I am concerned if it is factory fitted then it is not a modification. However, should you then have a tinker and add say 18"Wheels then yes, fair enough as you have modified the car.

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Have to agree with you, who's your insurer and we can all e-mail them and tell them they're a bunch of chimps.
I've taken out insurance with Direct Line for my MINI One with 8-spoke alloys. The guy and I had a long discussion about precisely this point - he even rang the underwriters to check their view - and we agreed that the result is a bit farcical. Nevertheless, the view was that - as the alloys on a One are not "standard" equipment - they are counted as modifications even though factory-fitted. The justification was that having the alloys increases the value that the insurer would have to pay out to replace the car. I guess the same would go for 17"s on a Cooper.

I'm sure most people would never think to tell their insurers about this kind of 'modification'. I don't know what position would be taken if you just decided not to tell the insurance company and risk being paid an undervalue if your car was nicked. Could they claim that the fact you had 'nice wheels' made the car more attractive to a thief in the first place and therefore was a material disclosure which should have been made?

Anyway, my honesty cost me in excess of £100 too (eradicating, ironically, a not-insignificant proportion of the difference between insuring a One and a Cooper).

Does Smiffy have a view on this?


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Trust me I work in Car insurance & a modification is classed as something that isnt standard to the car. This applies to alloys, engine & bodywork mods & even salt, pepper & chili packs :) :(
Makes BMW's shortfall policy look pretty tasty, at least I'll get the value of all the bits back.
smiffy said:
Trust me I work in Car insurance
:D :D :D :D :D

No offence, Smiffy, but you invited some sort of response...;)

IndieBlueOne said:
What the hell do they mean by standard anyhow, I think the wheels are standard, they are round what more do they want.


PS./ It is arriving tomorrow for delivery on Wednesday:D
Factory Options are not Modifications For Insurance Purposes

Sorry to disagree on this issue but my experience with UK motor insurers is that factory options are not considered to be "modifications."

My MINI One has alloys, leather steering wheel, Salt pack etc but it is insured with Norwich Union on their standard rating scale (i.e. Group 5E).

Insurers must be very specific about the questions they ask if they are to rely on the information when deciding whether or not to pay a claim.

The IOB's view on this issue is quite clear: modifications or alterations can be taken to mean something giving rise to "fundamental changes to the original performance specification, with emphasis on ' fundamental'"

The ABI Statements of Practice impose an obligation on insurers to ask clear questions in proposal forms on all matters commonly found to be material. It is difficult for an insurer to argue that a matter is material if it has not asked a clear question in that connection.

If insurers started rating vehicles according to factory option packs then the ABI rating system would be of no use at all - every single BMW would have to have a bespoke underwriting procedure.

Only aftermarket modifications should be considered material and even then only if they affect performance or make the vehicle more attractive to thieves.
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Ricardo, I'd agree, your opinion is pretty much the same as my own. I was always of the belief that the ABI ratings took into account the full potential range of factory fitted optional euipment available from the company selling the vehicle - so if it is fitted by Beemer then its ok and still falls within the ABI grouping laid down when they do their risk assesments prior to assigning the vehicle a group.
Insurance and factory options ....

Originally posted by gonnandgotone
the ABI ratings [take] into account the full potential range of factory fitted optional euipment available from the company selling the vehicle...

That's exactly how it works. Any other system would be impossibly complex to work - for example, you'd have to rate a Cooper with the Chili pack as a completely different model, in a higher group. And almost every MINI made last year would be considered "modified."

NU's proposal form/statement of fact says "Have any changes been made to the maker's specification...?" Opting for bigger alloys, or CD changer, or Chili pack, is still part of the maker's specification - it's just an option.

As far as being under-insured is concerned, just make sure that you specify the true total cost of the car with all the options (i.e what you're paying the dealer). Insurers don't even use the value you state to work out the premium - unless the car is extremely valuable.

And make sure that your policy includes "new car replacement." That way the insurer will buy you a new car of the same specification, if yours is nicked or is damaged beyond 50%/60% of the new list price in its first year.

It's understandable to be cautious when dealing with insurers but if I'd made the "mistake" of being "too honest" about my options (like some people have) I'd be pretty miffed at being charged extra. Those that have been surcharged should ask for some money back!!
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I knew it

It is funny you mentioned Norwich Union because I phoned them up later on in the day and got a quote nearly £170 pounds cheaper,and I was honest with them, told them exactly what options I had on my car.

My current insurers are the same as 'IndyBlueOne' Direct Line, so needless to say I am going to change my insurance over tomorrow.

I was certain the wheels were not classed as a modification, but as in IndyBlueOne's case they consulted their underwriters who thought otherwise.

Thank you Ricardo for backing me up ;)You have been a BIG help:)


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Aftermarket wheels

When I bought and insured my MINI, 17" wheels were not available from the dealer so I fitted a set of aftermarket wheels to the car. I was up front with the insurance company (MINI-COVER at the time, now AA long story, see seperate post) and they told me that because they were not increasing the performance of the car, there would be no surcharge. The AA told me the same, so i guess it just varies between insurers.

they look at aftermarket wheels etc as a possibility of theft, ie gets stolen because the wheels look good, or the wheels are taken full stop.
I always took the view that ricardo has outlined.
if you modded it to obtain better performace via suspension/engine etc then yes I can understand the increase in premium, but dealer manufacturer options, then no they are classed as std equipment and the ins group placement should take this into account.
change your insurance company!
smiffy said:
Trust me I work in Car insurance & a modification is classed as something that isnt standard to the car. This applies to alloys, engine & bodywork mods & even salt, pepper & chili packs :) :(
The 17" S-spokes are an BMW factory "option" not an accessory or a modification. LMB's quote should be based on the value of the car purchased from the dealer. My forester comes with 16" Alloys from the factory. I don't pay a premium for these wheels. I did however pay an slight premium for my 16" rims on my Astra as these were fitted by me.

With all due respect, the insurance industry has gone berserk since sept 11th, and the massive HIH insurance crash here in australia, and a few other un-related events in other countries. Believe me I know, as I have a business to run which necessitates Public Liabilty insurances and many others. The premiums are sitting on my desk as I type and they have more than DOUBLED from last year.

Sorry but the insurance industry is not on my "happy" list at the moment........:mad:

Find another Insurer that doesn't try and rip you off LMB. There must be one out there somehwere !!!

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