Car Modification in UAE: How it affects the Cost of Insurance Premiums

car modification- car insurance- motor insurance- Gargash insurance 25 Jan, 2023

Understand how car modifications influence insurance costs in the UAE. Get insights on premiums and considerations for vehicle customization. Read more!

Car Insurance for Modified Cars in UAE

Car modification is a popular trend among car enthusiasts in the UAE. From adding custom paint jobs to upgrading performance parts, there are countless ways to make your ride stand out. However, while modifying your car can be exciting, it's important to consider how it can impact your car insurance premiums.  

Quick Read Section:

  • Car modification helps car owners to replace and upgrade parts of their vehicle.
  • Car modifications in UAE can be categorised under three main types: aesthetic, performance enhancing and safety modifications.
  • Car modifications made after purchase can increase the cost of your premium.
  • It is a legal requirement for owners of modified cars to possess a 'Certificate of Modification' issued under the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA).
  • Car modifications done by third-party workshops may not get covered under most insurance policies.
  • Some car modifications do not affect car insurance plans and help in reducing the premium rate.


Read on to know all about car modification and how it affects your car insurance plan.

What is car modification?

Car modification is a process that involves making alterations to the parts of a vehicle according to the instructions of the owner. Modifying cars is a much-favoured hobby of car enthusiasts which they dedicatedly spend money and time for.

Automobiles in their factory version have generalised features that cater to the public, and not the specific interests of an individual. Car modification, on the other hand, lets you replace or install parts to enhance your vehicle’s features.

Car modifications enhance the performance and look of your car, along with making your ride more enjoyable. But did you know that the car modifications you do after purchase can affect your insurance premium? Read to know more.



Is my car a modified car?

Before you read any further, it is important to identify whether your car is a modified car.

Any changes made to enhance the speed, performance, or interior or exterior appearance of the car since purchase are considered as car modifications. These alterations can range from minute changes such as fitting a seat cover to major changes such as modifying the car’s engine.

Check with your insurance broker to see if the alterations made to your car since purchase are considered modifications or not. 

Some of the most common car modifications are changing the bumper of a car, fitting tyres with chrome rims, fitting turbo boosters and chargers, paint coatings, installation of sound systems, and changing internal or external lights.


What are the types of car modifications done in UAE?

Car modification in UAE can be categorised under three main types:

Aesthetic modifications: Aesthetic car modifications are alterations that change and improve the appearance of the vehicle. These changes will enhance the look and aesthetics of your car. These include:

  • tinted windows
  • painting the exterior of the car
  • changing alloys
  • fitting a sunroof for your car


Performance-based modifications: Performance-based modifications are alterations that enhance the functioning and velocity of the car. These changes will enhance the performance of the vehicle in terms of handling, acceleration, deceleration, braking etc. These include:

  • Car engine modifications/replacement
  • Suspension parts change/upgrade
  • Brake alterations
  • Installation of turbo boosters
  • Increasing horsepower


Car safety modifications: Car safety modifications ensure safe driving on the road and protects the car from theft and damage. These include the installation of gadgets and equipment such as:

  • anti-theft devices
  • luggage racks
  • reversing cameras
  • blind spot warning systems
  • lane keep assists systems
  • heads up display system
  • collision mitigating systems


Does modifying cars affect insurance?

Generally, car insurance companies only provide coverage for the manufacturing parts installed before the purchase of a car. The car modifications made after purchase called aftermarket can affect the rate of your insurance policy and increase the cost of your premium.

Always check with your insurance broker whether the car modifications you have made will affect your existing car insurance policy in any way. In the case that your car modifications are not covered by your insurance provider, then you need to consider purchasing extra add-on coverage for your car alterations.

Certain useful car modifications like installing a car alarm for safety, anti-theft devices or fitting roof and cycle racks do not affect your insurance plan, but rather help in reducing the cost of the premium. This is because safety car modifications reduce the risk of claims by lowering the risk of theft and damage.

Insurance premium rates also depend on the type of car you own and whether the modified parts are easily replaceable. Vehicles such as vintage cars have parts that are not easily replaceable, which means you will have to pay a higher premium.

However, it is always good to check with an insurance broker on how it can affect your premium rates before going ahead with the car modification process.


Why car insurance premium is higher for modified cars than regular vehicles?

Insurance premium rates are higher for modified cars than regular automobiles. This is because the probability of modified cars getting claimed on is higher than unmodified vehicles.

Performance-enhancing modifications like engine upgrades and the installation of turbo boosters increase the speed of modified cars. This increases the risk of the vehicle getting into accidents and high-speed collisions.


What is modified car insurance?

A modified car insurance plan offers coverage for aftermarket parts, unlike general car insurance plans that do not cover modified parts. Without a modified car insurance plan, your vehicle is at risk of theft and damage. Modified car insurance plans protect your car alterations from all possible risks, letting you steer without any worries.


Should I tell my insurance company that my car is modified?

Always make sure to inform your insurance broker of any car modifications you have made or that you’re planning to make in the future. Only then will you know whether the car modifications made will help in reducing the premium rates or hike the fee to a larger rate.

While purchasing a new policy, let your insurance broker know the list of modifications you have made to your vehicle beforehand. This will prevent your claim from getting rejected in case of damage or theft.

If you already have an existing policy, it is good to first check with your insurance company if the alterations you are planning to make will be covered under your existing plan.


Does car insurance cover modified cars?

The coverage for car modifications depends on the insurance policy you have chosen. Your car insurance policy may or may not cover modifications made to enhance aesthetics, speed, and performance.

Insurance companies may choose to cover certain pre-defined modifications as part of their comprehensive or third-party insurance policies. You will have to purchase additional coverage for the car modifications that are not covered in your regular policy.


What are the requirements for modified cars in the UAE?

In the UAE, it is a legal requirement for owners of modified cars to possess a ‘Certificate of Modification’ issued under the ESMA or Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (which comes under the Ministry of Industry & Advance technology, UAE). The certificate is issued after a thorough examination of the vehicle to ensure safety while driving your modified car on the road.  Only car modifications made through a certified dealer or showroom are accepted and not those by third-party garages or workshops.

Modified cars will have to undergo inspection at the center for inspection of modified vehicles. Approval or rejection of modifications according to predefined standards will take place at the center after which results will be sent to ESMA for the issuance of the certificate of modifications.

The purpose of the ESMA regulation is to guarantee that the modified vehicles meet the requirements for driving on UAE roads. This regulation helps car owners to verify the safety of any modifications made to their cars.


How to get insurance for a car that has been modified in the past?

If you are looking to acquire insurance coverage for a car that has been modified, the insurance company you choose will require you to present a ‘Certificate of Modification’ when applying for the policy. It is recommended to compare different insurance policies before deciding which one is the best option for you.

If you’re looking to buy a used car that has been modified, make sure to get the Certificate of Modification from the previous owner or seller. This will help you know if the modifications meet the regulatory standards and save you from any complications during inspections.


Is car modification allowed in UAE?

Car modification is allowed in UAE but is subject to the regulations made by the government. Specific guidelines must be followed by modified car owners while tinting their windows, altering the exhaust system, and making other changes. For certain car modifications, even a permit might be required.

For more information on the legal requirements for car modifications, contact your insurance broker.


What car modifications are legal in UAE?

Aesthetic, performance-enhancing, or car safety alterations complying with the ESMA standards and under an approved ‘Certificate of Modification’ can be made by car owners who wish to modify their cars. The ESMA Certificate of Modification is required to show that your modified car has been inspected and is safe to drive on road.

However, make sure to get your car modifications done by authorized dealers and showrooms. Car modifications done by third-party workshops may not get covered under most motor insurance policies. Moreover, car owners are required to submit receipts evidencing the modifications done while purchasing a car insurance plan.


How to get my car modified during the policy term?

If your car is already covered under an existing car insurance plan, then you need to inform your insurance broker about the car modifications you wish to make during the policy term. First, your insurance broker will check if the car modifications made are covered under your current plan. Then, the insurance broker will update your current plan and inform you of any additional charges or excess applicable on your premium.

Not informing your insurance company of the car modifications made will lead to your claims being rejected in event of any third-party damage, own damage, total loss etc.



Which car modifications don’t affect/reduce insurance premium?

Safety car modifications can reduce the cost of your insurance premium. As the security of your vehicle gets upgraded and the risk of theft or damage is lower, your premium rate can get reduced. Such a reduction in premium may be subjected to underwriting risks, prior claims record, driving history, age of vehicle, etc which can vary for different insurance companies.

These are some of the car modifications that reduce your insurance premium:

  • Anti-theft devices
  • Reverse cameras
  • GPS system and other tracking devices
  • Blind spot detection system
  • Adaptive headlamps


No matter what your car modification insurance requirements are, you can find the right options through an insurance broker at Gargash. We have a range of insurance policies, from a wide selection of car insurance companies to help you find the right insurance plan for your modified car.

Contact us today for personalized deals on car insurance.


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