This year the Canadian International AutoShow drew in a record 320,000 attendees who drooled over the latest and greatest cars and car technology from automakers. And for the first time ever, the show featured a Street Tuner exhibit, showcasing cars that look like they came straight out of a Fast and Furious movie.
Street tuners are vehicles with modified equipment that improve performance or make them unique in their appearance. But even though they are completely legal for regular driving, most insurance companies shy away from providing coverage for tuners.
Insurance policies and rates are built around the value of the car they are covering, its likelihood of being involved in an accident, and its risk of being stolen.
Modifications change the monetary value of the vehicle. Aesthetic changes can increase appeal to thieves. And safety becomes questionable when the car can accelerate faster and noise from tuned exhausts can alter driving behaviour. With that being said, some insurance companies do not have adequate coverage policies for cars modified for speed and performance. But there are ways to still protect your hot mod.
Cool Cars by Deadmau5
Check out these cars owned by Deadmau5 - electronic/house music producer and performer. Both cars were modified with factory options from McLaren and Lamborghini. Most automakers have a performance division for modifications (for example, Mercedes has the AMG division, BMW has the M division). When cars are tuned by the manufacturer or if the modifications are just cosmetic, it is easier to find insurance. Deadmau5's Lamborghini and McLaren are wrapped with unique colours and graphics by Sekanskin.
1936 Ford Pick-up
There are many street tuners just made for show, and only transported to and from shows. They are entered into competitions or used for business to showcase and sell after-market parts. Typically, to ensure you are covered for the value of the vehicle, an appraisal is required and the vehicle will be insured to the value based on the appraisal.
Racing Street Tuners
2010 Ferrari 458 Italia with Twin Turbo System modification. Engine produces 700 horsepower.
2012 Audi R8 GT with Twin Turbo modifications. Engine produces 850 horsepower.
Eurocharged Canada also rolled out some awesome tuners. These cars are highly modified to go fast and let it rip on the race track. Want to take it for a spin? Well, you are going to need track day insurance. A track day insurance policy will pay for damage to your vehicle on the day of a race. It is a policy that is purchased for one specific event unlike a regular auto policy which is usually purchased for a term typically one year. This vehicle does not include liability coverage and protects only the value of the vehicle. To cover any liability for damages including injury and damage to other vehicles, you will likely need to purchase a commercial auto insurance policy.
And if all else fails, some people can insure legal street tuners through Facility Association - a not-for-profit organization that offers insurance to licensed drivers when they are unable to get insurance through the voluntary insurance market.
Insurance rates compensate for a large part of the total ownership cost for any vehicle. Be sure to check with your insurance company to verify if your coverage will change before making any modifications to your vehicle.
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