Motorcyclists have been told to carry on modding by specialist broker Bikesure – but urged to declare them all or risk disaster.
Riders who fail to declare all modifications can be left out of pocket in the event of a claim, or even without cover at all, leaving themselves open to prosecution for riding without insurance.
But underwriter Robert Balls said the broker would never turn down a risk based on the extent of modifications alone.
And he feared that recent media coverage sending mixed messages about the number of modifications allowed by insurers could lead some to under-declare.
“People are sometimes cagey about telling us about all the modifications, because they think they might not be able to get cover or the premium will be astronomical,” said Robert.
“Recent coverage is unlikely to help in that respect. But by failing to list all the modifications their cover could be worthless anyway, so it’s a false economy and could end up costing a lot more in fines, plus points on their licence.
“We will never decline a risk because of the number or extent of modifications, such as a full customisation, although there may be other factors that could influence underwriters, such as extensive performance modifications combined with an inexperienced rider.”
Being up front has other benefits, with some schemes offering like-for-like replacement on specific, listed parts, and lower premiums for some modified bikes than standard ones.
“The sort of person who pours blood, sweat and tears into making their bike something special has an emotional attachment to it and, as such, in our eyes, it can make them a better risk than someone who’s bought the latest sports bike off the shelf,” said Robert.
“It’s quite possible that we can get them as good as or is some cases a better deal than they would get on a standard bike. And if you’re open and honest you know that, in the event of a claim, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
What is a modification?
Most insurers class a modification as anything which is different to the manufacturer’s standard specification.
So a non standard set of wheels, a custom paint job, or up-rated brakes are all examples of mods that may not increase the premium, but need to be declared if you want them replaced on a like-for-like basis in the event of a claim.
Increases to the engine performance by more than 5%, an up-rated exhaust or a nitrous oxide kit are likely to increase the premium, but this depends on the overall risk profile.