An overview on the perils of not declaring motorbike modifications to your insurance company.
Too many motorcycle owners are failing to tell their insurers about modifications to their motorcycles either because they fear the changes will increase their insurance premiums, or because they don’t realise they need to. However, a recent review has shown that most common modifications actually have little or no effect on premiums at all.
This contrasts with failing to tell an insurer about modifications which could result in the insurer refusing to pay when a claim is made – particularly if the modification is a factor in the claim. Many of Britain’s bikers’ favourite modifications have virtually no impact on insurance premiums. These include modifications such as crash bars, crash mushrooms, road legal after-market exhausts, huggers, up-rated braking systems and a five per cent increase in engine capacity.
A common theme seen amongst young riders who are still on their provisional CBT licence is to declare their bike as restricted to the required power limit of 13Bhp when in reality it isn’t restricted. This obviously means that the power of the bike is more than what the insurers are providing cover for, and more than that, there will be legal problems for the rider should they ever be found out.
NOT ONLY COULD FAILING TO INFORM YOUR INSURERS OF ANY MODIFICATIONS INVALIDATE YOUR ENTIRE POLICY BUT YOU COULD BE PROSECUTED UNDER THE FRAUD ACT 2006
Fraud Act 2006
3. Fraud by failing to disclose information
A person is in breach of this section if he—
(a) dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose, and
(b) intends, by failing to disclose the information—
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
Under the new Fraud Act 2006 the new requirements are that, if you obtain any ‘money by advantage’ by not declaring any modifications you make to your vehicle, it could be viewed as fraud. If the Police find that you have not notified your insurance company of any modifications because you think it will cost you more in premiums, it will be deemed as fraud.
Modifications that should be declared include tinted windows, alloy wheels sports exhausts, body kit and performance increases.
Failing to declare them can potentially invalidate your entire insurance policy. The modification disclosure rule is normally found in the terms and conditions of a policy, with the onus very much on the policyholder having to inform the insurer, and not the other way round.