Lowering a car can potentially affect your auto insurance rates, although it’s not a guarantee. Insurance rates are typically based on a variety of factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the driver’s age and driving history, the location of the vehicle, and more.
When you lower a car, you may be changing its handling characteristics, making it more responsive and agile. However, you may also be compromising the vehicle’s safety, particularly if the suspension is modified incorrectly or if the car is lowered too much.
If your car is modified in a way that makes it more likely to be involved in an accident, your insurance rates may go up. Similarly, if your car is modified in a way that increases the likelihood of theft or vandalism, your rates may also increase.
Modifications to a car may not be covered by a standard auto insurance policy. If you make any changes to your car, it’s important to notify your insurance company to see if you need to adjust your coverage.
How will an insurance company handle a claim?
If you have lowered your car and need to make a claim in Ontario, the insurance company will handle the claim based on the specific circumstances of the accident or incident. However, because lowering a car can impact its safety and handling characteristics, it may affect the claims process in the following ways:
- Investigation: The insurance company will likely investigate whether the lowered suspension played a role in the accident or incident. If the modifications to the car are found to have contributed to the accident, the insurance company may deny the claim or reduce the amount of the settlement.
- Coverage: Some insurance policies may not cover modifications made to a car, or they may limit coverage for modified parts. It’s important to review your insurance policy to determine whether modifications are covered and, if so, to what extent.
- Premiums: If the modifications to your car are deemed to increase the risk of accidents or damage, your insurance premiums may be higher than they would be for an unmodified car.
How much more will my insurance cost?
The impact on your insurance costs if you lower your car will depend on a number of factors, such as the extent of the modifications, your driving record, and the insurance company you are insured with.
Lowering your car can potentially increase your insurance costs for a few reasons. Firstly, modifications to a car can increase the likelihood of an accident or damage occurring. Secondly, modified cars may be more expensive to repair or replace, which can increase the cost of insurance.
It’s difficult to estimate how much more your insurance will cost if you lower your car without knowing the specifics of the modifications and other factors. However, it’s possible that your insurance premiums could increase by a significant amount, particularly if the modifications are extensive and impact the car’s safety or performance.
If you’re considering modifying your car, it’s a good idea to speak with your insurance company or broker to get an idea of how the modifications will impact your insurance costs. They can provide you with a quote or an estimate of the potential cost increase. Keep in mind that it’s important to notify your insurance company of any modifications to your car to ensure that you have adequate coverage in case of an accident or damage.
What car modifications are legal in Ontario?
In Ontario, there are specific regulations around car modifications that must be followed to ensure that they are legal. Here are some examples of car modifications that are generally legal in Ontario, provided they are done in compliance with applicable laws and regulations:
- Tinted windows: It is legal to have tinted windows on your car, but the degree of tinting must not exceed certain limits set by the province. The front windows must allow at least 70% of light to pass through, while the rear windows can be tinted up to a certain degree.
- Exhaust systems: Modified exhaust systems are allowed, as long as they meet specific noise level limits set by the province. The exhaust must not be louder than the original factory exhaust system, and it must not produce excessive smoke or emissions.
- Suspension: Lowering your car’s suspension is allowed, as long as it does not compromise the car’s safety or performance. Any modifications must be done in compliance with the manufacturer’s specifications and must not be so low that they impact the car’s ability to navigate speed bumps, curbs or other obstacles.
- Wheels and tires: It is legal to install aftermarket wheels and tires on your car, as long as they meet specific size and weight limits. The overall diameter of the tire and wheel combination must not exceed certain limits set by the province.
- Lighting: You can install additional lights on your car, such as fog lights or driving lights, as long as they meet certain requirements. These lights must be aimed properly and cannot be so bright that they blind other drivers on the road.
- Audio systems: Upgrading your car’s sound system is legal, but the volume cannot exceed certain limits set by the province. The volume must not be so loud that it creates a distraction for other drivers or pedestrians.
- Engine modifications: You can make modifications to your car’s engine, such as installing a cold air intake or a performance exhaust system, as long as they meet specific regulations. These modifications cannot increase emissions beyond certain limits set by the province.
- Body modifications: You can make cosmetic modifications to your car’s body, such as adding a spoiler or a body kit, as long as they do not impact the car’s safety or performance. It is also important to ensure that the modifications do not obstruct your view or the view of other drivers on the road.
- Brakes: Upgrading your car’s brakes is legal, as long as they meet specific regulations. The brakes must be designed for the make and model of the vehicle, and they must be installed in compliance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Steering wheels: Installing an aftermarket steering wheel is legal, but the wheel must not be so large that it obstructs the driver’s view or makes it difficult to steer the vehicle.
- Seats: Upgrading your car’s seats is legal, as long as they meet specific safety regulations. The seats must be designed for the make and model of the vehicle, and they must be installed in compliance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Air intake systems: Installing a cold air intake system or a high-performance air filter is legal, as long as they meet specific emissions regulations. The air intake system must not increase emissions beyond certain limits set by the province.
It’s important to note that the specific regulations around car modifications can vary depending on the type of vehicle and the modifications being made. It’s always a good idea to check with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation or a licensed mechanic to ensure that any modifications you are considering are legal and compliant with provincial regulations.
What happens if I am caught with a lowered vehicle?
If you are caught with a lowered vehicle in Ontario that does not meet provincial regulations, you could face legal and financial consequences. The specific penalties for driving a modified vehicle that does not meet legal requirements can vary depending on the severity of the offense, but here are some possible outcomes:
- Fines: You may be issued a ticket for driving a vehicle that does not meet legal requirements. The amount of the fine can vary depending on the offense, but it can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
- Inspection orders: If you are caught driving a vehicle that does not meet legal requirements, you may be required to have the vehicle inspected by a licensed mechanic to ensure that it meets legal standards. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
- Impoundment: In some cases, if the vehicle is deemed unsafe or not roadworthy, it may be impounded until it can be brought up to legal standards.
- Insurance issues: If you are caught driving a modified vehicle that does not meet legal requirements, your insurance company may consider the vehicle to be uninsurable or may raise your insurance rates significantly.
- Suspension of license: In some cases, repeated offenses or serious violations of vehicle modification regulations can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
The penalties for driving a modified vehicle that does not meet legal requirements can be severe. If you’re considering modifying your vehicle, it’s important to ensure that the modifications are legal and compliant with provincial regulations to avoid any legal or financial consequences.