Guide to performance car insurance
- Factors such as high performance, high value, rarity and attractiveness to thieves mean insurers see performance cars as high risk
- Search Gocompare.com for multiple polices from regular and specialist insurers and use our other money-saving tips to get the right cover
- If you struggle to find an appropriate deal consider going through an owners' club or sourcing another specialist policy provider in person
High-performance cars tend to come in all sorts of appealing varieties, any number of which can entice us to buy them.
The fortunate few may enjoy cruising in their Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Aston Martin, Porsche, Mercedes, Jaguar or Bugatti.
Many more will be happy enough in the manufacturer's souped-up version of a more common production car, while the enthusiast may have implemented performance enhancements themselves through modifying their motor or even building a kit car.
But there's one group that tends to be somewhat less enthusiastic when it comes to performance cars... the companies that the driver has to turn to in order to insure them.
Car insurance firms typically treat performance cars as a higher risk than many other vehicles because the statistics tell them so.
Such motors are able to reach high speeds in a short space of time, meaning that accidents are both more likely and more serious than in lower-performance models.
What's more, younger drivers are often attracted to performance cars and this group of motorists are considered the highest insurance danger.
In addition to the driver risk, the cars themselves and their high-level components are likely to be more expensive and rarer than in standard models, meaning that repair and replacement costs can be significantly higher. They can also be more attractive to car thieves.
Check your car's insurance group to get an idea of the risk assessment.
All of this means that you may have resigned yourself to paying a high premium as part of the expense of owning the car of your dreams.
Of course, price may not be your primary concern and we help you use information from independent researcher Defaqto to ensure your prized vehicle has the right level of cover.
But there are measures you can take to cut the cost of performance car insurance and put your money to better use (perhaps paying for the fuel that your power-hungry pride-and-joy may be guzzling!).
Money-saving tips for performance car insurance
The first step is, of course, to search multiple policies using a comparison site such as Gocompare.com.
We help you quickly and easily assess your options from both regular and specialist car insurers, reviewing policy features as well as price.
Specialist insurers may be more sympathetic to a performance car than a more mainstream firm - each company will treat the risks associated with a particular car in its own manner, so searching multiple options is a great starting point.
If you can't find a deal that appeals, consider going direct to a specialist firm or broker. You may be able to find one through an owners' club for your performance car and it's also possible that being a member of such a club could qualify you for discounts, as well as helping you meet like-minded individuals.
Beyond that, our regular tips for cutting the cost of car insurance will also apply, so think about things like limiting your mileage and parking in a safe location overnight.
Some insurers recognise advanced driving course qualifications such as a certificate from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, and training of this sort could prove invaluable if you're handling a high-performance motor.
Improving security is another popular money-saving tip and this can be particularly valuable on a performance vehicle which may be a prime target for car thieves.
The concept of telematics is perhaps less likely to appeal to performance car owners, but if you drive your vehicle sensibly and within the law this is another possible way to save money.
Classic performance cars
You may find that it's cheaper to insure your car if it's rated as a classic... the complication being that there's no standard definition of a classic car for insurance purposes!
Should you find an insurer that treats your performance car as a classic it could benefit you, but look out for any restrictions place on a dedicated classic car insurance policy, such as limited mileage.
Agreed-value policies and salvage retention
The true value of a performance vehicle may be difficult to establish as the parts and the vehicle's condition may vary significantly from the market norm for a similar, non-performance model.
If you've lavished a lot of time and/or money on a performance vehicle, you may want to consider looking for an agreed-value policy, which means you won't be relying on the insurer's assessment of market value in the event of a total-loss write-off.
Some insurers may also be able to help with salvage retention which would give you the right to buy the car back after a write-off.
Remember that any modification from the manufacturer's standard production must be declared to insurers. While all insurers will handle modifications differently, it's worth remembering that performance-enhancing changes are likely to be seen as the riskiest and to result in the biggest premium hikes.
"The rationale of insurers is to question why a driver would need modifications," said Dan Clarke of insurers Adrian Flux.
"With specialist insurers, you can usually expect a rise in keeping with the increase in power. If you've had your car chipped and it becomes 15% more powerful, then your premium will be about 15% more expensive."
Note also that logic doesn't always apply when it comes to assessing 'performance improvements'.
"Lowering the suspension can make the car handle and corner better, but it still usually makes for a higher premium," said Simon Hill of the Cambridge Modified Motors Owners Club. "I fitted a roll cage to my Mini which made it stronger and safer, but the insurer came back to me to ask if I was planning on flipping the car over!"
By Sean Davies