5 reasons your car might be uninsurable

Why your Kia or antique car might be hard to insure

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Bob Phillips

Personal Finance Writer

Bob Phillips is a personal finance writer whose expertise in insurance and investments has been developed through over fifteen years as an advisor/tr…

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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

When you're in the market for car insurance, you might find that not every vehicle is as easily insurable as you'd expect. There's a wide array of factors that can make insurance providers balk at offering coverage, or at the very least, adjust your premiums to reflect perceived risks. From the kind of car you drive to its age and condition, various elements can significantly impact the insurability of your vehicle.

Understanding why your car might fall into the category of being "uninsurable" can save you from unexpected headaches.

Here are five reasons that might explain why securing insurance for your vehicle could be more challenging than you anticipated.

1. It has certain after-market add-ons and modifications

We get it. You want to make your car your own. You don't necessarily want the straight-from-the-dealership car everyone else has. But those modifications can come with a long-term cost. 

After-market modifications, whether for aesthetic purposes or performance enhancements, can significantly alter the risk profile of your vehicle. Insurers assess risk based on standard models. Modifications can lead to higher repair costs, increased likelihood of theft or even affect the vehicle's safety and reliability.

Enhancements such as turbo engines, custom paint jobs, or high-end audio systems can increase the value of your car. However, they also raise the cost of repairs and replacements, making it more expensive for insurance companies to cover. This increased financial risk can sometimes make insurers wary of providing coverage.

Modifications that affect the car’s performance or change its intended use can lead to safety concerns or even regulatory compliance issues. For example, significantly altering a vehicle's suspension system could affect its handling and stability. If these changes put the vehicle or its occupants at higher risk, insurers might deem it uninsurable.


2. It's a certain make or model

If you're a Kia driver, this one probably isn't news to you. Certain car models, like some from Kia and Hyundai, have experienced higher theft rates due to vulnerabilities in their security systems. High theft rates are a red flag for insurers, as they lead to more claims, which in turn can make these models more challenging to insure.

Vehicles that are targeted more frequently by thieves often carry higher insurance premiums. In some cases, insurers might opt not to offer coverage at all if they assess the risk as too high. This can leave owners of these models in a difficult position when trying to secure insurance.

Beyond theft rates, the reputation of the manufacturer and specific models can influence insurability. Insurers consider historical data, including accident rates, repair costs and overall safety records. Models with a poor track record in these areas might be deemed too risky to insure.


3. It’s a high-value or exotic car

High-value and exotic cars are renowned for their luxury, performance and price tag. However, they face insurability issues primarily due to the high cost of repairs and replacements. Specialized mechanics, expensive parts and the overall value of the vehicle contribute to steep insurance premiums.

These vehicles are often targets for theft due to their value and status. The increased risk of theft raises the insurance stakes, making some insurers reluctant to cover them or only offering coverage at premium rates.

The market for high-value and exotic cars is niche, with a limited number of insurers possessing the expertise to appropriately value and cover such vehicles. This can make finding insurance more challenging for owners of these prestigious models.

You may consider carriers that specialize in higher-value personal property, such as Chubb, Pure or AIG.

 2022 Mercedes Benz E-Class

4. It’s considered an antique car

Antique cars, typically defined as 25 years or older, are not only prized possessions but also require specialized insurance coverage. Standard policies might not reflect the true value of these vehicles, particularly if they've been restored or maintained in pristine condition.

The value of antique cars can be significantly higher than their original purchase price, depending on their condition, rarity and historical significance. Consequently, repair costs can be exorbitant, especially for models where parts are scarce. Insurers might be hesitant to offer standard coverage due to these increased costs.

Antique cars are often subject to usage limitations, such as restrictions on daily driving or requirements for secure storage. Insurance companies might offer coverage under the condition of such limitations to mitigate risk, but outright insurability can be an issue if the vehicle is used outside of these terms.


5. It's old and in poor condition

Now there's antique, and then there's just old. The age and condition of a vehicle play a significant role in its insurability. Older vehicles, especially those not well-maintained, are seen as higher risks due to the increased likelihood of mechanical failure, which can lead to accidents or breakdowns.

Vehicles depreciate over time, which can complicate the insurance equation. Insurers might limit coverage or deem a car uninsurable if its market value is too low to justify the cost of premiums, particularly for liability-only policies.

The condition of a vehicle, including its safety features, impacts its insurability. Cars lacking modern safety features or those with significant wear and tear might not meet the safety standards required by insurers, leading to difficulties in obtaining coverage.


What to do if you have a hard-to-insure vehicle?

While certain aspects of your vehicle may restrict your insurance options, they don't entirely preclude the possibility of securing coverage.

Taking a proactive approach and reaching out to insurers known for handling non-standard auto insurance can lead you to a policy that aligns with your needs. Enter your car's details to compare auto insurance policies as unique as your vehicle. 

The objective is to achieve a sense of security and confidence in the knowledge that your vehicle, regardless of its uniqueness, is adequately protected.