Why a roof rack could invalidate your car insurance this half-term

Bikes on a roof rack

Millions of drivers are being warned that even the slightest modification to their vehicles could invalidate their insurance if they have not declared it.

With many families embarking on day-trips or holidays further afield this half-term, comparison site Gocompare.com is warning drivers to check their car insurance.

Modifications that could land drivers in hot water include roof racks and tow bars, which are typically considered a modification and insurers thus might expect you to declare them, even if you have fitted them yourself.

Moreover, Gocompare’s research found that 78% of the 233 insurers it surveyed do not offer cover for trailers that are hitched to cars as standard – and only 3% offer this cover as an optional extra.

Cover levels for trailers also vary, with almost half (47%) of policies willing to pay out between £1,000-£2,999 and just 3% covering £5,000 or more.

Surprisingly, over two thirds (68%) of insurers will not replaces a child’s car seat if the vehicle was involved in an accident.

Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson at the comparison site, said: “The logistics and traffic that usually accompany a half-term family road-trip can be stressful at the best of times, and for most of us, the consequences of having an accident is the last thing on our minds. However, making sure you know the level of cover you have before you set off could help avoid any unexpected financial surprises.

“Car modifications extend far beyond alloy wheels, body kits and spoilers and not informing your insurer of a roof rack or a tow bar could result in your claim being rejected. If it wasn’t there when the car left the showroom, it’s worth checking with your provider.”

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Would removing the rear seats from a hatchback constitute a modification that might invalidate my insurance?