The issue of car modifications has gained momentum recently, after the news that a vicar named Reverend Wena Parry faced cancellation of her car insurance because she had not informed the providers of changes she had made to her car. This included adding the sticker message ìChrist Must Be Saviourî and other religious statements displayed across her vehicle.
The reverend, who is part of the Independent Congregational Church located in Wales, said of the messages: ìEvery opportunity I have I want to tell people about Jesus. I reckon there must be at least a million people who have read the texts on my car and no one has had a problem with it.î
Wena Parryís religious statements cost around £120 and her insurance company, Age UK, has stated that it may not have offered her insurance if they had been informed about them.
Age UK became aware of the stickers after the reverend made a claim due to the fact that thieves had damaged her car which was located near Port Talbot in South Wales. After becoming aware of these facts, the insurance company contacted her and gave a total of 10 days to give reasons as to why they had not been informed of the stickers until now. They went on to alert her to the possibility that ìthe policy may be declared void.î
Age UK have stated that the possible nullification of the insurance policy has nothing to do with religion.
A representative for Direct Line has said that such modifications to vehicles can be grouped into two classes: there is the ìcosmeticî and the ìpower related.î The power associated adaptations are tangibly noticeable such as increasing the size of the engine or adding alloy wheels. However, it is harder to discern what counts as ìcosmetic changes.î Ian Crowder, who works for the AA, has stated that it can include ìstickers and slogans to tinted windows, parking sensors, tow-bars and spoilers.î
Crowder also stated: ìëModificationsí is a word greeted with caution by some insurers.î This is because any so called ëmodificationsí can increase the value of the vehicle or make it more likely to be stolen or damaged. He went on to say: ìHaving a sticker saying youíre a member of the National Trust, or a ëbaby on boardí sticker really shouldnít make a difference.î
Furthermore, Crowder warned against just looking elsewhere for insurance policies if one has trouble with their current provider. The statistics for insurance applications show that ìwhile fewer than one fifth may be turned down, of those that are around a half would be related to modificationsî made to oneís vehicle.
The bottom line is to learn from the example of Wena Parry and always inform your insurance provider of any alterations made to your vehicle, however seemingly common they may be. Detailed in the motor insurance policy at Direct Line is the statement: ìYou must tell us what modifications you intend to make and obtain our agreement prior to making them.î