Before becoming an independent insurance agent, I was with a national carrier in their Las Colinas office. A group of us were visiting the claims office in Irving and I had the opportunity to discuss some of the more unusual claim issues with which they were dealing. The manager was working on an auto claim involving a Chevy Silverado pickup truck. It had been in a hail storm and the hail storm won. The issues giving the claims manager a headache were:
- The truck had a custom paint job worth almost $10,000.
- The agent who wrote the policy was unaware of the custom paint job.
- The truck was not properly insured for the custom paint
The truck was totaled. At stake was whether the value of the truck would include the custom paint or not?
Vehicle customization is only limited by the owner’s imagination and the amount of money available to spend. It can include:
- Lift kits
- Low profile tires
- Brush guards and gear racks
- Light kits
- Engine modifications
- Monster stereos
- Doors that swing up
- Paint jobs
- Entertainment systems
- And much, much more
Insurance companies approach customization in a couple of different ways.
- Some include a pre-set amount of customization with their car insurance policies such as $2,000. Additional amounts of coverage can be added.
- Other companies do not include any pre-set amount. Coverage must be factored into the amount of property damage coverage.
The main thing is to make sure you’ve made your agent aware of any customization you’ve done to your car, truck, or SUV. In the case of the Chevy Silverado with the custom paint job, the carrier paid the claim including the cost of the paint job. This was something they didn’t have to do but did and could have easily not included it.
Have a question? Share your questions and how you’ve customized your car, truck or SUV in the comments section of our blog or on our Google + and Facebook pages. We’ll get your questions answered and learn from each other’s experiences.