Have you recently fitted roof bars to your vehicle and are now wondering if this is something you need to declare to your insurer? Or perhaps you are considering installing them but you are unsure of what you need to do? Then panic not, we’ve got you covered!
In this article we will take a look at how adding a roof bar to your vehicle can affect your insurance premium, and whether you have to declare them at all.
Table of Contents
What Is A Roof Bar?
A roof bar is a piece of equipment that attaches to the top of your vehicle. They are added to provide extra storage space to carry additional items such as bikes, kayaks, and skis.
Roof bars come in many different designs, sizes, and shapes. They can be made from steel or aluminum, they can be fixed to the roof, or they can be removable. Most roof bars also include some sort of locking mechanism so that they cannot be removed by accident.
Do You Need To Declare A Roof Bar
If you are looking to install a roof bar to your vehicle then it will be important to know if this is something you will need to declare to your insurer and if it will affect your premium.
Generally speaking any changes to your vehicle will be classed as a modification if it affects the performance of the vehicle or has altered its appearance. A modification is also referred to any changes which impact the following:
- Vehicle Suspension
So, with the above in mind, you can see that adding a roof bar to your vehicle would indeed be classed as a modification due to the change in the appearance of your vehicle and the additional strain on the engine and wheels.
Insurance companies are notorious for squirming away from their responsibilities when it comes to payouts. Anything they can use against you to not payout, they will.
If you do not declare your roof bar this could quite easily be classed as a clause against your insurance premium to make it void.
Roof bars can also add weight to your vehicle. This extra weight will increase fuel consumption and decrease gas mileage, adding additional strain to your vehicle. It also increases the risk of damage if you hit another object while driving.
Depending on the additional load stored on the roof bars, this additional weight could also make your vehicle more difficult to maneuver and increase the risk of accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that roof bars account for approximately 1% of all crashes involving passenger vehicles. Whilst this percentage might seem small, it is a noted fact that will impact how insurers value a premium.
In addition, roof racks are often used by thieves to steal unattended vehicles. This means that if you don’t own your vehicle outright, then you might not be able to use a roof rack.
Will Installing Roof Bars Affect Your Car Insurance Rate?
The answer to this question is yes and no. It depends on the type of vehicle you drive, but also what kind of car insurance policy you have.
If you are not looking for a cheaper rate from your current insurer, then it may not matter if you have roof rails. However, if you want to get the best possible rates, then it could be worth getting rid of roof rails. The reason why is because roof rails can cause problems with your car insurance.
Here are some examples of how roof rails can affect your auto insurance:
- If you have a convertible, then having roof rails will increase your premiums. This is because roof rails make the roof harder to open and close.
- If you have a truck, then having roof rails can reduce the amount of cargo space available.
- If you have a van or SUV, then having roof rails makes it difficult to load large objects such as skis and snowboards onto the roof.
- Roof bars can cause damage to your vehicle’s bodywork.
- Roof rails can interfere with airbags.
- Roof rails can restrict visibility.
- Roof rails can add substantial weight to your vehicle
For these reasons, adding a roof bar could affect your insurance premium negatively. If it is necessary to add roof bars, then it is worth speaking to your current insurer prior to installing them to discuss if there will be changes to your policy and how many bucks it’s going to cost you!
It might also be a good idea to check if you need a special license to drive car with a roof box on top.
It might also be a good time to shop around for your auto insurance to see what deals you can strike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need To Declare Adding A Roof Bar To My Car?
In insurance terms, anything added to your vehicle which can be classed as a modification will need to be declared to ensure your premium remains valid. A roof bar would be classed as a modification to your vehicle.
What Is A Modification?
Essentially, any change to your vehicle that means that it is going to run differently or look different than it did when it came off the assembly line is considered a modification by the insurance company.
Will Adding A Roof Bar Make My Insurance Invalid?
So in answer to the question of whether adding a roof bar makes insurance invalid, the answer is “maybe.”
If you do your part and notify the insurance company before installing the roof bar and the insurance company approves the modification, you should have no problems filing a claim if something should go wrong in the future.
However, if you haven’t declared your roof bar to your insurance company, they could very well refuse to file any claim made for your vehicle.
So, as we can see from this article, whilst it may seem a minor addition to your vehicle, adding a roof bar to your vehicle is classed as a modification and does need to be declared.
Failure to do so could result in your insurance company failing to successfully process and file any claims submitted to them in the future. Which is something you definitely need to avoid!
Whilst this might not be the case for all insurance firms – if in doubt, check it out!
We also have a list of do’s and don’ts for roof boxes that you might want to check out.