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Will Installing a Roof Rack Affect Your Car Insurance?

A roof rack, bike rack, or ski rack may seem like a minor modification to your vehicle, but it could affect the value of your vehicle as well as its safety. Beyond what it means for your insurance policy, you’ll also want to give some thought as to the quality of the rack you choose, what it’s for, and how it’s installed.

Your insurer may cover some types of modifications, but for others, you may need to add special coverage to your policy because the modification raises risk when driving. If you’re thinking of installing a roof rack on your car for a summer of road tripping to the cottage or a campsite, you should let your insurance provider know to be sure.

How a roof rack affects your auto insurance

Adding a roof rack is considered a vehicle modification by your insurance provider. Some modifications have an impact on your vehicle that influence your insurance premium, while others don’t.

A modification installed for accessibility purposes such as wheelchair lifts, hand controls, and customized seat systems to accommodate people with disabilities won’t change your eligible coverage, but it will increase the value of your vehicle. That could lead to a higher premium. You’ll also want to keep your receipts as proof of how much you paid for the modifications in the event you have to file a claim.

Finding the right roof rack

Roof racks vary in size and function. Some are specifically for carrying skis or bicycles, while others accommodate overhead storage containers. Depending on the function and shape of items attached to the rack, it could influence the outcome of a collision differently than if you didn’t have the additional weight and height on your car.

You need to be prepared to drive a little differently, too. Like when your car is longer and pulling more weight with a trailer hitched to the back, your vehicle is going to be more top-heavy if you add a roof rack on top — you’ll notice it more on a windy day, for example.

If you’re going to go to the trouble of adding a roof rack and accommodate for the lower gas mileage and potential impact on your insurance premium, you want the right one for the job – there’s one for every need and budget. If you’re camping a lot in the summer, you’ll want one designed for a storage compartment – a universal cargo carrier might be the best choice. But you’ll need to choose between a cheaper soft-shell option or a more rigid and durable yet pricier model.

Research different makes and models of racks online. Your vehicle manufacturer may be a source of recommendations for which racks will best attach to your vehicle. Consumer reviews can also be a source of tips and even warnings about the quality of certain racks and how they affect your vehicle. Once you decide on the best rack for you, it must be installed correctly to not put you in danger of having an accident. Your rack needs to stay on your car and not end up on someone else’s.

Proper installation increases your safety on the road

Ultimately, no matter what you buy and install, it’s important to remember that a roof rack is a vehicle modification that can affect your auto policy. Failing to let your insurer know you’ve added a rack might result in a denied claim.


Source: Canadian Underwriter


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