When it comes to auto insurance and warranties, there is a lot of misinformation out there. We tend to think about these two facets of car maintenance as a way to disadvantage the customer. For this reason, many people assume that any small mistake they make will void their warranty or invalidate their insurance claims.
One of the most common ideas around warranties and car insurance is that you are not allowed to carry out your own repairs. Many car owners assume that they need to take their cars to the original dealer or a mechanic specifically approved by the warranty or insurance company. Is there any truth to this?
The good news is that you can get a warranty and excellent cheap insurance that will cover your car without major restrictions on what you can and cannot do. Here is what you need to know about fixing your own car without voiding your warranty or insurance.
Can I Fix My Own Car?
In some cases, what applies to warranties does not apply to insurance, and vice versa. But in this case, the rules are fairly similar. While many people assume they need to take their cars to mechanics licensed by the company, you can actually get repairs done by anyone you want. This includes doing the repairs yourself.
The reality is that your warranty will only be voided if the provider can prove that the repairs you did led to the problem. The same is true with insurance – claims can only be invalidated if the insurer can prove that the repairs led to the collision or lowered the value of the car prior to the collision.
This also applies if you used parts to repair your vehicle that were made by other manufacturers. Using these parts will not void your warranty unless they actually cause the problem. They are however likely to lower the value of your car, meaning you will be able to claim less from insurance for repairs or replacement.
What About Modifications?
We’ve spoken about repairs, but what about unnecessary modifications? Can you upgrade your car yourself without voiding your warranty or invalidating your insurance?
In this case, different rules apply. The kind of modifications we are talking about add value to your car, and this makes insurance claims more complicated.
When it comes to your warranty, modifications should not make a difference. Unless your modifications lead to the problem, your warranty provider has to pay out. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 states that the warranty provider has to prove that these parts caused the problem, meaning that the burden of proof is on them, not on you.
However, modifications can invalidate your insurance. This is because they raise the value of your car. In some cases, this may increase the risk of theft. Modifications that make your car perform differently can also raise the risk of a collision. Furthermore, repairs and replacements will cost more due to the modifications.
As such, your insurer can deny your claims by invalidating your insurance policy. They may have to refund you for premiums paid after the date of your modifications, but this is scant consolation when you are facing major repairs or have to buy a new car entirely.
The general rule with insurance is that if you make any changes to your car or the way you use it – including where you keep it and how much mileage you use per year – you need to update your insurer. They will reassess risks and the value of your vehicle in order to update the price of your premiums.
The rules surrounding car warranties and insurance generally take a customer-first approach. However, because most individuals do not know the rules or have heard incorrect information, non-customer-centric companies are able to take advantage of them.
When making a claim on a warranty or an insurance policy, put yourself first. Query any issues that the provider brings up rather than simply accepting their decision. This way, you will ensure that you always get the most out of your policies.
In short, fixing your own car will not void your warranty or insurance, unless the provider can prove that your repairs led to the problem.