Special accessories: what you have to watch out for in comprehensive insurance

Special accessories refers to the additional equipment of a car. Appropriate accessories not only increase individual comfort, but usually also increase the value of the car. Therefore, corresponding conversions are also relevant for car insurers. For vehicle owners, this raises the question of whether the insurance company will pay for optional accessories in the event of a claim. The following guidebook is dedicated to answering this question.

The gist in a nutshell

  • Special accessories are any components that go beyond the standard equipment of the vehicle and are permanently or loosely attached to it.
  • In the event of a claim, insurance companies only reimburse accessories that are permanently connected to the car.
  • To which special accessories the scope of benefits extends depends on the selected tariff and the insurance conditions.
  • An important variable in choosing comprehensive insurance is the amount of coverage for optional extras, which can vary depending on the quote you receive.

Definition: Which components are considered optional extras?

In general, the term "optional equipment" includes all parts that are connected with the use of the vehicle and are located on or in the car. At this point, insurance companies make a rough distinction between permanently installed components and those that can be loosely connected to the vehicle.

The first group includes, for example, roof racks, trailer couplings and permanently integrated navigation systems and radios. Charging stations for smartphones and hands-free systems are also very popular. In principle, these can be factory-fitted optional extras or retrofitted components. Tuning parts – for example, alloy wheels, special exhaust systems or spoilers – occupy a special position and, depending on the insurance company, are considered to be permanently installed or separate components.

The second category includes all accessories that are not permanently attached to the car. Mobile navigation devices and smartphones are typical examples of loose special accessories.

Scope of services of the comprehensive insurance depends on the selected tariff

Optional extras are only relevant for partial and fully comprehensive insurance, as motor vehicle liability only covers damage caused to third parties by the actions of the policyholder. Usually, only the equipment permanently connected to the car is insured. Since each insurance company can define for itself which components are considered insured optional accessories, the scope of coverage can vary from provider to provider. It is therefore advisable to check the insurance conditions carefully.

Many comprehensive insurance companies offer their customers the option of insuring additional parts. However, insurance companies usually charge a surcharge for these. However, there are also components that cannot be insured. Usually the insurance cover does not extend to loose parts, as you can take such items or equipment with you when you leave the car.

Consider coverage for optional accessories

Car owners not only have to find out which accessories are covered by comprehensive insurance. It is also necessary to take into account the so-called sum insured. This indicates the maximum amount that the insurance will cover in the event of a claim. This amount also varies from policy to policy. In standard tariffs, the value limit for optional accessories is usually quite low. If you opt for a premium rate, you are generally on the safe side.

Comprehensive tariffs in which a certain amount of special equipment is already included are particularly recommended for consumers. A permanently installed navigation device, for example, should be covered up to a value of 3.000 euros can be included in the insurance free of charge.

Extending the insurance cover to include optional extras

If you register your vehicle with a car insurance company, they will of course not know about any optional extras you may have. Therefore, the insurance companies first calculate with the standard equipment. If your vehicle has additional accessories, you must inform the insurance company about this – after every new acquisition of corresponding parts.

For most insurance companies it is sufficient to fill in a special form, which records the replacement value of the vehicle including special accessories. The surcharge that the insurance company may charge also depends on this sum. Those who do not declare additional equipment can expect unpleasant surprises in the event of a claim – for example, because the insurance company does not take into account a stolen hi-fi system or newly fitted alloy wheels.

Co-insurance of optional equipment is only possible if it complies with the legal requirements. Otherwise the insurance expires. In the worst case, unapproved or non-compliant accessories can even lead to the withdrawal of a marketing authorization.

Find the right plan with an insurance comparison

Due to the large number of comprehensive tariffs available, it is a difficult task for most vehicle owners to locate the best offer for them. This is even more true if the policy is to include extended coverage for special accessories. For a good overview of individual providers, the insurance comparison at Verivox offers itself.

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