One of the most often adapted systems on a car is the exhaust. After-market exhaust system upgrades have become common items on domestic and import cars alike, and run the range from slight cosmetic changes to deep-throated sound makers that shake houses as they go by. In some cases, exhaust system upgrades are used to improve the engine efficiency of and lower the pollution emitted by a vehicle, but the most common purpose of this after-market technology is to improve or refine a car's appearance. This type of car option can have an effect on insurance rates, however, and not always a positive one. When getting a free car insurance quote, many individuals with upgraded exhaust systems may not see a difference in price, but once the company is aware of the changes made the vehicle, they will often see their monthly premiums increase.
There are a number of reasons for this, the first being that not all exhaust system upgrades are technically street legal. Those that increase the size of an exhaust pipe's diameter by a significant amount or put out so much noise that they cause discomfort, or large amounts of vibration to the houses and people around them, are often classed as being illegal by local bylaws. Each state and often each city within a state will have different rules about just what is permitted for exhaust system upgrades, and it is important that drivers know exactly what is expected of them. However, insurance companies may raise rates simply on the premise that most of these systems lead to a greater number of violation tickets.
As well, insurance companies may view these systems as a greater risk because of their added value to the car, and thus a higher chance that the car may be stolen. It is wise to report to your insurance company any modifications made to a vehicle, and that includes exhaust system upgrades. If these upgrades significantly increase the price of car and this is reported to an insurance company, their cost to replace the car will increase if it is stolen. A shiny new exhaust pipe may prove a greater lure to criminals, and insurance companies will often view this as a larger risk to their finances, meaning that those with these upgrades will pay more.
A free car insurance quote is just that -- free -- and is based on the "typical" car driven by Americans. Extra features or upgrades that deviate from this model can make a car safer, but can also put it at risk for being in violation of local laws or at greater risk of being stolen. It is always wise to speak to an insurance company before any vehicle upgrades.