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Will removing bumpers void insurance?

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by Rory J, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. Rory J

    Rory J Formula Junior

    May 30, 2006
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    Rory
    I've been wondering about this for a while: If someone removes the bolt-on bumpers from his car and is then rear-ended in traffic, will insurance come through with damages or will the claim be denied due to the bumpers being removed (possibly illegally too, depending on state laws). Additionally, will the owner of the bumperless car be at risk of a countersuit by the driver who hit him, should that driver claim more damage was done to his own car than would have been were the bumpers installed?

    We all know that in reality, the small chrome bumpers that were installed on our vintage cars are of little actual protection in the event of an accident (even the larger 5 mph bumpers of the late '70s), but what are the potential risks in removing them (besides potential headaches with traffic cops). It seems many vintage racers are bumperless, but came with bumpers from the factory originally -- are these cars at risk for denied insurance claims if street driven?
     
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  3. cf355

    cf355 F1 Rookie

    Feb 28, 2005
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    Well, State Farm insurance in Canada regularly sends notices out advising customers that they need to advise the insurance company if their ride height (bumper height) has been lowered in their car.

    When you advise the insurance company that your ride height has been lowered they give you 2 weeks to raise it to stock or they cancel your policy. They argue that the bumper height affects the bumpers ability to minimize damage and puts them at more risk liability wise.

    If this insurance co is so worried about bumper height I think they would have an issue if you removed the bumpers entirely.

    Rather than take a chance I would suggest you contact your insurance company directly and see what they say.

    p.s. I raised my car back to stock ride height
     
  4. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave F1 World Champ
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    Terrible idea. Ask the forum administrator why.
     
  5. cf355

    cf355 F1 Rookie

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    Care to explain?

    Surely your not advising someone to remove their bumpers , NOT tell their insurance company........and if an accident happens void their insurance policy???
     
  6. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave F1 World Champ
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    #5 FarmerDave, Aug 9, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
    Of course not. My post was a bit of an inside joke, perhaps way too inside and requiring a smiley. I'll explain what I meant by terrible idea.

    Based on past experiences, if you call your insurance company to merely ask questions about using street vehicles on a racetrack or track vehicles on a street, you run the risk of your policy being flagged for non-renewal. Especially if it's a call center 800 number type, direct writing insurance company, where detailed notes about the call are typed into the computer by the drone and stored in a database forever. So we can safely bet that asking questions about removal of safety equipment would also create similar, documented red flags.

    When you already know the answer to a question, why ask?

    This isn't a perfect analogy, but I would liken this scenario to calling your mother before a big date. "Hi Mom, I just wanted to call to check and see if unprotected sex runs the risk of catching STDs and/or pregnancy?" There's no way your mom hangs up the phone and doesn't begin to worry a little.
     
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  8. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave F1 World Champ
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    #6 FarmerDave, Aug 9, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
    To answer the OP more directly:

    No way to know for sure, the facts of the event will play heavily into the decision to make whole or deny coverage to insureds.

    Anyone can sue or countersue anyone for any reason. It's up to the courts to decide if the suit has merit, and award damages if appropriate.

    If you drive a car with safety equipment removed, you at a minimum will have a major headache on your hands, and probably risk the claim being denied.

    P.S. I am not a lawyer, insurance company representative, claims adjuster, these posts are for entertaiment purposes only, your mileage may vary, blah blah blah
     
  9. jsa330

    jsa330 F1 Veteran
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    Good points, David.

    Awhile back, I saw an ad for Euro-style conversion bumpers for 308's, but then got to thinking and some of the same things you mentioned regarding insurance came to mind; in addition, those big chunky black things do provide some actual lowspeed collision protection.
     
  10. dakharris

    dakharris Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Read your policy front to back. Some policies, especially those for special interest vehicles, are very specific about modifications. Pay special attention to the sections about Conditions and Exclusions. There may or may not be something about modifications. When you completed your application, you may have signed a statement that said that the car had not been modified. That was true (we hope) when you signed it. At renewal, you might be in trouble if you have modified the car and don't disclose that to the insurer. I know it's a drag, but you have to read any contract carefully.

    I'm sure that you can appreciate why an insurance company might be unhappy if they accept a risk under one set of circumstances (your car has bumpers) and charges you a price based on those factors, and then you go and change the factors without giving then a chance to re-evaluate. You take the rear bumper off of your car, someone runs into you and smashes your $5,000 Tubi installation instead of your $1,500 bumper. It's impossible to say what any particular carrier will do under any particular circumstance. Read your policy.
     
  11. 05F430F1

    05F430F1 Formula Junior

    Oct 22, 2005
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    Hey, what if I get rid of my steering wheel? Can I do that? Is this thread real?
     
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  13. gblogger

    gblogger Formula 3

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    While it's never happened to me, I have several friends who had their claims denied because it 'was not the car that was insured' (due to major modifications). Several others had what the 'stock/ original' cost would have been, none of the modifications they did were covered (other than standard allowable amount).
     
  14. Rory J

    Rory J Formula Junior

    May 30, 2006
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    Obviously, this thread doesn't really apply to modern cars with integrated bumpers such as your F430. This is more in regard to vintage cars, a large number of which are running around without their original, rather flimsy chrome bumpers that offered little to no protection to begin with.

    Yes, this thread is for real.
     
  15. Rory J

    Rory J Formula Junior

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    Thanks for the responses, I think one element is getting overlooked here, though. I understand (and am willing to accept) that my insurance may void any claim that I make should I be found at fault for an accident and am trying to repair my own car. Fine with me, I took the bumpers off and it's my fault.

    I suppose that my real question is more about someone else hitting me (at a stoplight, etc) from behind and that driver's insurance refusing to pay for damages to the rear of my car because it did not have the rear bumper installed. Sounds like the answer is pretty much consistent though -- any damages may be denied, remove bumpers under this understanding.

    I'm not considering doing this to my Dino, but possibly replacing the ones on the Fiat 124 for some smaller Abarth style units (essentially four small rubber blocks). I've seen Dinos running around bumperless, as well as countless Porsche 356s, Alfas, even other Ferraris. Are all these people basically accepting that if they get hit, the driver at fault will not be responsible for any damage to any area of the car that would have had a bumper mounted over it?
     
  16. dakharris

    dakharris Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Now that you have clarified your question, that's a liability issue. In most states, if somone runs into the back of you, it's their fault. It doesn't matter whether you had bumpers or not. They damaged your car and they need to make you whole. You did not have a contract with the other driver's insurance carrier, they did. You did not make any representations about your car. You were just sitting there and the numbskull ran into you. They have to pay you to fix your solid platinum Tubi, even if you took the bumpers off.
     
  17. cf355

    cf355 F1 Rookie

    Feb 28, 2005
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    We now have NO FAULT insurance here .

    What this means is that the car owners OWN insurance pays for any collision repairs regardless of whose fault it was.......& again your insurance company has the option of voiding the claim if you altered the contract of insurance by removing your bumpers.

    Further what happens if there are personal injuries from either driver in this alleged accident? Could it be argued that the damages were made worse by the removal of the bumpers (including if you ran down a pedestrian)?

    I suggest you run this by your insurance agent before you make any mods.

    Insurance companies look for any loophole to deny a claim. Its just not worth the risk.
     

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