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Keeping Your Ride Safe and Insured
By Justin Wynn

Stolen. Totaled. These words will send chills up the spine of any auto enthusiast. The mere thought of seeing our pride and joy in pieces, except by our own hands, is practically unbearable.
However, all is not lost. There is still hope for your poor ride. That hope is car insurance.
Car insurance can be a wonderful tool IF the correct policy is chosen. What many of us may not realize is that although our ride may be covered, the hours of custom body and suspension work may not be. Unfortunately for most auto enthusiasts, insurance companies have a tendency to "overlook" many of the personal touches to our ride. However, there are measures one can take to get the most out of their policy.
When it comes to insurance policies, most people tend to believe that their ride will be covered with a good full coverage or comprehensive plan. Sadly, most insurance companies will only give you the bluebook or cash value of your vehicle if totaled or stolen, which means everybody rolling around in their pimped out s10's could be in trouble. This isn't always the case, however, and that's where doing your homework can really pay off. Do not be afraid to ask your insurance agent about what is covered and what isn't on your ride. Try to shop around before finally choosing an insurance company, making sure to ask the company which policy would best suit your needs. You'll be surprised at the differences between one company's definition of "full coverage" compared to that of their competitors.
KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS! This is something that I cannot stress enough when it comes to customizing your ride. Take pictures of everything done to the vehicle, including the parts used, and keep all receipts. By keeping proper documentation, the insurance company can provide you with a more accurate estimate, meaning more money for you. Although you'll never be able get all of you money back, proper documentation is a necessity in order to help protect your investment.
Probably the most important reason of all to have insurance is to keep you and your ride on the road: period. It is illegal to drive without car insurance in most states, which means saying "goodbye" to those late night drag sessions if you get caught driving without it. Although finding the right insurance policy for you may take some time, if you really want to insure the safety of your investment, then consider it time well spent.

Basically, I figured in order to get an accurate feel of what the policy would be for a custom vehicle, I called several of the more popular insurance agencies and talked to agents directly, asking them what would be the best policy for our type of vehicles, using the examples of a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado and my own truck, a 1987 S10.

Questions asked
1. What would be the best policy for a vehicle with many aftermarket parts and custom work done to it?
2. What exactly would those policies cover, if they covered any aftermarket accessories at all?
3. If they did cover aftermarket parts, up to what point did they stop coverage?
4. What would be the difference between the coverage of a full custom, purely show vehicle versus a ride with custom work done to it but is driven daily?

Basically, all of the insurance companies interviewed stated that they stuck to the bluebook value and gave little consideration towards aftermarket parts. However, if proper documentation could be shown, such as pictures and receipts, then they would be taken into consideration. However, with companies such as State Farm or Progressive, this means nothing to them and they still only take the bluebook value of the vehicle

Gauge Columnist
Justin Wynn



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