You may not have given it a second thought, but if you’ve used a car wrapping company to get your car wrapped in a different colour to its original factory colour, will you have to inform your insurance company and/or tell the DVLA?
Well. despite a wrap only being a film of vinyl over your car’s original colour, you should indeed tell your car insurance company and the DVLA right away if you’ve just had the vehicle wrapped. This also applies for any ‘signwriting’ you’ve had done on a vehicle if it involves the same process as a wrap i.e. the application of your company’s logo or livery on a company car or van in the form of printed or plain colour vinyl film.
Why do I need to notify my insurance company and the DVLA?
If the above answer has you baffled as to why they’d want to know about any modifications to your vehicle, there are a few basic reasons to take into account which we’ll discuss briefly here:
1. Accident damage
Insurance companies, in particular, can be a bit finicky about any changes or modifications you make to your car as it can affect your annual premium. For example, imagine you’re involved in an accident that damages the bodywork/vinyl wrap. If you’ve haven’t told them that you’ve spent a chunk of money having your car wrapped and then try to claim for the cost of it to be replaced, they’ll most likely take a fairly dim view of it and refuse to cough up.
2. Void/discontinued insurance policy
To make matters worse, they can also claim that your insurance policy isn’t even valid because you didn’t tell them about the wrap in the first place. Why risk giving them a reason to invalidate the policy when you don’t need to? Some insurance companies can also refuse to continue your policy as soon as you let them know it’s been wrapped. Again, they’ll usually view car wrapping as a cosmetic change or ‘modification’ to the vehicle and some (albeit rarely) will say that they won’t continue to cover the car, so your policy is now void. If this turns out to be the case, you’ll have no alternative but to find a different company to insure the car.
Having said that, many insurers are more flexible, viewing a car wrap as a temporary change since it can be easily removed if required. As such, you may well find that there is no increase in your premium at all. It’s also worth mentioning that if you’ve booked us to wrap your car, we recommend contacting your insurer before we complete the job so you don’t get any nasty surprises later down the road. This will also give you some time to shop around and choose an insurer that’s not so rigid with their policy terms.
3. Car modification legalities & the law
Let’s start with a straightforward scenario; your car is stolen from outside your home and you want to notify the police. Once the police have the car’s registration number on their system, the all-important colour of the vehicle will be flagged on their system based on the information that’s logged about it with the DVLA. In particular, if your car is now wrapped in metallic blue despite the DVLA having it recorded as red, it’s possible that they’ll be looking for the wrong car.
The same applies if your car is stolen and then used in a crime e.g. the thieves fill it up with petrol and drive away without paying. The police won’t be happy that the recorded colour of the vehicle doesn’t match its actual colour. If you’re ever faced with a similar scenario, you should also inform the police of the original colour underneath as a car thief could remove all or some of the wrap to try and disguise the vehicle in order to evade capture.
If you visit this page of the Gov.uk website regarding making changes to a vehicle, the more eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed the caveat “must”… “You must update the details on your registration certificate (V5C)” it says. Not ‘may’ or ‘can’, but ‘must’. Specifically, the page mentions colour change as one of the factors they’ll need to be notified of. Don’t be alarmed though, it’s a simple process and once it’s done, you can cross it off your ‘to do’ list.
If you’re wrapping your car, you should notify the DVLA as soon as its done. You should also tell your insurance company in advance of your intentions so that you can confirm that your policy will still be valid afterwards.
When we’re not swatting up on topics like this one, we’re busy providing a range of car customisation services that also include full or partial PPFs, custom graphics and signwriting, as well as one of our favourite jobs of car detailing Kent.
Thanks for this. Just had a wrap done and then it suddenly dawned on me that I might need to tell my insurers. They were fine with it BTW :). didn’t realise I needed to tell the DVLA as well tho. Many thanks for the heads up because I wouldn’t have thought of it otherwise!
Do you mind please telling me who your car insurers are? I’ve contacted several and none of them will insure my wrapp car. Im wit Churchill but tHey wOnt cover onCe its wrapped,
i got a quOte throuh a broker and its DOUble what ive been paying up UNTIL Now.
Any help in the direction I need to take would be greatly appreciated!
Have you found a good deal on on your search for insurance? I am also with Churchill and they have refused to cover me
I have had my estate car done in a part wrap. consisting of 3 distinctly different colours. complete coverage front up to a pillar and full rear up to c pillar and factory white roof and doors.
I told the dvla and they told me that due to the fact a large area of original colour is still seen I don’t need to inform them but speak to my insurance company.
I called and spoke to them and they told me if the dvla didn’t need me to inform them and can supply evidence of this then I don’t need to declare a change on the policy.
they did ask for photos for their records as if my car is stolen then they can identify it my the images supplied rather than the factory description. and have added notes for when and if I get stopped by pokice for any reason that the insurance knows and also can provide the dvla proof of declaration thay its legal.
my insurance company is ageas and they even cover the wrap under the paint part of my insurance so I’m very pleased.
There are a few things of concern here. insurance law changed in the uk about three years ago. before then, insurance policies CAME UNDER a unique area of the law and were subject to ‘absolute disclosure’ meaning that even if you weren’t specifically asked, you had an obligation to tell the insurer of anything that could either affect your premium, or mean that they wouldn’t have insured you in the first place.
fortunately, EU law ruled this as unfair. the law changed this IN 2018 so that insurers could not refuse a claim, even if you (up to a point) were untruthful (really) when you took the policy out. The ruling was that if the company would still have insured you, had you told the truth, then they still had to pay out any claim. insurers could reduce the payout by the extra amount they would have received had you told them.
So, the worrying bit is when Direct Line or others state that they will not insure any bodywrapped car. Presumably they can refuse a claim on such a vehicle.
the other thing is if you get your car wrapped, then tell your insurer about it, who then says that you are no longer insured. this means you are now someone who has been refused insurance?
insurance companies take a dim view of this type of client. being refused insurance, having a conviction for fraud, points for running a red light (the latter suggests that you are a risk-taker) are viewed by some companies as worse than a drug or drink-driving ban.
so to avoid the possibility of being in a financial hole for the rest of your life after your accident victim takes you for everything, ask your insurer before you do anything more radical than hang a ‘magic-tree’ from your rearview…
i would love to hear the opinion of an insurance expert on this?
when i was in my late teens, i used to dream up endless scenarios to hide tuning mod’s and avoid paying extra for my dream car’s cover. i then grew up a bit and love the warm feeling that i’ve been 100% honest when i pay for insurance.
Hi Donald – thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts