Drivers of modified cars are noticeably more likely to have been involved in an accident than those with completely standard vehicles, new research has suggested.

A study by MoneySuperMarket found that more than a quarter (28 percent) of drivers who have modified their vehicles have been involved in a shunt, compared with just 22 percent of those who have not tweaked their cars. That means drivers of modified vehicles are around 27 percent more likely to have had an accident.

Modified street cars in bright orange

And the organisation's survey of 2,000 motorists revealed a noticeable derision of those with modified vehicles, as half (50 percent) of those questioned said drivers of modified cars were “boy racers”, while four in 10 (42 percent) said such drivers were “attention seekers”. More than a fifth (21 percent), meanwhile, said drivers who modified their vehicles were “compensating for something”.

According to the study, the most hated car modifications include loud exhausts, which were bemoaned by almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents and altered suspension, which was singled out by more than a quarter (28 percent). Spoilers (25 percent), brash paint jobs (23 percent) and big bumpers (19 percent) were also among drivers’ bugbears.

Towbar hitch on truck

However, despite the public opinion of modified vehicles, MoneySuperMarket found that many of the most popular modifications are relatively mundane. The company’s analysis of more than 27,000 insurance enquiries found that tow bars (20 percent), alloy wheels (15 percent) and parking sensors (nine percent) are among the most popular upgrades.

Tom Flack, editor-in-chief at MoneySuperMarket, said it was important that drivers were aware of what constitutes a modification, and that those who modify their vehicles ensure their insurance company is aware of the changes.

Close up of expensive sports car wheel

“There are numerous reasons why you might want to modify your car, from improving performance to making it more aesthetically pleasing,” he said. “While we generally think of modifications as loud exhausts and body kits, something as small as getting a parking sensor installed can count as a modification, so it’s worth notifying your insurer whenever you make any change to your vehicle. Different insurers have alternative views on what constitutes a modification, so it’s worth taking the time to check if any changes you make will impact your policy. If in doubt, talk to your insurer.

“While your car insurance may go up as a result of a modification, you don’t have to accept the price and stay with your current insurer. By shopping around, you could easily find a cheaper deal with a different insurer and save yourself up to £2,224 in the process.”