Motorists whose vehicles have received facelifts, spacers, and spoilers modifications and LPG conversion may no longer be insured. This is after insurers in Kenya started rejecting these vehicles. UAP Insurance on Monday informed its customers that it would no longer insure vehicles that have been modified from using petrol or diesel to using liquefied petroleum gas also known as LPG. The company became the latest in a list of insurers who are rejecting modified cars in Kenya.
In its case, UAP said that the modifications were being done without authorization from the vehicle manufacturers. It said that the raised safety.
“Such modifications lower safety precaution standards and aggregate our exposure to liabilities in case of an accident. We have therefore taken a decision not to onboard or renew cover for any vehicle with such modification done without manufacturer’s approval,” George Odinga, UAP Insurance general manager for underwriting and reinsurance, said. “The modification has completely changed the risk from a standard motor vehicle risk to the level of a tanker on the road carrying LPG— highly flammable.”
This came despite an earlier approval for the use of LPG on cars by the National Transport and safety Authority. In a report, the NTSA had said that there was no increased risk of fire when cars are modified to use LPG.
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It is however not just the conversion to LPG that is causing concern. Modifications on the engine and general vehicle body has also been highlighted. According to ICEA Lion General Insurance senior motor assessor Peter Mzungu, insurers are now being forced to insert modifications as exclusions in vehicle insurance contracts to avoid disputes with customers. “Any kind of modification from manufacturers’ specification is prohibited unless the insurer is notified in writing so that they can weigh the risk and decide whether to take it or not,” Mzungu told a local daily.
Mzungu added that manufacturers assemble features that are safe for operations but modifications such as the use of facelifts, spacers, and spoilers cause interference.
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“A vehicle’s centre of gravity (COG) is well designed during manufacturing to ensure the safety of use. The minute you put in spacers, you increase COG and thereby make the vehicle very unstable on the road,” he said, adding that the instabilities could mean higher chances of accidents and therefore higher claims.