Originally Posted by mark342
While true, insurance won't cover anything at all from the swap if it is ever in an accident, and it would be a lot easier to be totaled.
Very clean swap, though. Looks better than most STI's I see.
You are largely correct... if the owner opts to cover the car simply by submitting the vin# to the insurer it will be treated for value as the 2.5RS it began its life as. However, if it is in an accident, the insurance company will pay the same labor costs to take it apart and put it back together as if it was an STI. They will also cover the cost of most parts if the parts had replaced necessary oem parts (up to the cost of the oem parts they replaced). For example, if the STI hood was damaged they would pay the cost of the oem RS hood and the owner would pay the difference as a deductible, unless the body shop can get the cost approved. And since the owner will have saved as much as $2500 a year on insurance he would likely be able to rationalize the extra repair expense. But you are right; if the car is in a very serious accident the insurer will be quicker to declare the car totaled than they might if the vin# said it was an STI from birth.
Some insurance companies will allow you to have an appraisal done, documenting all of the ways the value of the car has been increased and will write the policy accordingly, but that would force the insurance premiums back up. Its a risk versus reward equation. For anyone who could not afford to buy an oem STI (since this car would sell for as much as an additional $5,000-$6,000 if it were an oem STI) or for someone who can't afford STI insurance premiums (like me) this may be the only way they can afford to get into a car of this stature.
If you save $5,000 going in and $1,000-$2,000 per year thereafter, and if you are fortunate enough to avoid a serious accident (like me, knock on wood) this car is a big win, since the only way most folks will know its not an oem STI is if you tell them.