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I have watched some YouTube videos on Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) problems on cars, and some of the auto mechanics in these videos show how the ABS system on cars can be disabled by removing a fuse and/or a relay inside the car's fuse box.

I have also read an article posted on an auto repair website concerning ABS problems, and in the article it mentions that if you purposely disable the ABS system on a car, this will void your car's auto insurance policy and you will then be liable for all damages incurred to your car and to the other car(s) and liable for any personal injuries to the other driver(s) in the event of an auto accident. This also means that you could be sued by the other driver(s) for having driven a car that had been tampered with, thus making it unsafe to drive.

I would like to know if this is true, or if it is something that used to be true in the past but is no longer true today. I am considering contacting my auto insurance company and asking them about this, but since it usually takes so long to get an insurance agent on the phone, and since I really don't have the free time to make this phone call at this time, I thought it would be worth asking this question on this site.

Will disabling the ABS system on a used car void the auto insurance policy on that car?

(Note: I asked this question yesterday on Mechanics.SE but the posters there said that this is a question that should be asked on this site.)

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    I removed your opening paragraphs containing info irrelevant to this Stack and thereby made your question hypothetical instead of personal. This site will not give legal advice but answers hypothetical questions about the law.
    – MTA
    Commented Mar 13 at 13:21
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    Have you read your policy? Commented Mar 13 at 14:35
  • @MichaelHall, no, but I will try to make some time over the next few days to read it over.
    – user57467
    Commented Mar 13 at 19:48
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    If it doesn't void the policy it may affect your liability in an accident. Suppose you have a collison in slippery conditions, and the insurance assessor deems that it would have been avoidable if you hadn't disabled the ABS safety system... Commented Mar 14 at 0:26
  • @Jen, in no way did I suggest that it does. I'm trying to help steer the OP towards the best answer to their question. That may or may not require a legal analysis. Commented Mar 14 at 2:43

3 Answers 3

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Will disabling the ABS system on a used car void the auto insurance policy on that car?

Possibly yes, if you haven't declared it to your insurer / agreed it with your insurer. Check your policy documents and ask your insurer.

  • If you declared the car had ABS when you bought the policy and don't tell the insurer you've removed the ABS, they may be able to void your policy.

  • If the standard version of the car has ABS and your car doesn't, if you don't tell the insurer about it they may be able to void your policy.

  • The policy might require the car to be maintained to the standard specification.

(Strictly speaking, to void the policy the modification should be associated with the reason for your claim but insurers may refuse to pay out regardless and you will have to spend time/money to make them pay out.)

To 'void your policy' means in effect there is no policy therefore you are not insured.


The 'premium' or price of any insurance policy is based on a variety of risk factors. Typically, when you ask your car insurer for a quote they ask you what model of car you have - the model of the car represents some level of risk - and they ask you if the car has been modified or made non-standard in some way. Typically they also ask you to tell them if you add, change or remove any modifications after buying the policy.

A feature such as ABS may tend to be associated with a lower risk and therefore tend to decrease the premium. If that's the case then disabling the ABS represents a higher risk and therefore a higher premium.

The insurer might even give a specific discount for ABS.

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You’d have to check the cars license for general use in your country.

There will be cars that are safe to drive without ABS and the ABS just gives you additional safety, which is nice to have but not legally required. Others won’t have a safe braking system without the ABS. So it may depend on the car.

Of course disabling ABS in a way that affects the rest of your brakes, that will be trouble.

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You risk voiding your registration

Modifications to the braking system must be assessed by a licenced certifier under the Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme (VSCCS). The certifier will test the modified vehicle against relevant vehicle safety standards and will only issue the certificate if they are met. Disabling the ABS may or may not cause the vehicle to no longer meet the standards.

An unregistered vehicle has no compulsory third party insurance (CTP)

If you injure someone (including yourself), the state will meet the costs of their lifetime care. However, they will look to you to reimburse those costs.

Unregistered vehicles cannot have traditional third-party or comprehensive insurance

Once your vehicle is no longer validly registered, your insurance is void. However, there are grace periods if you simply forget a renewal, but not if you have modified the vehicle.

Notwithstanding, even if you have validly modified your vehicle, you need to tell your insurer as that can affect their risk - failure to do so may void the policy.

There are special policies for unregistered vehicles, called "laid-up cover" but they don't cover the vehicle while its being driven.

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