Other insurers may have different views on fitting winter tyres

Important note: other insurers may have different views on fitting winter tyres but hopefully the concerns which have been driven by many motorists trying to fit winter tyres when faced with unusually harsh winter conditions in the UK will encourage motor insurers to clarify their position and procedures soon.

Reassurance from the Association of British Insurers
The media sec
tion of the ABI website mentioned concerns with insurers responses to enquiries regarding snow tyres:

Auto Express reported that several of its readers had faced higher motor premiums as a result of fitting snow tyres to their vehicles. This lead to a number of media enquiries, including an interview on BBC Money Box. The ABI confirmed that (following consultation with a number of leading motor insurers) that it was unlikely that fitting such tyres would be seen as a relevant modification, but if in any doubt advise your motor insurer and let them decide. (2.12.10)

Posted: 15.12.10
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Contributing to the V8BB thread on winter tyres concerns, Chris Hunt Cooke noted his experience fitting winter tyres to his everyday car:

What does the driver's manual say on winter tyres?
This thread has inspired me to see what my BMW manual states. It says "Winter Tyres - We recommend the use of winter tyres (M&S radial ply) for driving in wintery conditions. Although all-season tyres bearing the M&S designation exhibit better properties for driving on snow and ice than summer tyres with the speed code letters H,V,W, and ZR they are generally not quite as effective as winter tyres in such conditions"

It goes on to recommend the same type on all four wheels and to use tyres approved by BMW, and remarks that in Germany the law requires a reminder label to be attached in the driver's field of view if the vehicle's top speed is higher than the permitted speed for the tyres. There is information elsewhere that implies the speed rating for winter tyres will be Q,T, or H, but it is a 12 year old car and things may have changed. So it seems for some of us if we do NOT fit winter tyres in wintery conditions,we should not be following the manufacturer's recommendations on tyres and might possibly be blamed by our insurers!

What was the response from my insurer to fitting winter tyres?
To conclude my personal saga, having got my second hand wheels from a BMW breaker and received delivery of winter tyres from www.tyres-pneus-online.co.uk I contacted my insurance brokers who replied "It is the case that different Insurance Company's have different underwriting views regarding winter tyres. Your own insurers used to decline cover for vehicles with winter tyres but only last week Liverpool Victoria have changed their underwriting criteria and will look at each case individually based on the following information:

The insurers first all require the tyre width, profile, rim size and speed rating for the current tyres and the new winter tyres for a comparison. Please supply this information and we refer it to Liverpool Victoria accordingly."

I told them all these details were the same for the winter as for the summer tyres and got the go-ahead to fit them. My local tyre centre fitted them for £41.97 (including VAT) which is just for new valves and balancing. As they did not supply the tyres and it was over one hour's work, I thought that was very good! (14.12.10)
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