Insurance concerns with winter tyres clarified

Chris Hunt Cooke says "it is important to stress that other insurers may have different views on the subject and readers should enquire what their own insurer's attitude may be. It is encouraging though that both Ecclesiastical and Liverpool Victoria have replied so quickly and taken a reasonable and helpful attitude. Ecclesiastical's response in particular is refreshingly free from the equivocation sometimes found in the insurance world!" Chris has recently fitted winter tyres to his everyday car and reported his experience with his helpful insurer Liverpool Victoria on the V8BB. More
Photo: HERO Club website

Links to the earlier NEWS pages on winter tyres and snow socks:

Liverpool Victoria
Other insurers may have different views on fitting winter tyres. 161210 More

Snow socks
Are snow socks for tyres a low cost alternative to winter tyres or snow chains?
051210 More

Winter tyres
Are winter tyres worth the expense? 051210 More



Winter tyres age rapidly
Ron Gammons mentioned that tyres for snow use age quite rapidly and generally need renewing after two years because the rubber compound has aged and will not react.

Winter tyre availability is very tight
Demand for winter tyres has been very heavy over the last three weeks and getting hold of tyres for your car is very difficult at present. Ron Gammons reported that in a survey he has just conducted he found there are a number types of tyre in the 185 x 70 x 14 size available at between £50 and £100, there is only one at 175 x 80 x 14 and none at 165 x 80 x 14. So while the MGBV8 bods are sorted with a choice, the others will have to go to a larger tyre with possible wheel rim size issues. 171210

Caution: the helpful views expressed here are those of the Ecclesiastical which may not necessarilly be the views of other motor insurers in the industry. As always it is prudent to disclose any material modification to your car to your insurer and discuss any concerns you or they may have over matters relating to the risk they are covering under your motor policy.

Winter tyre advice from the IAM in the Daily Telegraph. More

Association of British Insurers' media comments on snow tyres. 151210 More


AA winter tyres advice.
161210
More

Updated: 241210
Posted: 161210

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Useful clarifications from a leading classic car insurer, the Ecclesiastical, will ease some of the concerns many motoring enthusiasts have had over the last three weeks when considering fitting winter tyres. Through the specialist classic car insurance broker, Peter Best Insurance Services, we sought help in getting a clear idea of what the position is over fitting winter tyres to a day to day car and a classic too. Considerable confusion had built up following reports in the broadsheets and on BBC Radio 4's Moneybox programme.
A helpful response from Ecclesiastical started by saying "having read through the articles, I must admit I take a much more straightforward view than that which is alleged against some in the insurance industry! The issues that are relevant here I think are:

Modification: Technically, the fitting of winter tyres is a 'modification' but not one that is going to be detrimental to the risk (on the contrary, in winter conditions it would make the risk better), so I certainly would not try to use such a 'modification' to invalidate the policy in any way.

Care and maintenance of the vehicle: There is a policy condition that requires the Insured to maintain the vehicle in an efficient and a roadworthy condition. It could be argued that the fitting of winter tyres is an act above and beyond normal care and maintenance of the vehicle.

Value of the vehicle: There may be a small impact on value of the vehicle, as I anticipate winter tyres may be more expensive. But this would be marginal and I would not anticipate any great impact on things like agreed values.

Some countries do reduce insurance payouts if an accident occurs in "summer" tyres in winter conditions. But that doesn't apply to the UK, where it is fairly uncommon to change to winter tyres. Certainly though, I will not seek to prejudice any customer for taking action that improves the risk we as insurers have to bear."


The response then addressed queries we had raised in a note to PBIS which they had referred to the Ecclesiastical who responded with these clarifications:

Q1. Fitting winter tyres
Does fitting winter tyres with a different rubber compound and characteristics to an every day car or a classic MG amount to a modification or a material fact that should be disclosed to the insurer and broker providing motor insurance cover for the vehicle? Does fitting winter tyres result in a higher premium payable and are any conditions applied to the policy whilst the winter tyres are fitted to the insured vehicle?

Ecclesiastical replied - no additional premium is payable and no conditions specific to the winter tyres will apply to the policy.

Q2. Tyre size and speed rating
Do any winter tyres fitted to an everyday car or to a classic MG have to have the same tyre profile in terms of size and profile and do they have to have the same speed rating as the tyres originally specified for the car by the vehicle manufacturer? Does fitting winter tyres with a tyre size and/or speed rating different to that specified by the vehicle manufacturer result in a higher premium payable and are any conditions applied to the policy whilst the winter tyres are fitted to the insured vehicle?

Ecclesiastical replied - the policy conditions demand only that the vehicle is roadworthy. As long as this is so, then the fitting of winter tyres with a tyre size and/or speed rating different to that specified by the vehicle manufacturer will not result in any additional premium, and there are no conditions specific to the winter tyres that will apply to the policy.

Q3. Wheel size
If a different wheel size is used in order to fit the winter tyres - for example if the winter tyres fitted are smaller than those originally specified for the car - does this have to be disclosed as a material fact that should be disclosed to the insurer and broker providing motor insurance cover for the vehicle? Does fitting winter tyres to wheels of a different size to that specified by the vehicle manufacturer result in a higher premium payable and are any conditions applied to the policy whilst the winter tyres are fitted to the insured vehicle?

Ecclesiastical replied - same logic and approach applies as to Q2 on tyre size and speed rating.

Q4. Fitting snow socks
Does fitting snow socks (like the brand known as AutoSocks) over ordinary tyres to improve grip and traction on an everyday car or a classic MG amount to a modification or a material fact that should be disclosed to the insurer and broker providing motor insurance cover for the vehicle? Does fitting winter tyre socks result n a higher premium payable and are any conditions applied to the policy whilst the winter tyres are fitted to the insured vehicle?

Ecclesiastical replied - snow socks can only be used for relatively slow speeds - certainly no more than 30mph. These can be easily removed once they have served their purpose of moving from driving on snow/ice, back to snow free tarmac! For that reason, I would not consider the fitting of snow socks to be a modification. No additional premium or additional policy conditions will apply.

This all applies to both 'everyday' cars and limited mileage/classic cars.

Hope that helps to allay any fears and address any remaining concerns. Far from considering the queries tiresome, I am encouraged by customers who take road safety so seriously!

Well that is much clearer and very welcome.

Many thanks to the Peter Best and Richard Tague at Peter Best Insurance Services, a leading specialist in classic car insurance, for their help in obtaining these clarifications from Ecclesiastical.


Experience with Continental Winter Contact TS830 tyres
See a member's report on sourcing and fitting winter tyres. 201210 More

HRCR winter tyres article
See John Dowson's article from the Historic Rally Car Register's latest magazine. More
V8 Register - MG Car Club - the leading group for MG V8 enthusiasts at www.v8register.net