Is your insurance company being winter tyre friendly?

Update: On Friday 3rd December the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued a statement clarifying that providing the winter tyres are in the manufacturers recommended fitment it doesn't not constitute as a chargeable modification. While great news, it seems to skirt around the point of moving to smaller wheels.

Thanks to the coldest winter in 30 years, insurance companies paid out over £395 million across 268,400 motor insurance claims during the worst of the snow in December 2009 and January 2010. If more drivers had taken advantage of winter tyres, which can offer over 3 times more traction when compared to regular tyres on snow and ice, there's a high probability that number of accidents would have been considerably less, and the insurance companies resulting pay out would have been smaller.

Roll on to now, November 2010, and many people are fitting winter tyres to improve the grip of their motor vehicles for the cold season. These actions are commendable, more grip means safer motoring and can only be good from an insurers perspective.

The big issue...

While a few insurance companies are proactively telling drivers to switch to winter tyres, a worrying trend seems to be developing. The majority of insurance companies are claiming that switching to winter tyres, or a winter tyre and wheel combination as specified in the vehicles handbook is a modification and are charging an administration fee and in some cases, increasing the premium. Yes, you read that right, some insurance companies are penalising drivers who are actively trying to improve their road safety!

Here at TyreReviews we find that both crazy and infuriating so with your help, we'd like to compile a list of winter tyre friendly and unfriendly insurers in 2010. Hopefully, with a bit of pressure from the public and the industry we can convince insurance companies to change their opinion of winter tyres and to stop charging to fit them.

Please post your winter tyre related insurance experience in the comments below. Once we have a good overview of the situation we will follow it up with another post telling you who's good, and who to avoid along with a little pressure for the insurance industry.


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