Car insurance firms warm to winter tyres

Car insurance companies have ended the risk of motorists skating on thin ice by fitting winter tyres to their cars.

Trade body the Association of British Insurers, that talks for 90% of car insurance firms, has issued a statement reassuring drivers that fitting the tyres will not add any extra premium or breach policy conditions.

The tyres must be fitted in line with maker’s instructions and meet roadworthiness rules.

But the ABI warned that motorists fitting new wheels with the tyres may not be covered and advises they should check the change with their insurers.

Nick Starling,  the ABI’s director of general insurance, said: “Insurers do not want to penalise motorists who take steps, like fitting winter tyres, to improve their safety on dangerous winter roads. Last year, cold weather came early and there was some uncertainty for customers about the insurance implications of fitting winter tyres. This commitment clarifies the position for motorists.”

Although most insurers have pledged not to charge extra premiums to drivers fitting winter tyres, some may still require notification of the change.

Drivers should check their policies as failure to tell the insurer could result in a rejected claim.

The winter tyre commitment covers cars used for personal use, under a private or personal use car insurance policy.

Listings on the ABI web site detail which insurance companies have signed up to the pledge and which need notification of fitting winter tyres.

Meanwhile,  distributors are warning a shortage of winter tyres could hit the UK.

Tyre retailers have told the National Tyre Distributers Association (NTDA) that makers are not delivering orders in full.

‘Richard Eyre of the NTDA said: “If retailers had ordered 100,000 tyres, then they were only getting 75,000 delivered.”

He warns drivers to expect delays of several weeks – even if they have ordered in advance.

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