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Do I need to tell my insurer if I switch to winter tyres?

It might seem crazy, but insurers have been known to penalise drivers for 'modifying' their cars with winter tyres

Words By David Motton

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Volkswagen Golf in snow

In the harsh winter of 2010-11, stories emerged of drivers being charged a premium by insurers for fitting winter tyres because they had 'modified' their cars, or even being refused insurance altogether.

It was strange for drivers wanting to make their car safer to be penalised with a higher insurance bill, and in many cases the bigger premiums were put down to mistakes by call centre staff rather than official policy.

Since then, motor insurers have taken a more enlightened approach to winter tyres. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), as long as winter tyres are fitted to the manufacturer’s specifications and they are in a roadworthy condition, there are rarely any insurance implications.

However, some insurers do ask that they are informed if winter tyres are fitted. The ABI lists the requirements of different insurers on its website (www.abi.org.uk/Insurance-and-savings/Products/Motor-insurance/Winter-tyres), but if you are in any doubt we’d advise giving your insurer a call.

> Next: Do I need winter tyres in Europe?

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