Can my car insurance policy be invalidated by fitting winter tyres in frost and ice?

Car insurance companies can invalidate your policy in winter if an accident was caused by yourself or you have left your car unattended to warm up. However, some car insurance companies can still invalidate insurance even if you make your car safer by fitting winter tyres.


  • You’re less likely to have a serious car crash in the winter

These tyres are thicker and provide more grip on slippery road surfaces over the winter months.

Fitting the new rubber makes your car safer in icy conditions and can reduce the risk of having a car crash as temperature fall.

However, fitting the new tyres and not informing your car insurance provider could see your policy invalidated.

This is because fitting winter tyres to a vehicle can be regarded as a modification which goes against a vehicle’s original design.

Modifying a car and failing to inform a car insurance provider goes against most people’s terms and conditions and insurance providers could refuse to pay out on any claims.

However, winter tyres are slightly different from other cosmetic modifications and many of the leading firms will not require road users to update them if they fit the new tyres.

This is because winter tyres are safety measures and the majority of insurers have signed up to the Association of British Insurer’s winter tyre commitment.

Insurers signed up to the commitment have pledged to not charge an additional premium when winter tyres are fitted as long as these meet the vehicle’s specifications and are in a roadworthy condition.

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The commitment only applies to cars used for personal use that are insured under a private or personal policy but offers reassurance for concerned road users.

Major car insurance firms such as Direct Line, Aviva, Allianz and LV have stated motorists do not even need to tell them if they fit the new tyres.

However, the ABI has identified some firms which require customers to contact them to make them aware of changes.

Car Insurance providers eCar, Swiftcover and Southern Rock Insurance say customers must contact them via email or phone if they have fitted the new tyres to a car.


  • You can be fined for clearing frost off a windscreen

According to the ABI, all these firms will not add charges to premium prices and the amount of cover will not be affected once the insurer has been informed.

The ABI list features just 70 of over 600 car insurance providers across the country and many companies policies are still unclear.

Not included on the ABI winter tyres commitment list is popular insurance firm Swinton although their policy is clarified online.

Through a post on their website, a spokesperson for Swinton Insurance claimed road users should still contact their provider if they fit winter tyres.

They said: “Yes. Although many companies won’t charge you extra for fitting winter tyres, provided the tyre size is no different to that originally fitted by your car’s manufacturer, some may argue that fitting winter tyres cud be classed as a ‘modification’.”

Fitting winter tyres on a vehicle is not mandatory and is only an optional extra for concerned road users over the winter months.

Winter tyres will help overall grip and motorists who fit them could feel instant benefits in regards to a reduced stopping distance and a feeling of better control.

Winter tyres come with thick grooves and this prevents motorists from being hit with expensive fines for accidentally running on icy roads with tyres under the minimum tread depth. 

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