Driving home for Christmas: GoCompare urges drivers to check vehicles before they head off
Tomorrow (Friday 21 December) will undoubtedly be the busiest day on the roads this festive season, with workers finishing, schools breaking up and Christmas shoppers making their last-minute trips.
But before motorists swarm onto the country’s roads to spend time with loved ones and take a well-earned break, GoCompare is encouraging them to give their vehicles a once-over to avoid what’s probably the last thing on their minds: invalidating their car insurance – a sure-fire way to quash the festive spirit.
GoCompare Car Insurance’s motoring expert Matt Oliver, said: “While we’re all eager to jump in the car and start the festivities at home for Christmas, there are actually a number of ways drivers could invalidate their cover or break the law when driving, particularly if there are adverse weather conditions.”
How drivers could invalidate their policies in five easy steps:
1) Not clearing snow from the roof before heading off
“While the brunt of the cold weather is yet to arrive – those driving to rural or higher ground may still be affected. And it might surprise you, but not clearing the roof of your car could both invalidate you cover and even land you with a police fine.
“Having snow on the roof of your car when driving can be a hazard for both yourself and other drivers. This is because there is a chance that the snow may fall off and obscure your vision or that of another motorist, especially when travelling at speed or braking.
“In most cases your insurer is unlikely pay out if you have been driving illegally or recklessly, and if you were to have an accident as a result of not clearing your roof, it could be deemed that you had been irresponsible.”
2) Not de-icing and demisting the whole car
“Most people are aware that it is a legal requirement that before driving you need to ensure your windshield is clear from any obstructions, including ice – which means you have to thoroughly de-ice and demist your vehicle before setting off.
“However, what people sometimes forget is that this applies to all of the windows and mirrors on your vehicle, even if your car has parking sensors.”
3) Leaving your car unattended while it warms up
“By law you must de-ice and demist all your vehicle, however, depending on how drivers go about this, they could find themselves without cover.
“Despite the freezing conditions, motorists will not be covered if they leave their vehicles unlocked and unattended while de-icing their car, especially if they leave their keys in the ignition. This is due to most policies having a duty of care clause.
“So, while it might be tempting to stay inside the house as the car warms up and demists, if someone were to jump in the car and drive off with it, you wouldn’t be covered. Maybe it’s just better to get the thermals on instead.”
4) Not driving appropriately for the conditions
“Just because there’s not a red weather warning, it doesn’t mean you have carte blanche from your insurer to hit the road like you usually would.
“While most providers will pay out if you happen to have a collision, it is also up to you to take responsibility for how you are driving. If the insurer deems you were driving irresponsibly, particularly if the weather conditions are poor, there is a higher chance they won’t pay out.
“It’s essential you check the details of any third-party cover, as although many comprehensive cover policies will pay out if there is damage caused by adverse conditions, the same cannot be said for third party policies – which usually only cover damage to other vehicles. “
5) Not checking your tyres
“While winter tyres are ideal for snowy and icy roads, regular tyres should suffice for most roads. However, it's important to check that your tyres are in good condition, that you at least have the 1.6mm minimum legal tread and that your tyres are inflated to the levels advised in your car's handbook. If you do live in a snow-prone or isolated area, you might want to consider a set of winter tyres. But before you switch, give your car insurance provider a call to check if they consider them a modification or not. If they do, you may risk invalidating your policy if you don't declare them.”
For further information please contact:
Anders Nilsson or Louisa Marsden at GoCompare on 01633 654 054 / 01633 655 132
Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845
Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter: @GoCompare
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