- Do I need to tell my insurer if I fit winter tyres?

- Can I legally drive in wellies?

These are just some of the most Googled searches by drivers when the colder months hit...

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Drivers are taking a huge risk if they leave their car with its engine running to warm it up

- If your vehicle is stolen whilst the engine is running (When warming up the interior in the cold winter mornings) – will unfortunately invalidate the insurance...


Of course it is.

Most insurers have a 'keys exclusion' clause written into the small print, Aviva explained.

This says that if your car is stolen while you left it unattended with the engine running, you won't be covered.

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You can get a fine if you're caught leaving your engine running to defrost the windscreen


Leaving the engine running on a vehicle parked on the public road also breaks 123 of the Highway Code and is an offence under regulations 98 and 107 of the Road Vehicles (Constructions and Use) Regulations 1986 - and is punishable by a £20 fine.

Refuse to turn the engine off and the penalty charge doubles to £40.

However, the chances of this happening are extremely slim, as a ''This is Money'' investigation uncovered earlier this year.

Our Freedom of Information request to police forces around the country revealed just 494 fines had been handed out since 2015 for breaches of Section 42 .

Many of them won't even be for de-icing a car outside the owner's home - more likely drivers caught with engines running in 'no-idling' zones in built-up areas and outside school.

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It's illegal to drive in wellies


It's not illegal to drive in wellington boots, but you should make sure you have full control of the car in them. It's unlikely you'll ever be stopped by police to scrutinise your footwear

According to a recent Aviva survey of motorists, 13 per cent have, at some time, driven in wellington boots.

Rule 97 in the Highway Code states that motorists should ensure 'clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner'.

That means it is not illegal to wear wellies at the wheel but it's up to motorists to ensure their footwear is suitable and they can display that they have full control of the car at all times.

And the chances of the police pulling you over to inspect what's on your feet is pretty much null.

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It's not your fault if you crash on ice and insurers will always pay out


Ultimately drivers are responsible for their actions behind the wheel, so motorists could find themselves with an 'at fault' claim if they lose control on the ice, even if there is no-one else involved.

If another driver is involved, any fault will depend on the circumstances of the incident.

Stopping distances could be up to 10 times longer on ice than under dry conditions, so extreme care is required.

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You invalidate your car insurance if you've had winter tyres fitted


Most major providers have signed up to the ABI's Winter Tyres Motor Insurance Commitment, but you need to check if yours has

Winter tyres are a fairly recent phenomenon. They're better in the colder months because the rubber operates more effectively in conditions below 7 degrees and have tread patterns that shift surface water quicker.

However, fitting them can be categorised as a modification, which means it should be declared to an insurer and usually pay an additional premium.

However, the major providers in the UK have all signed up to the Association of British Insurers Winter Tyres Motor Insurance Commitment, which means they don't have to tell their insurer because the tyres are deemed safer at this time of year.

However, there are still a small number of insurers that haven't signed up to the ABI's commitment. If you have cover with one of these, you will need to tell them that you intend to use winter tyres.

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It is illegal not to carry an emergency kit in the boot of your car in winter


There is absolutely no requirement for UK drivers to have an emergency kit of any sort, not matter what the weather.

However, it's a pretty good idea to have one, especially when it snows.

The Highway Code suggests to take a de-icer and ice scraper, torch, warm clothing and boots, first aid kit, jump leads and a shovel, together with a warm drink and emergency food in case you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down.

A phone charger is also a wise addition, if you have a USB port or an adapter in the car.

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Your car is more likely to be stolen or broken into around Christmas


Your statistically less likely to be a victim of vehicle theft and car crime on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, claim figures suggest

Aviva stats show that theft claims actually fall during the festive period, with Christmas day and Boxing Day recording some of the lowest volumes of motor theft claims of the year.

Well, thieves do also have families to celebrate with.

In 2018, theft claims on Christmas Day and Boxing Day were 87 per cent and 76 per cent lower (respectively) than a typical day in December.

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It's illegal to drive with a windscreen that's not fully de-iced


Just clearing the immediate field of vision of snow and ice won't be enough. You risk receiving a £60 fine if the police think your visibility is being impaired

It's a common sight on the road when the temperature turns frost - drivers creeping along with a letterbox-size gap in the ice scraped into the windscreen.

But rule 229 of the Highway Code states that you 'MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows'.

And that's not just the part of the window in front of you - police have the right to stop and fine you £60 if any of the screen is obstructed.

Incredibly, a recent survey of over 2,000 UK motorists by Aviva found that almost half (46 per cent) of drivers don't always clear their windscreens fully.

Number plates and lights should be clear too, and mirrors and windows should be de-misted.

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You're not insured if you damage your car driving through floodwater


This is a grey area, as some insurers cover this kind of damage and others don't - so check you're policy small print.

Aviva says it covers damage to motor vehicles caused by driving through floodwater.

However, floodwater can do a lot of harm and almost most half of flood-damaged cars treated by Aviva are unrepairable.

In a typical car, if the depth of water is more than 4-6 inches (10-15 cm), it's best not to attempt to drive through it.​

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It is statistically more dangerous to drive in winter because there are fewer hours of day light


Official figures show that there are more crashes in winter months, which can be attributed to the shorter daylight hours

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Reports that two in five of all collisions occur when it's dark. However, the combination of darkness and bad weather can be particularly treacherous.

According to the Department for Transport, there were more accidents in snowy or icy conditions on motorways in 2017 during the hours of darkness – a 22 per cent increase compared to daylight hours.

So it's important to pay extra attention during the winter months when daylight is in short supply.


We have a awesome promotion this winter for a free vehicle Winter check - If you're interested - Book your space whilst it's free ! :)