How Warming Car Up Could Cost Insurance

Tue 9th Feb 2021

As the UK is gripped in the bite of one of the coldest snaps of recent times, motorists are being given plenty of advice on avoiding breaking the law and even voiding your motor insurance.

Two of the biggest motoring organisations have offered guidelines on staying safe in the snow and ice, though it is perhaps best to remember the main government advice to only travel if your journey is absolutely essential.

However, for those of us who have no option but to hit the road, it is wise to take into consideration the advice of the RAC as overnight temperatures plummet to -16 degrees Celsius in some areas of the country.

Snow can cause a hazard on the roads, but it is best to remember that snow on your car can also be very dangerous, and driving with snow on your roof or windscreen could be deemed dangerous driving.

“Even if you’re only making a two-minute journey, by not thoroughly cleaning your car of snow, ice or condensation… you’re breaking the law and leaving yourself liable to a run in with the police,” says the RAC advice.

And while you might be tempted to pop out and leave your engine running five or ten minutes ahead of your journey, please be aware that you might be invalidating your insurance by leaving your car unattended with the keys in the ignition. The AA’s Head of Insurance, Michael Lloyd points out that your car is not appropriately protected in such circumstances.

“Every winter we get reports of members’ cars that have disappeared off drives,” he said. “The fact is that the keys are the weakest link in the car security chain and leaving your car unattended, unlocked and with the keys in in it is simply inviting it to be stolen.

“If it is ticking over, warming up, it makes the thief’s job very easy.

“Every insurance policy carries with it a ‘duty of care’ which means that you should take reasonable steps to protect your property and not do anything that could avoidably lead to loss or damage.

“And leaving your car with the engine running falls squarely into that category.

“No insurance company will meet a claim where you have left your car open to be stolen.”