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How ridiculous! (Winter Tyre discussion warning) Updated - reply from Churchill

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Having read many threads about Winter Tyres etc, I thought I would investigate the options available - decided that the sensible thing to do would be buy a cheapish set of steel wheels which I could keep the tyres on.

However - Churchill Insurance decided that it would cost me an extra £75 a year to make this modification to the vehicle!!!!!!!!!!!!

This would of course mean replacing the current alloys with cheap and nasty steel wheels and Winter Tyres to keep me safer - personally I'd have said a £75 reduction would be in order rolling eyes


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 1-10-08 9:27; edited 1 time in total
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Boris, I had similar sort of ridiculous when I could't get the specified winter tyre, and initially was told anything else would invalidate the cars waranty rolling eyes
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I will probably go for plan B and just buy the tyres - I just thought having wheels would make it easier to swap around.

I'm on the verge of writing a stroopy complaint letter - but can't see it will acheive anything
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Boris, that's ridculous.....I modified a car..took it's BHP from 225 to 330 and was only charged £25...how did they justify the £75??

Boredsurfing, errrm how do tyres even effect the cars warranty......does this mean that if you don't replace the oem tyres with the same then it invalidates all warranties? I've never heard such a load of Bull****................tyre manufacturers often modify their own tyres every year so when your car is made you might have Michlen Sport Contact2 put on but a year later when they need replacing they might have tweaked the design and call them Sport Contact 3....................and this invalidates your warranty....absolute twaddle!!
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marcellus, Exactly!
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I would never thought to have told my insurance company I was changing the wheels (unless I'd been going from steel to alloy) - fortunately I've always had cheap cars so have just being getting an extra set of the same steel wheels for the snow tyres.
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Boris, by telling Churchill that you are fitting winter tyres, they would assume you were going to be driving on dodgy winter roads and thus more dangerous conditions than normal. If they asked you, your would answer would probably be.."Ahhhh Yessss!" wink
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Dave Horsley wrote:
I would never thought to have told my insurance company I was changing the wheels


Me neither. They probably just have a fixed charge for recording any harmless mod to the car.
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richmond wrote:
Dave Horsley wrote:
I would never thought to have told my insurance company I was changing the wheels


Me neither. They probably just have a fixed charge for recording any harmless mod to the car.


I have this annoying habit of dropping myself in it - but I know from painful experience that I am the 1 person who won't get away with something everyone else would do.

If I'd had an accident, I can guarantee the insurance wouldn't have paid out
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Boris, Are the steel wheels designed for that car ?
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rjs, Not sure what you mean by designed, but they are VW parts approved for use on that car - VW Sharan.
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rjs, as long as the "offset" is the same they don't have to be designed for the car....if the offset weren't the same they wouldn't fit.....as another thought is the spare an alloy or steel?? if steel, do you have to tell the insurance company everytime you use it??
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Boris wrote:
Having read many threads about Winter Tyres etc, I thought I would investigate the options available - decided that the sensible thing to do would be buy a cheapish set of steel wheels which I could keep the tyres on.



How much is a set of winter tyres and wheels then?


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Mon 29-09-08 12:31; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Boris, I was wondering if it could be argued that you were not modifying the car, just swapping one approved part for another.
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I think this is because the insurance co wants to keep costs down by only insuring known risks - ie ones that can fit a box in the spreadsheet.
There are lots of specialist insurers but I dont know if they offer a better deal or not. In my experience with kit cars and classics, they are.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Boris, what a load of cr*p. I think it is completely unjustified and a cop out to get more money off you. I too would never have even thought of informing my insurance company that I was putting a steel set of wheels on instead of the alloys I have at the moment understanding it to be a lower risk if anything and I didn't think I'd need to. Surely the reason why people need to inform their insurance company if they do it the other way round, i.e replace their steel wheels with alloys is that it then makes the car better looking in theory and more desirable to car thieves?

The same could be said for people that have summer tyres on their cars all year round as most people in the UK do, and then when we have a harsh winter or an extraordinary rainy few months the insurance company turning round and not paying out in an accident because of having summer tyres on the car which aren't as effective in snow/sleet/slush/rain. There isn't a question on the proposal form that asks "What tyres have you got on the car?".

Besides, if you have European cover included as standard on your policy, then one would assume that the possibility of driving on snowy roads is more likely in the rest of Europe than it is here, so that's a given and shouldn't merit an additional modification premium. Also on the European cover they presumably don't ask "Will be you be driving in the Alps?" to take in account the additional "wintery driving" risk. rolling eyes I don't know if they do ask that question or not as I have European cover as standard on my Halifax policy. I'm now going to check to see if it makes a difference where in Europe you are driving the car and does it matter if you're up a mountain on snowy roads at the time of an accident!
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I'd change my insurance company
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Boris, you are doing them a favour by putting on winter tyres... and yourself, of course.

In some parts of the Alpes winter tyres are obligatory for certains times of the year.

I think reglulatory bodies should be able to look at this sort of thing and discern whether this is blatant profiteering
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Boris, i suspect you have received the standard call centre answer as in what you propose to do changes the car in someway from how it was originally manufactured and the rating guide therefore says its a modification therefore £75 endorsement . . . if you complain your query may get escalated to someone with some underwriting authority who will be able to give you a sensible answer as to why they have to levy a charge or they will write the additional premium off.
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Quote:

How much is a set of winter tyres and wheels then?



How long is a piece of string?

For my skoda fabia the wheels were free. The skoda garage threw them in free when I bought my secondhand skoda from them. Someone had just bought a new skoda and upgraded to alloys. The salesman set the steel wheels would have been skipped. Four Vredestein snowtrac2s cost me 240quid fitted. The fronts lasted 2 winters, the rears look new. I'll be getting 2 new winter tyres soon. The fronts should have lasted longer, but I didn't swap them to the back last year (by mistake) and I had a tracking problem that lead to excessive wear. The later has hopefully been fixed (newtrack rod ends and wheels aligned). That meant I only got 20k miles out of the front tyres. The last set of Vredesteins on the front of my car did 44k miles before replacing.
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snobunni, exactly what I intend to do - am in process of composing a considered and polite enquiry as to what they are playing at - replies will be published

bertie bassett, new set of steel wheels £228 (all 4) Recommended tyres by VW are Hankook at £90 each - they are used on Tiguan and Tourag
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chris wrote:
Boris, by telling Churchill that you are fitting winter tyres, they would assume you were going to be driving on dodgy winter roads and thus more dangerous conditions than normal.

I would have thought this is likely to be the answer - more likely to be driving in hazardous conditions, therefore more likley to have a claim. Even though having winter tyes should make your driving safer. BTW - this is with me having zero knowledge regarding such matters!

Quote:
If they asked you, your would answer would probably be.."Ahhhh Yessss!" wink

Laughing Laughing
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Boris, What was the additional £75 for. Was it for using winter tyres or for changing the wheels?
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bertie bassett wrote:

How much is a set of winter tyres and wheels then?


http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=42240 Very Happy Would need some wheels to mount them on of course but if you've got a common wheel size and those tyres work for you then could grab a bargain.
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rich.ll, I may have mis-understood - but they seemed to be saying to cover the increased value of the car Puzzled

Eh - I mean with petrol the price it is, I add nearly £100 when I fill up!

I have written to them to ask them to explain
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Boris, perhaps they think that you are going to fit the new wheels and tyres in addition to the existing ones, increasing the value by £588.
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richmond, that would be novel - certainly increase the stability.

But do I fit chains to both sets of front wheels - or just the inside or outside ones wink
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Boris, I think that if the wheels are VW approved for fittment to your car then the insurance company has no right to charge more and the tyres if they are the same rating like wise. My question is why did you ask?
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You know it makes sense.
In case anyone is interested, you can get steel 6 stud Japenese 4x4 fitment steel wheels from Nene Valley for £38 per wheel.
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Boris, it may be useful if you could get a letter from vw to say that the tyres are ok with vw. When i asked my insurance co that was all they wanted to know. I emailed the garage and (somewhat to my surprise given other people poor experiences) i got a reply back that said it was ok to use tyres with a lower speed rating than the original as long as i didn't exceed the rating and that it was ok to use the steel rims, he know of people who'd bought them from ebay.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Dypcdiver, why did I ask? Well I have this annoying habit of checking things which may influence any potential claim - often things which don't need to be mentioned. This of course confuses them.

If I'd just done it - chances are that no-one would ever have questioned it - even if there had been an accident.

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to things like this
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Last season we bought a new set of snow tyres and alloys (I don't like the look of steels) all up including fitting etc. £485. You just gotta watch out for the deals from wheel companies and then ask them to fit snow tyres instead of the performance ones they will try and flog you. Our insurance company was interested as the "winter" alloys were not standard - cost £20 on the premium - which I was happy to pay.
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peura,

Just found a test for all year tyres on a german site (3rd and 5th place are joint)

http://www.autobild.de/artikel/test-ganzjahresreifen-195_65-r15_786047.html

1st - Goodyear Vector 4Seasons 91 V.

2nd - Hankook Optimo 4S 91 H.

3rd - Kumho Solus Vier KH 21 95 V.

3rd - Vredestein Quatrac 3 91 H

5th - Barum Quartaris 91 T

5th - Dunlop SP 4 All Seasons 91 H

7th - Pirelli P 2500 Euro 4S 91 H.

8th - Maxxis All Season 95 H

Boris,
The insurance company are crackers, most Sharans have steel wheels and winter tyres fitted here in the winter. I'd get a letter from VW.
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Boris, --- If I'd just done it - chances are that no-one would ever have questioned it - even if there had been an accident.

I think the response would have been, ' Sorry Sir, your not covered as your car didnt have appropriate tyres for the conditions' , to which you would have responded, 'but I had snow tyres fitted' , to which they would have replied ' Sorry Sir, your not covered as your car has been modified and you didnt notify us'

I think they are taking the p*** when you are reducing the risk to yourself and other road users. Write the letter and show us the reply.
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DB,

I've used the quatracs in the past (at a smaller size than in that test) and was very happy with them, tried to get a set for my present car recently when I had to replace my summer tyres, but no garages that I phoned in aberdeen had any or could get any. I'll be getting snowtracs to replace the winter tyres I wore out due to duff tracking.
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DB, cheers - as the Hankook were recommended by VW I think a set of those will be in order.

If I can ever find something to put them
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Just to point out that 'All Season Tyres', are not 'Winter Tyres'. They perform better in cold conditions than pure 'Summer Tyres', but don't come close to the performance of a proper 'Winter Tyre' in snow & ice. Sort of a Jack of all trades, master of none. I'd go with a proper 'Summer' Tyre and a proper 'Winter' tyre.
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Spyderman wrote:
Just to point out that 'All Season Tyres', are not 'Winter Tyres'. They perform better in cold conditions than pure 'Summer Tyres', but don't come close to the performance of a proper 'Winter Tyre' in snow & ice. Sort of a Jack of all trades, master of none. I'd go with a proper 'Summer' Tyre and a proper 'Winter' tyre.


I agree, it's like skis. An allrounder can't match an offpiste ski and a dedicated race ski on their respective terrain. As with skis though all season tyres are getting better and their performance window is getting wider. I'll stick to winter tyres and summer tyres but if I was living in the UK with the odd trip to the alps during winter I'd consider them but only if they have the snowflake in a mountain symbol and a minimum tread of 4 to 5 mm (to be legal during the winter in Austria see pic below for symbol)



Some all season tyres have M&S (Mud and snow) markings on them but are without the above symbol - I wouldn't consider these when driving to the alps. Suspect that spyderman might be refering to these tyres.
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Quote:


stortfordhal
down a crevasse

Posts: 64
Location: London
Got this back from the Austrain Tourist board. So looks like All Weather Snow and Mud tyres OK they are saying as well as winter tyres!!! So does DB, agree with that or are the Tourist Board out of date? Smile

Dear Sir,


Thank you very much for your inquiry.

The information you received is correct: Since last year winter tyres are compulsory during the winter season. Snow chains are only accepted as an alternative if the entire road is heavily covered with snow.

Another alternative are all-seasons-tyres marked with SM (snow and mud).

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Best regards,

Gregor Krassnig

Holiday Service of the Austrian National Tourist Office

PO Box 83

A-1043 Vienna

E-Mail: holiday@austria.info

Internet: www.austria.info

ZVR: 075857630


Taken from the last thread to engage on this issue. Still it's good to see that DB is firmly sticking to his POV about M&S rated tyres only being legal if they have the snowflake symbol. Still DB has declared that he's not being paid by the Austrian authorities, so unless Mr Krassnig is a hoaxer, who's view would you take?
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DB, snowbunny, With or without the M+S and Snowflake logo, I'd consider 'All Season Tyres' to be inferior to a pure 'Summer' Tyre in Summer and a pure 'Winter' Tyre in Winter.
An analogy is in F1, Dry grooved 'slicks' for a dry track, Intermediates for damp track and Monsoon Wets for heavy rain. If the rain is heavy both the slicks and inters will be falling off the track. If it's dry the wets will overheat and degrade. In the dry the Inters wont be as fast as slicks, in the wet they wont clear as much water as wets. Fit the right tyres for the conditions. 'All Season' are a compromise.
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