Consumer advice on freezing weather conditions
Motorists take care – ‘frosting’ on the rise
During freezing weather conditions consumers and businesses should take precautions when travelling on the road to ensure that they don’t get frozen out by their insurance companies.
With “frosting thefts” a continual threat, BIBA urge motorists to take care to check their cover. Those who leave their cars with the engine warming up to defrost the windscreen may not be covered if an opportunistic thief steals the car.
- Most motor insurance policies have a specific “keys in car “ or “vehicle left unattended” clause and exclude claims in these circumstances.
- In addition, there will be a ‘reasonable care’ clause, whereby the insurer may reject a claim on the grounds of the policyholder being ‘reckless’ in not safeguarding the vehicle.
BIBA recommends that consumers should opt for comprehensive motor cover whenever possible as this will provide cover against accidental damage if they skid on icy roads and damage the vehicle – these days there is usually little difference between comprehensive and third party fire and theft premiums. Your broker can arrange this for you and with a low excess.
In extreme weather conditions, drivers are urged to avoid travelling by road wherever possible, but to take appropriate steps if driving is the only option: wrap up warmly, take a blanket, spade, torch, food and drink and a mobile phone, and tell someone what time you expect to complete your journey. Also, check your tyre tread depths to ensure the best grip possible in difficult conditions. Where possible, leave the car in a garage overnight.
Graeme Trudgill, Head of Corporate Affairs at BIBA commented: “During Winter, motorists often embark on journeys in their cars during extreme weather conditions. If we are to see a big freeze, we would urge motorists to check that they have the right equipment with them when they travel, and that they have the full cover necessary in the event of an incident”.
What to do if the worst happens?
Most brokers and Insurers have a claims helpline for you to call and receive quick advice as to how to deal with the incident. Ensure you have the correct details to hand.
In addition to motor insurance in wintry conditions, BIBA also recommends the following:
Home Insurance – Ensure vulnerable pipe work is lagged or isolated as there are thousands of burst pipe claims every winter that cause misery to home owners when water escapes into their properties. These losses are easily preventable.
It is vital to ensure your household buildings and contents insurance policies are up to date to ensure cover – call your broker to discuss the best options for you. With low premiums and instalment facilities home insurance is easily accessible these days.
General maintenance of properties should be kept up to date to ensure claims are minimised – flat roofs, guttering and drains requiring particular attention.
Travel insurance – Travel policies cover you for delay, cancellation or missed departure due to bad weather conditions or even because you have a burst pipe at your house – arranging a travel policy is as important as packing your suitcase.
Businesses – Ensure you have a business continuity plan. You don’t want your customers going to your competitors if you are unable to open for an extended period due to bad weather. BIBA’s research shows that about half of the UK’s SME businesses do not have a business continuity plan at all.
Make sure that you have up to date figures for total values insured to ensure any claims are paid in full – your broker will be able to help you calculate the correct amounts.