November 2011 Issue of 4×4 Magazine
What a complete clot! When one 4×4 reader asked his insurance company why his policy had been invalidated because he had taken the eminently sensible decision to fit a set of winter tyres to his VW Touareg, the prize plonker at his insurance company answered, ‘the tyres are a winter tyre and should only be fitted in winter.” Asking when Privilege insurance defined winter actually occurred, he was told “December, or when it snows.” This flippant and stupendously idiotic response just shows the ignorance that still exists with some insurance companies, and why, when you fit winter tyres to your 4×4 – and trust us, you really should consider it – you do need to check with your insurance company to see if fitting invalidates your policy. If it does, the solution is simple: move insurers! Which is exactly what this Touareg owner did – he’s now with AVIVA.
We have our annual winter preparation feature in this issue, starting on page 24. And just in case there are any bewildered brokers reading this, fitting winter tyres is not “just for December, or when it snows”. The reason for fitting such tyres is not just for snow, or for any particular calendar month. Winter tyres are designed to work at their very best when the temperature drops below 7deg C. Now as this is being written while we are enjoying a wonderfully warm late September, that may seem very cold! Actually, the average UK temperature, during morning rush hour and in the evenings, drops below 7degC for some six months of the year!
The insurance man’s ignorance probably has something to do with nomenclature (that means ‘the names of things’ Mr insurance broker). Calling the tyres ‘snow’ is not correct; they are ‘winter’ tyres. Yes they have improved performance in snow due to the designs and the increased depth of the wider sipes in the tread pattern, but you will also notice significantly better braking distances on cold, wet roads. Such performance will mean that you will not need to speak to your insurance man, since you won’t be bumping into anything when the conditions make it impossible to stop in time. Our advice is to consider winter tyres, consider having them fitted for a longer period than just December (it’s a myth they wear out quicker than ‘normal’ tyres), but check with your insurer – and change if need be, don’t let them put you off! The best companies to change to can be found at the back of this magazine. These guys understand 4x4s, so consider insuring with them makes complete sense. Interestingly, we notice this year that both Toyota and Audi have special offers on wheel and winter tyres for their owners, including storage of your ‘normal’ rubber. That’s good news as it will get the better knowledge over to drivers (and insurance companies), and could well cut down a lot of the massive disruption that bad weather causes. Tell your neighbours that these tyres work well on two-wheel drive vehicles as well; but they would be far better off driving all four!
Hopefully, the advice offered in this month’s issue will be useful, do let us know what you think and what you plan to do when the temperature finally drops and the nights draw in and we all look forward to seeing those spring daffodils again!
Must just finish off by mentioning two other great features this month. Shion Scudamore has finally written the story of taking three Unimogs across the Sahara – it’s taken him 28 years, but well worth it. Then there’s the monstrous Hummer that Hils Everitt found in Cambridgeshire – driven there from somewhere in the Middle East. Neither of these features includes a single mention of winter tyres, of course! Enjoy the issue – and do remember to contact us with details of Your 4×4 Life. Cheers all.
Nigel Fryatt, Editor
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