Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Last updated: 31st March 2020

Following the Government’s announcement asking everyone to stay at home, we’re making some changes to the way we work to make sure we’re looking after our people and our customers. We’re setting up as many of our colleagues as possible to work from home, but this will take a few days.

In the short-term, we’re only accepting new business online. That means new customers can’t buy insurance over the phone.

Existing customers: Please don’t phone unless it’s absolutely necessary.

We need to prioritise:

  • Customers who have an urgent claim, for example your car is undrivable following an accident, you are injured, or your home is uninhabitable.
  • Customers who can’t pay now as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, call us - we want to help you.

If you have questions about your renewal or want to make a change to your policy, you can use our virtual assistant. If your policy is due to renew in the next week and you haven’t opted for auto-renewal, please call us. If you have opted for auto-renewal, please make sure your insurance still meets your needs.

For more information and frequently asked questions about COVID-19, go to our Coronavirus help and support page.

Are Winter tyres worth it?

Many drivers think there's not much point switching to seasonal tyres to deal with the British winter. But despite the extra expense, winter tyres can significantly improve your car's safety – and not just in snow and ice…

Many people think that winter tyres are unnecessary because we don't actually have that much snow and ice – unless, of course, you live in Scotland. But winter tyres actually make driving safer in any cold weather. Here's the how and why…

What's wrong with using summer tyres in winter?

Regular tyres harden when the temperature drops below 7°C, meaning they have less traction on the road. This increases the risk of spinning off the road, and also extends the stopping distance if you have to make an emergency stop.

There are 6,393 more accidents involving cars on UK roads in winter than there are in summer, according to Continental Tyres. While these can't all be put down to frozen summer tyres, there's no doubt that winter tyres reduce the likelihood of an accident and so help keep car insurance premiums down.

So how do winter tyres help?

To minimise the hardening effect at low temperature, winter tyre rubber compounds contain a higher proportion of natural rubber and silicone content than regular tyres.

They give you better grip in cold conditions because of all the addition of tiny slits in the tread blocks called sipes. The sipes greatly increase the number of lateral edges in your tyres so that when you accelerate or brake, the tyre has more leading edges to bite into the road's surface, improving its ability to grip.

The heavier, deeper tread patterns on winter tyres also help to prevent aquaplaning. Aquaplaning is when the tyre fails to clear the layer of water between road the car, leaving you with no grip and a car that fails to respond to anything you do. This is vital when you consider that the number of accidents caused by wet road conditions increases by 267% in winter, according to the Department of Transport Road Accident Statistics source:

Why don't I just fit winter tyres all year round then?

The noise, for one thing. Siping makes your tyres much noisier in dry conditions, which is a good reason to switch back to your regular tyres in summer. There are several major reasons including the issue of increased tyre wear, road noise when driving at higher speeds, fuel economy and the lack of grip in warmer conditions.

Can I just fit winter tyres to the drive axle?

It's tempting just to fit winter tyres to the drive axle, to improve performance when pulling away. But for optimal performance and safety, you're really better off fitting them to all 4 wheels.

What about driving abroad?

In some European countries it is illegal to drive in regular tyres in the winter, so if you're motoring abroad you need to follow the local law. (In the UK, winter tyres are optional but well worth considering, as we've suggested.)

For other winter driving tips read our guide to driving in snow and ice