DRIVERS are being warned about a mistake they could be making while they’re in a rush to de-frost their car every morning.
Temperatures have well and truly plummeted, and many of us have woken up to frozen-over door handles and iced-over windscreens in the rush to get off the drive and on the way to work.
But in a battle to keep the visibility of your car clear and your seat warm ready for the commute, a simple and common trick, like leaving the engine running, could make your car insurance invalid.
Some car insurance agreements note that leaving the engine running to defrost a vehicle makes your car a target for thieves.
So if you left the car unattended, unlocked, and with the ignition on in the morning, and it did get stolen or damaged, you wouldn’t be able to claim.
Even if you had left the car on a private driveway, you’d still be to blame for leaving it in a vulnerable way.
You could have your insurance claim rejected under a clause of “reasonable care”.
In the eyes of your insurer, the act would show you to be reckless and not safeguarding the vehicle, so they’re not going to pay out when something goes wrong.
A spokesperson from LV said: “We always ask that customers close windows and sun-roofs, lock doors and take the key with them when they leave the vehicle unattended.
“So if the car is on the driveway running and was left unattended, it wouldn’t be covered if someone made a claim.”
If you do find yourself in that situation, and your claim has been rejected, not all is lost.
You can look to the Financial Ombudsman, but they can only help if there’s no clear “keys in car” exclusion written into your policy.
That exclusion means that if you were to leave the car unattended with the keys still inside, you can’t claim anything on your insurance – putting the blame on drivers’ mishaps instead.
But you could argue that the car wasn’t left unattended even if the insurers say so.
The Ombudsman would then need to see CCTV footage or photos of the area to prove your claim though.
How can I de-frost my car quickly?
If you start as early as the night before you can prevent frost settling on your car when it’s cold, that way you won’t be scrambling in the morning.
Cover mirrors or the windscreen so the ice can’t settle – and you won’t have anything to get rid of any when you come to drive off anyway.
You can also try parking your car in the right spot and let nature to do its work for you.
If its facing the direction of the rising sun, then by the time you’re ready to head out, all the ice should have melted away.
If you’re likely to leave it until the last minute though, there are ways you can de-ice your car before you shoot off to work – minus the panic.
You can buy a number of specialist products to help you de-ice your car like scrapers and tailored solutions to pour over the ice.
But if you don’t want to splash out on the professional gear there are some household items that can prevent frost on windscreens just as well – like vinegar to use instead of store bought solutions or dangerous boiling water.
Be careful of super quick-fix methods like using boiling water or your credit card to de-ice your car as these can be damaging and cost you more in the long run.
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