As the bad weather continues to wreak havoc on our roads, Watson Woodhouse have been looking at whether the Beast from the East and Storm Emma really have any effect on your claim if you have been involved in an accident and more importantly are you insured to drive on a red weather warning?
Overnight hundreds of motorist found themselves stranded in their vehicles as the snow continued to fall across the country, the snow matched with plummeting temperatures and high winds meant that even a small journey was taking people hours. Schools today remain closed and although the red warnings have been lifted, amber and yellow warnings persist in the entire UK.
The Met Office again today warned to only drive if ‘absolutely necessary’ but where does that leave those of us who can’t work from home, or those who find themselves in an emergency. This is certainly the case for the couple who went into labour on the side of the A66 yesterday when they could not reach the hospital in time due to the weather conditions. #A66SnowBaby! It appears that apart from the few ingenious hacks that have been circulating their way round Facebook such as skiing or bobsledding to work, the rest of us have just had to brave the snow and drive. So what does this mean if you get in an accident?
Firstly lets squash the rumour that your insurance is void if you travel in red weather warnings. Kevin Pratt the Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket says;
“Your insurance cover should remain valid whatever the weather, but don’t take that as a green flag to drive without giving heed to the red alert for snow. Simply knowing you’re going to get a pay-out shouldn’t mean you take undue risks. If your insurance company can prove contributory negligence on your part, your claim might be questioned, and any pay-out reduced. For example, if you drove into a swollen ford where there was a warning in place and your car stalled and was ruined by water, your claim might not be paid. You might not even be entitled to recovery by your roadside rescue policy because you had recklessly got yourself into trouble. Same would apply if you went down a road in contravention of official road closure signs and were subsequently involved in an accident. Your home buildings insurance should cover you for the ravages of the storm, whatever its intensity.”
What this means for drivers is pretty simple, your insurance is not void or null, however the amount recoverable could be limited if you were proven to be a contributing factor to the accident or if you were reckless in your driving. It should be noted that this is case for any claim, not just snow claims, contributory negligence can be found in any weather or circumstance but it is more common in snow to somehow be at fault too. For example, if you are driving along the road and your car slides out of control and hits the car in front, but the car in front is wheel spinning in the ice and cannot move it is possible that they could be contributory at fault because they were blocking the road.
What to do if you are involved in a snow or ice accident claim?
If you are involved in any car accident then your first thought should be to “Don’t Panic, Make it Right”
How do you determine who is at fault?
Sometimes it is very clear cut to determine who is at fault for a car accident. However, sometimes this can be tricky and not as clear cut as people think, especially in icy conditions. We have put together a rough guide on what solicitors, insurers and the courts take into consideration when looking at who is at fault for a car accident.
Here at Watson Woodhouse we hope you enjoy the snow, we certainly are with a snowman on the roof of our headquarters in Middlesbrough. However, please take extra care when driving and keep yourself up to date with the weather conditions as we head into the weekend. If you do find yourself in an accident then contact one of our specialists today who can give you some free and confidential advice on your options.