Reader’s question: Will I continue to be insured with a vehicle if I do not drive winter tires in the compulsory area and am involved in an accident?

Failure to equip your car with the necessary winter equipment in areas where it is mandatory may affect your insurance coverage.

Drivers in certain areas of France are now required to equip their cars with winter tires or snow chains between November 1st and March 31st each year.

Vehicles such as cars, mobile homes and vans can either have four winter tires or otherwise carry fabric socks or metal snow chains in the trunk.

So if you only occasionally drive into the mountains, you don’t have to buy four new tires as long as you have chains.

The winter tire requirement does not apply to vehicles with studded tires.

Winter tires can be recognized by the “M + S”, “MS”, “M / S” or “M&S” markings on the side wall. The “3PMSF” (Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake) sign is also an industry standard.

Continue reading: Summary: France’s New Winter Tire Law Begins What You Need To Know

Anyone who does not properly equip their vehicle can expect a fine of 135 euros and the authorities can prevent them from continuing their journey.

Driving law expert Jean-Baptiste Le Dall told Le Dauphiné: “If you drive on a road that is closed because of snow, the insurer can use this block and refuse insurance cover.

“The same could be said of an accident that occurs after losing control or aquaplaning while driving with bare tires.

“Violating a provision in the insurance contract, such as lack of maintenance, can result in a company refusing to pay out.

“When it comes to compulsory winter tires, an accident in the snow could raise such questions. You should equip your vehicle with winter tires or equivalent all-season tires. “

The insurance comparison website Assurland states: “Since winter tires are now compulsory in certain departments between November and March, you can be penalized by your car insurer if you have not fitted them to your vehicle before an accident.

“For example, if you skid on a slippery road without winter tires, the car insurance will normally consider the accident as a single vehicle accident [meaning that no other vehicle is deemed to be involved.]

“However, if the incident occurs in a geographic area that requires winter tires, and during winter time, your car insurer could refuse to compensate you.”

The insurance company GMF also states: “In the event of a car accident on snow, your insurer may require you to prove that your tires were fitted with special tires [winter] Equipment. [You should] Consider checking the terms of your insurance contract before you start driving. “

If you drive without winter tires and are involved in a collision with another vehicle, your responsabilité civile auto liability insurance covers the other driver.

It should be noted that the French government has introduced a one-year grace period for drivers without the correct winter equipment, so that drivers will not be fined until November 2022 at the earliest.

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