Well-intentioned motorists risk driving without insurance this winter if they modify their vehicles without informing their insurance provider.

The Association of British Insurers has told drivers that reasonable safeguards – such as fitting winter tyres to a private vehicle – should not incur a premium among its member insurers.

However, doing so without informing the relevant insurance provider could invalidate the policy, leaving the motorist driving without insurance, potentially in extreme weather conditions.

Nick Starling, director of general insurance at the ABI, says: “Insurers do not want to penalise motorists who take steps, like fitting winter tyres, to improve their safety on dangerous winter roads.”

As such, drivers are urged to let their insurer know of any modifications they make to their vehicles to improve their handling and road-holding in wet, snowy or icy conditions.

One change that could be especially likely to leave them driving without insurance is if new wheels are fitted, rather than winter tyres fitted to the existing wheels.

New wheels are not covered under the member insurers’ commitment to not raise premiums, so could have cost ramifications for the vehicle’s owner.