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Insurer refusing to cover my "H" rated tyres. Help!


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I recently bought and fitted four Nokian "Weatherproof"  215/65 R16 H tyres after seeing them recommended on these pages. I am very pleased with their performance. My car is a 2010, 2.0 litre petrol, manual Forester

However, deciding to "do the right thing", I dropped a note to my car insurer AXA insurance to let them know I was running all weather, "Winter" rated tyres.  I informed them that the new tyres were "H" rated, for speeds up to 130mph, and that my car's maximum possible speed is 114mph.  I assumed this would be OK with them.

They came back with this response: 

"I am afraid we would not be able to cover the change of tyres because these must be suitable for your vehicle and meet the vehicle requirements. I am sorry, if you would like to fit these tyres we would need to cancel the policy as this is not a modification we can cover.  

Have a great day...."

So, that's me wasted £392 inc. fitting, plus £72 to get my original V-rated tyres (lucky I kept them) put back on. 

Unless I can find another insurer who is happy with "H" rated tyres on my Forester. 

So, here's my question: Can anyone please tell me of a motor insurer who will definitely be happy to cover my Forester with H-rated tyres on it?

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I have, of course, disputed the wisdom of this response with AXA insurance. pointing out that I have fitted tyres which will reduce my risk and increase my safety and which are rated well within the operating range of my car. 

I also pointed out to them that the Association of British Insurers lists AXA as one of the companies signed up to their "Insurers' Winter Tyre Commitment", which means that they do not need to be informed about winter tyre fitment and will not charge more to provide cover.

The Forester's owners handbook is vague on the issue of speed ratings and states that tyres must comply with the label on the driver's door ( pics of both attached) 

They have allowed me 72hrs grace to further investigate my "issue". The car is booked in for Tuesday next to get the old tyres fitted back on. ( at £15 per wheel + VAT)  



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Did you describe them as all season tyres, or winter tyres eg separate tyres designed purely for winter use, to be removed out of winter season?   Because the only reason i can see for their objection is that these are all season tyres for all season use as against a pure winter only tyre, and as such would need to be of the higher speed rating for all year use.

Its a bit of a grey area this, i'm sure i read there was some sort of agreement within members of the ABI, might be worth contacting both AXA again to speak to someone more senior and possibly get in touch with the ABI and see what they have to say.


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20 minutes ago, ROSSCOSM said:

That’s mental mate lol I’d guess that axa will be losing a customer soon 🤣, on another note I think you are the first person in history to tell your insurance company what tyres you have

Yes, I never usually bother with that type of thing. I tend to ignore officialdom mostly. No good ever comes of volunteering information to jobsworths in my experience. Must be my age!

I was genuinely trying to keep myself on the right side in any potential claim situation. Wish I hadn't bothered.

Re; Juddian's comments above; I did find a copy of the ABI "Winter Tyre Commitment" and have sent it to my insurer since they are listed on it.  The Nokians are winter rated (mountain & snowflake symbol) and I have used this in my argument that they are appropriate for the vehicle and use. 

I await the response from insurer.

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I've had a second response from insurer following my "escalation" of the issue. They said they would need to speak to the underwriter and have come back with the following:

"Winter tyres are absolutely fine and will be covered under your policy. The tyres must be used in the correct driving conditions and be suitable for your vehicle."

So, it looks like I am covered and insurance co. have seen sense. Thank goodness for that.  Although a slight question mark remains come spring time ?

Thank you for all you comments & support.

Here's picture of the Nokian shod Forester pulling a trailer of logs off-road to celebrate: 



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Good news that, you have several months now to decide what next.

If you're going to keep the car several years, it might be worth leaving the Nokians with their chunky tread for winter use and buy a cheaper set of tyres for the warmer weather, maybe find a cheap set of wheels for the winter season so your best wheels don't see salt?

We tried a set of very well priced Japanese made Falkens (501 IIRC) on one of daughters two Civics, they are lasting well and she reports really good wet grip, she really puts her cars through the mill so if she says they are gripping well that's good enough for me.

I have two sets of tyres on wheels for our SG9 XT, a set of Cooper Winters in 16" flavour, made in England which surprised me, and a set of 17" Fulda Sport Contacts thingies for summer, i can't knock the Fuldas for grip which is quite amazing in the wet but the downside is too much road noise and a crashing ride, they have plenty of meat left but seriously considering a set of those Falkens for quieter more comfortable summer use.

Both sizes used are on the door label as suitable, and like yours for snow tyres as low as Q speed rating is allowed, like yours my winters are H rated, the Fuldas V or W, the 16" provide a much softer ride as a bonus, so good in fact i've considered ditching 17" altogether and going to 16" all year.


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1 hour ago, Juddian said:

Both sizes used are on the door label as suitable, and like yours for snow tyres as low as Q speed rating is allowed, like yours my winters are H rated, the Fuldas V or W, the 16" provide a much softer ride as a bonus, so good in fact i've considered ditching 17" altogether and going to 16" all year.

Yes, the smaller diameter tyres often seem to give a better ride. On my last car I had separate rims & tyres for winter and went for a slightly skinnier, smaller diameter tyre for winter. ( same rolling circumference, but with taller sidewall to compensate)  It made a good difference to comfort and I liked having to worry less about kerbing the rims due to the extra height of rubber.

I might look into separate summer tyres, however I will still be mucking about in woods during the summer, so I'll need something with a wee bit of off-road ability.

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I have had 4 customers with issues on speed rating, hence why I advised contacting insurer before buying .

Main issue is insurers clueless to technicality of it . I can understand T being more debatable but H seems more than fine for UK road use as never going exceed 130mph lol and load rating far more critical aspect .
I would also ask your insurers if they happy for you to be doing over 130mph on UK public roads if they want you have V rating
Most important factors is tyre match to your regional conditions and quality and load rating and your nokians better than OEM tyres by a long shot .

Reality is they more than suitable winter and summer use .

Do need be careful as having insurance invalidated after an accident has potential for wiping you clean financially . First case I heard of was this scenario and legal costs went over 70 grand over several years .

Your best bet is keep working with your current insurer and get it in writing underwriter accepts it ..
You just going need ring a few companies and see how they respond .

Is a ridiculous scenario and mainly derived from ignorance from insurers on what good tyre choices and wanting easy escape clauses .

You always best telling them as you buying car insurance that you can't use in a more serious accident scenario by overlooking it .
Ignoring the issue doesn't fix the issue and insurance companies need a massive kick in the bo11ocks; over this one ..

Churchill accepted one of my customers on all season same scenario as you .

I'm on traders policy and only got one company cover modifications and grey import cars .




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