Loss of insurance coverage possible
If you are out and about with summer tires in ice and snow, you risk being left with the costs in the event of an accident – and that can be expensive.
On the one hand, it can be the case that motorists have to fear a reduction or denial of benefits in their own vehicle insurance. This is particularly dangerous if the driver of the vehicle can be blamed for gross negligence. It is very likely that gross negligence will be the accusation if summer tires are used in spite of sub-zero temperatures and several centimeters of snow. In such a case, a routine police check can result in a fine of at least 60 euros and one point in Flensburg.
In the event of an accident, this penalty not only increases to 120 euros and one point in Flensburg, but even fully comprehensive insured persons can be left with the repair costs. In addition, there are possible compensation payments, loss of earnings or pension payments. This can quickly add up to several thousand euros.
However, accident victims can also face high fines if the wrong tires are fitted. As in almost all legal questions, it depends on the individual case. In addition, in the event of an accident, it is always the driver who is held accountable and not the owner.
Accusation of gross negligence
In Germany it is generally not forbidden to be on the road with summer tires even during the cold season. Because only when one of the above road conditions occurs, winter tires become mandatory. Nevertheless, every responsible driver should be prepared for any weather situation during the winter months and that includes snow-covered and slippery roads.
Different court rulings show that it is not always clear whether a driver can be accused of gross negligence or not. According to a judgment by the Papenburg District Court (AZ: 20 C 322/15), an insurer’s decision to only reimburse half of the damage incurred due to the use of summer tires in winter was unlawful. The specific case concerned a driver who came off the road with summer tires at 5:00 a.m. in January and crashed into a tree. However, the court ruled in favor of the driver, as he was not driving in snow, slippery conditions or rain and with an outside temperature of 1.8 degrees it was advisable to use winter tires, but not an obligation.
In this case, the court decided that the insurance company must reimburse the injured party for the full amount.
Finanzen.net editorial team
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