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UK motorists could invalidate their car insurance policy through habits often associated with winter driving.

Research conducted by Aviva uncovered frequently misunderstood motoring practices that could affect drivers in the event of a claim.

The insurance provider found that incidents resulting from driving in icy conditions or through floodwater are not always covered by some insurance companies.

Drivers may be landed with an ‘at fault’ claim if they lose control of their vehicle on an icy surface where no-one else is involved, while the fault of any collisions involving another driver will depend on the circumstances of the incident.

Not all policies cover vehicles damaged as a result of driving through floodwater either, something motorists should be especially cautious about given that Aviva estimates nearly half of flood-damaged vehicles are deemed unrepairable.

Some drivers may be caught out when it comes to defrosting their car too. Warming a car up by leaving the engine idling is not only punishable by a fine of £20, it also leaves the car vulnerable to theft, and most insurers won’t pay out if the engine is left running at the point of being stolen.

Scott Hamilton-Cooper, Sales and Operations Director at AX, commented: “Our data shows accident rates are 7.5% higher between November and March, when conditions are wetter and colder, compared to the summer months. It’s therefore especially important at this time of year for motorists to familiarise themselves with the small print of their insurance policy to help avoid any unpleasant surprises in the event of a claim.”