Skip to main content

Using your car for Christmas decorating - how to avoid fines and stay safe

Uswitch have created a 'rule of thumb' list to help drivers stay safe on the road this Christmas, from transporting Christmas trees, bank holiday parking to social media trends.
Share this guide
Uswitch - Car insurance - Christmas do's and don'ts 2021

Driving home [your tree] for Christmas could land you a £300 fine

To many, picking out the biggest and bushiest Christmas tree each year makes their Christmas complete. But if you’ve never considered the safety risks of driving your tree home for Christmas, then it's worth looking up the rules. If you don’t abide by the road safety laws you could be fined up to £300, which is not what anyone wants, especially in December. 

Things to consider when securing your tree to your car: 

  • If the tree overhangs more than a metre, then we suggest attaching reflective load markers - or similar - to ensure it’s clearly visible in all weathers and lights, especially as winter can be dark and misty. .

  • If you’ve chosen a particularly bushy tree this year, then make sure it does not overhang the side of your car by more than 30cm (11.8inches). A good rule of thumb is, if it surpasses your wing mirror, then it’s most likely obscuring the driver's vision on the road, and therefore could be illegal. 

  • Even using a roof rack can pose danger, so generally it's best to avoid this method of transport, as any parts of the tree sticking out can obscure the drivers' vision. 

    If you really want to bring home the biggest, busiest tree then opt for hiring a trailer to attach to the back of your car, as this is the safest option.

Presents might not be insured if your car is broken into

Most car insurance policies cover personal belongings between £100-£1000, but that’s not as standard, so it’s important to check your policy. It will always be advised not to leave any Christmas presents in your car, especially not visible to anyone outside the car, as this can make your car more of a target. 

  • If possible, avoid the temptation to hide presents in your car 

  • Keep all the receipts 

  • Check with your insurance provider to see if they are covered 

  • Secure your car properly 

Not all bank holidays are free parking 

Most parking is free on bank holidays - but make sure you check. Any restricted parking areas will specify whether they are free or not. If they don’t, then it's generally good to assume that you will still have to pay for parking, to avoid all risks of fines. 

Decorating your car for Christmas could see you with £50 on the spot fine 

Social trends surrounding Christmas are hot topics on the likes of TikTok with certain hashtags racking up millions of views.  

The platform plays host to a variety of trends about decorating your car for christmas including #christmascarwraps and #christmascarchallenge which have racked up a collective 14,794 worth of views already. 

The trend extends to instagram with the term #christmascar gaining 13,500 posts. 

Though it might seem tempting to decorate your car head to toe this Christmas like the many TikTok and Instagram trends, this could in fact invalidate your Car insurance if you’re involved in an accident. 

Decorating your car is technically considered a vehicle modification, which legally you have to inform your car insurance provider of. Making your vehicle stand out can also be more inviting to thieves or criminals. 

If you would like to continue the trend of a ‘#ChristmasCarWrap’, it's best to do it in the garage and make sure you’ve informed your insurance company of the modification, before taking your car out for a drive. 

According to regulation 30 of the Road Vehicles regulations 1986, if you insist on a window sticker, it can be no more than 4cm (1.57inches) of a diameter circle. If you get stopped with anything that exceeds this, you will be issued with an on the spot £50 fine with potential further penalties.

Uswitch car insurance expert Florence Codjoe comments: 

“We’re sure to rely on our cars quite a lot during the Christmas festivities, but It’s important to stay safe and abide by the law to avoid hefty penalties. 

Protect your car from winter weather restrictions, and for quick Christmas car insurance cover, take a look into pay-as-you-go car insurance policies. 

These are especially useful if you’re planning to share the driving during the festive period, especially as young drivers' insurance policies may be more expensive.”