Tire Insurance 101

Is It Worth the Investment?

Tire Insurance 101
September 7, 2015

In most places, it has been a brutal winter. That harsh season has taken a toll on the roads, which has in turn taken a toll on your tires. Potholes are increasing, and transportation budgets that are strained with snow removal and other burdens cannot keep the potholes fixed fast enough.

Given all these factors, should you insure your tires for the increased risk of damage? You may think that your tires are covered under warranty, but warranties typically cover only defects in the tire and not damages from anything on the road (“road hazards”).

Some tire vendors do offer free road hazard warranties, so make sure you understand whether you are already covered before you buy any extra insurance. Others will be happy to sell you the tire insurance at the time of your tire purchase.

You will have to make your own decision on tire insurance based on your driving habits, the road situation in your area, cost considerations, and your overall tolerance of risk — but here are some things to consider as you make that decision.

  • Cost – Tire insurance typically costs $10-$20 per tire, thus $40-$80 total. Costs may vary in either direction depending on the level of coverage and whether rim damage is included.

    Start by looking at the replacement costs. If you are buying cheaper tires, the cost of replacement is not going to be much more than the insurance cost. Higher-dollar precision tires or specialty-purpose tires such as heavy-duty truck tires may be worth the extra cost.

  • Risk – How often have you had flat tires or any other incident that required tire replacement? Is there any reason to expect that risk to change one way or the other — for example, have you just taken a job in construction where you will be driving in areas with plenty of loose nails, screws, and other puncture hazards? Weigh the cost of insurance against the likelihood of your using it.

  • Coverage – What coverage are you getting for the amount of money you are paying? Almost any tire insurance policy will handle punctures and typical road hazards, but are the rims covered as well? If so, is it just for repair or replacement? Are towing costs included and under what limitations? Is cosmetic damage to rims covered?

    Compare tire insurance/road hazard policies from different tire vendors to get an idea of the typical coverage and see how your preferred tire vendor stacks up. Consider asking for inclusion of any missing coverage that is important to you and negotiate its price.

  • Exclusions and Obligations – Look over all exclusions for sources of damage (for example, damage caused by curbs), driving habits, or failure to maintain the tires. Generally, tire insurance will require some form of documentation that you have rotated the tires within the manufacturer's recommendations.

    If you are not likely to follow the rotation instructions, or if you engage in other insurance-voiding behaviors, tire insurance will not help you. (You may also want to consider changing your habits…)

If you drive often, drive in harsh winter environments where damage is increased, or in areas with unusual amounts of hazards such as construction zones, tire insurance may be a sound investment for you. In other cases, you may want the extra coverage just for peace of mind.

Weigh the advantages and coverage against the cost, and review any policy in detail before you sign. Take those steps and you are likely to make the best decision for your situation — whether that is to buy tire insurance or take your chances with your local highways.


Photo ©iStock.com/ greenwaldos

  Conversation   |   44 Comments

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Jo Ann | 09.06.15 @ 04:06
I know that I wish I had bought tire insurance the last time I bought tires. It would have saved me about $200 when I hit a pot hole and blew out a tire. That $10 investment would have really helped me.
Kaila | 09.06.15 @ 04:10
I never even knew their was tire insurance that you could buy separate. I need to get new tires I will have to look into it.
Jo | 09.06.15 @ 04:13
Interesting article I had never thought to get insurance on the tires, minus the regular warranty that comes with the tires.
Elaine | 09.06.15 @ 04:16
It would be nice to have this insurance if it actually worked. I'm sure the fine print (the exclusions) will get you every time though.
Kyle | 09.06.15 @ 04:24
I had no idea tire insurance was even a thing. Something interesting to know.
Alec | 09.06.15 @ 04:27
I had no clue there was a such thing as tire insurance. Thankfully we live in an area where the roads are well maintained and we don't have snow. I think we can skip on it but I will keep this in mind in case we move up north, which is a possibility.
Britt | 09.06.15 @ 04:30
I never knew such a thing existed, but I am sure that it is worth investing in.
Nancy | 09.06.15 @ 04:30
I've had road hazard insurance but didn't need to use it. I usually replace tires just for normal wear and tear. Now that I've said that I'll pick up a nail sure as shoot.
Victor | 09.06.15 @ 04:47
It is good to make a comparison of what you are spending on tires with what you will be spending on the insurance. This is great advice from MoneyTips.
Rychana Vingia | 09.06.15 @ 04:55
I drove a car with expensive tires before and I wish I would have known about tire insurance then because I seemed to have a lot of bad luck and that would have saved me a lot of money.
Kamie | 09.06.15 @ 05:46
I guess this is where I sound naive, but I also never had a driver license, so my knowledge about things like that are slim to none. This is definitely something I never knew existed though.
Ambar | 09.06.15 @ 05:57
I never thought such thing as tire insurance existed. I think getting one depends of the kind of road you usually drive by.
Beverly | 09.06.15 @ 06:24
I never knew you could get tire insurance. Interesting article.
Kathryn | 09.06.15 @ 07:02
My fiancé highly recommends tire insurance as he worked in a automotive repair shop for a nearly 2 years.
Selena Walls | 09.06.15 @ 07:15
I never would have considered even looking into tire insurance before.
Steffanie | 09.06.15 @ 07:33
Since my husband takes care of scheduling new tires, I had no clue that insurance was an option. Not sure it is something he would buy anyway.
Irene | 09.06.15 @ 09:45
I never knew there was a separate insurance just for tires. This would have saved my son quite a bit of money last winter when he popped a tire 2 months in a row .
Angie | 09.06.15 @ 09:56
A few dollars investment in insurance would probably be worth it as tires can be quite expensive, but as Elaine mentioned, I'd be surprised if they actually paid much for replacement as there are usually many "loopholes" in these kinds of offerings. On top of that, I believe that there is an equation that determines what percentage is even covered, depending on how long it's been since the tires were purchased.
Jackie | 09.06.15 @ 10:34
Interesting article. I've never purchased tire insurance other than that which came with the tires. Next time I purchase tires I'll ask about it.
Daniel Dohlstrom | 09.06.15 @ 11:17
My area over the last couple years seems to under constant repaving and construction, I have used this type of insurance a few times now and am glad I got it. If you drive through often or are in an area like mine undergoing a lot of work it is a good choice.
Sara | 09.06.15 @ 11:46
I never even knew there was tire insurance. Normally I get the extended warranty on the tires and half the time they last past the warranty.
Steven | 09.06.15 @ 11:52
Nice to know that is tire insurance. With all the construction here that would be good for new tires.
Meredith L | 09.06.15 @ 12:22
I might have said the same thing as @Elaine - read the fine print. It seems to me this is another way for big business to get more of our hard-earned money. With the R&D that tire companies put into their tires, I'll take my chances on the roads...like I've done for the last 27 years.
trish | 09.06.15 @ 12:22
Just purchased 4 new tires a month ago, and this wasn't even mentioned. Will have to check to see if the warranty covers what the insurance would cover. Until this article, had never heard of this type of insurance before.
Erin | 09.06.15 @ 12:24
I've never heard of tire insurance. I guess it would be something to consider the next time we get tires, depending on what it actually covers.
Carla Truett | 09.06.15 @ 13:06
I never knew tire insurance existed. It would definitely come in handy since I live in a rural area with many potholes and gravel roads. I would like to read the fine print before buying it though.
Christina | 09.06.15 @ 13:29
Next time I buy tires I'll look into this.
Christina | 09.06.15 @ 13:39
The value depends on the price of the tires. I might look into insurance fo the truck tires, but the ones for my car aren't much more expensive to begin with.
Christina | 09.06.15 @ 13:42
Interesting read. I'll be looking more into this.
Katie | 09.06.15 @ 13:43
I had no idea that we could buy insurance for tires. That would have saved us so much money last time we had a flat tire. I am going to look into this.
George Middleton | 09.06.15 @ 13:45
I'll be looking more into this.
Crystal | 09.06.15 @ 13:47
I spent $900 on tires a few years ago. They never offered any type of insurance. Wish they had because they haven't held up nearly as well as they should have.
Zanna | 09.06.15 @ 14:16
I didn't even know this was a thing. We just bought two sets of tires, I wonder if it can be added retroactively.
Morgan | 09.06.15 @ 14:31
I think that in the long run, it's something that could come in handy. You can never be too safe.
Jennifer Sears | 09.06.15 @ 14:32
Huh. I didn't know this was actually a thing. I might need to get some.
Andrea | 09.06.15 @ 14:59
Almost all tire shops have warranties on their tires so why would you need to spend additional money for insurance? You have auto insurance if you have any additional damage. Perhaps in states that really wreak havoc on your tires.
Heather | 09.06.15 @ 16:11
Very good information to think about. Some people will buy the insurance not realizing they may not need it.
Wanda Langley | 09.06.15 @ 16:58
I actually have tire Insurance and just used it last week when I ran over a deer bone in the road. that was too small to really notice but stuck in my tire. They replaced it.
Ron | 09.06.15 @ 17:00
Keeping up with the fine print details can be, read: IS, a hassle. That said, it can be worth it.
Jill | 09.06.15 @ 17:17
I had no idea there was such a thing as tire insurance!
gracie | 09.06.15 @ 17:24
I have used the benefits of this insurance more times than I ever thought and it was worth every single cent!
Amanda | 09.06.15 @ 17:24
I think it is probably cheaper to just keep normal insurance and have AAA for any unexpected issues.
Owen | 09.08.15 @ 14:47
The cost is low compared to the price of most tires. May be worth the money if you drive a lot:
Ryan Latko, Insurance Agent in Aledo, IL | 09.09.15 @ 19:14
I do Insurance now and was an Auto Center Manager before. They make a great margin on the road hazard and that increases their variable profit contribution. It is a great product if you use it right away, but they prorate it off the mileage from when you purchased the tires. I have bought it every time I have gotten new tires, but when I went to finally use it, it was only going to save me a small portion. If you don't think you will ever get a flat tire then its not worth it.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 12.06.16 @ 08:29
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