Insurance-it’s everywhere. One can insure just about anything. Are tires an investment one needs to insure? Tire insurance, also called a road hazard policy, road hazard warranty, or tire reimbursement plan, is a rapidly growing industry in the automotive world.
Tire warranty plans pay in full or in part for the replacement or repair of damaged tires and/or rims from “road hazards.” Road hazards are defined as pot holes, debris, nails, wood, and other hazards found in the road. Curbs, sidewalks, and stone walls are not road hazards. This is an important distinction to consider when deciding if tire insurance is right for you (discussed further ahead).
Another important distinction is in the type of plan.
Tire reimbursement plans are just what they say. You, the plan holder, will be reimbursed after the claims process is finalized-usually 2-8 weeks. There is an out-of-pocket expense. These plans are often sold by new car dealerships. The prices can range from $300 to $600 dollars.
Road hazard policies operate similarly to reimbursement plans. However, some tire insurance providers, in partnership with the repair facility, may have a direct-pay relationship. Thus, there would be no out-of-pocket expense, except for applicable deductibles, and items not covered in part or in full. These plans are primarily sold by tire dealers and repair shops. The prices range from $10 to $30 per tire. They also can be based on a percentage of the cost of the tire: usually 12% to 15%.
Both types of plans have a number of variables, requiring a magnifying glass to read the fine print. Also, many are pro-rated warranties, covering only a percentage of the cost of the tire based on its wear.
Claims and Coverage:
Depending on the plan, claims are initiated by the repair shop. The process is fairly smooth, although there can be a significant delay from the provider for authorization. This delay may be an hour or an entire weekend. This means that you’ll have to “ok” the tire replacement, and then hope it’s authorized for the full amount, or drive on your spare.
Terms of insurance policies can vary but generally slashed tires would be covered by your comprehensive insurance, no matter how many tires were slashed. Unless your policy specifically states that they will only cover slashed tires if all 4 were damaged then you should be able to make a claim if only 1 or 2 tires were slashed by a vandal. We have never heard of a 4 tire requirement and/or exclusion on an auto policy contract.
Tire and rim insurance is a widely available extra, and some car dealers might offer it unprompted. Compare tire and rim insurance, including what it will and won’t cover, how it works and whether it’s worth it for you.
Punctures and flats are unpredictable, and if you’re unlucky, they can occur back to back or several times a year. For this reason, many car insurance policies will specifically exclude tires and rims or may limit you to only a single claim per year. Specialized tire and rim policies, on the other hand, will typically let you claim multiple times per year.