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How tires affect car insurance
Selecting the correct size and type is a good place to start.
Though a regular set of tires may not directly affect your car insurance, correctly maintaining your vehicle and having the right tires can help prevent increased premiums over time.
Do tires affect car insurance?
Car insurance companies want you to take care of your car since a well-maintained vehicle makes for a safer ride. However, your insurer probably won’t check up on your tire maintenance or offer discounts for taking care of them.
Your tire safety can affect your car insurance indirectly, though. If a tire blows or doesn’t have enough tread and you get in a car accident, you could see higher rates depending on if your insurer deems you at fault for the accident.
What if I have snow or winter tires?
Most insurance companies don’t advertise discounts for having winter tires, though it’s worth checking with your insurer since discounts may offered based on your area.
However, winter tires can make driving on snow and ice safer because the tires are designed to grip the roads even in slush, snow, ice and freezing temperatures. And safer tires could mean fewer accidents during the cold weather season.
For example, vehicles with winter tires can shorten their braking distance in winter road conditions, as is the case in one test performed by Motor Trend. The test compared the difference between all-season versus winter tires in a vehicle with all-wheel drive, and it found that the winter tires reduced braking distance by around 40%.
Do cars with all-wheel drive affect car insurance?
Yes. Vehicles with all-wheel drive can cost more to insure than cars with a standard drivetrain, even though these cars can have help with traction. Reasons that all-wheel drive up your insurance rates:
- Complex repairs. These cars tend to have more complex systems, leading to higher repair costs for labor and specialized parts.
- Higher ticket price. Their higher ticket price translates into a higher cost to replace if your car gets totaled in an accident.
Are new tires covered by my insurance?
Car insurance covers tires damaged in a car accident that’s covered by your policy. If you’re in a collision, your insurance might reimburse you for tire repairs through your collision coverage after you pay the deductible.
However, if you’re at fault and don’t have collision coverage, you would pay out of pocket for the new tires. If you’re not at fault, the other driver’s insurance would pay for your tire damage.
Also, since the purpose of car insurance is to cover unexpected damages, typical wear and tear isn’t covered.
What happens if I have the wrong kind of tires?
In general, it’s best to buy tires that meet your vehicle’s specifications. Incorrect or improperly maintained tires are a risk to your passengers and the cars around you. Potential consequences include:
- Increased likelihood of an accident. Your car is only as reliable as the sum of its parts. If you have the wrong tires, your car could lose its grip and cause a collision.
- Increased wear and tear. Inappropriate tires may not be equipped to handle the force of the car on top of them. Expect incorrect tires to wear down more easily.
- Increased insurance premiums. The more accidents you have, the higher your insurance premium is. Having faulty tires could hurt your rates in the long run if they lead to more claims submitted.
What if I have oversized tires?
Oversized tires are sometimes considered an unnecessary risk by insurance companies. They alter the odometer and speedometer reading, which can lead to higher chances of an accident. Other modifications like custom tires or rims could require coverage that protect your vehicle’s upgrades, such as modified car insurance.
How do I know what kind of tires I have?
To determine the type of tires your car needs, check your owner’s manual or placard on the door jamb of the driver’s side door. There, you’ll find a label specifying your car’s requirements for tire size, load index and speed rating.
Compare car insurance policies for any car
Though tires may not directly impact insurance rates, a well-maintained set with the correct specifications will likely save you money and trouble in the long run.
Taking the time to compare car insurance quotes will help you find the best overall deal for your situation.
Frequently asked questions about tires and car insurance
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