Should you take the bait for road hazard warranties?
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When buying tires, you are often offered the option to purchase a road hazard warranty, otherwise known as road hazard coverage. If you already have roadside assistance or collision coverage, an additional warranty is unnecessary. However, some types of tires are worth purchasing warranties for.
To determine whether additional policies are worth it, you need to know what road hazards coverage and warranties are.
Road hazards coverage, also known as a road hazard warranty or protection plan, is a warranty on tires that covers the cost of tire puncture repairs or tire replacements due to non-negligent driving.
Comprehensive coverage covers events like burglaries and vandalism. Car insurance covers theft only if you have comprehensive coverage.
Road hazard warranties cost 10 to 12 percent of the total cost of the tires. To see how much your warranty will cost, look at the average costs of tires below.
|Wheel size range (in inches)||Types of cars||Average cost per all-season tire||Average cost per winter/snow tire||Average cost per all-terrain tire||Average cost per performance tire|
For example, a winter/snow tire costing $200 would have a warranty of $20 to $24.
Now that you know how much road hazard warranties cost, we can answer the question of when, if ever, you should buy them.
A road hazard warranty is unnecessary if you already have collision coverage and/or roadside assistance, unless you have low-profile tires.
If you decide road hazard coverage is worth it, buy it when you purchase your tires, from the same company. If you wait too long and need a tire repair or replacement, it won’t work retroactively for damages.3
So, what exactly is a road hazard? Any debris on the road is considered a hazard, such as these:
Note that you are protected under collision coverage if you run into a pothole. Learn more about pothole coverage.
The following don’t count as road hazards and aren’t covered under road hazard warranties:
It’s impossible to talk about road hazard coverage without discussing tread depth.
Tread depth is the vertical measurement from the top of a tire’s rubber to the bottom of its deepest grooves. As you drive, the tread wear decreases, which makes it harder for tires to grip the road. Every tire, from light truck tires to snow tires, has a tread life. Tires with tread depths that are too low could pose safety issues, especially in rain or snow, as they make road hazard damage more likely.
In the U.S., tire depth is measured in increments of 1/32 of an inch. New tires start off with tread depths of 10/32 to 12/32 of an inch, but if the depth gets too low (3/32 of an inch or less), consider replacing your tires to avoid damages, punctures, flats, or failures.
|Tread depth||Is it sufficient?|
|6/32” or higher||Yes|
|5/32”||Yes, except on snow-covered roads|
|4/32”||Yes, except on wet roads|
|3/32”||No, get new tires|
|2/32”||No, get new tires5|
In 44 of the 50 states, tires must have a minimum tread depth to pass inspection. Find your state’s minimum tread depth below.
|State||Minimum legal tread depth|
|New Mexico||No standard|
|North Dakota||No standard|
|South Carolina||No standard|
|West Virginia||No standard|
In sum? Unless you have low-profile tires, buying an additional road hazard warranty isn’t worth it. Instead, we recommend getting full coverage car insurance, which includes collision coverage.
While collision coverage isn’t a required minimum coverage in any state, it’s necessary if you want your car’s damages covered. Keep reading for our auto insurance FAQs.
Here are some frequently asked questions about road hazard coverage.
These are some covered road hazards:
A road hazard claim is a claim submitted to an auto insurance company for tire damage that requires either repair or replacement. Policyholders submit road hazard claims when their tires are damaged from debris on the road. If the tire damage is from a collision, then it would be a collision claim rather than a road hazard claim.
The definition of a road hazard is a danger or risk on a public road that may cause damage to a vehicle. Road hazards include rocks, potholes, metal, glass, and plastic debris.
A road hazard failure is when a tire becomes unusable because of damage, whether that’s punctures, cuts, or impact damage. When a tire has a road hazard failure, it needs to be replaced, not repaired.
Road Hazard Warranty Information. Omnisource. (2022).
Tire Prices Guide. Discount Tire. (2022).
Is Road Hazard Warranty for Tires Worth It? Ag Workers Insurance. (2021, Apr 12).
Tire Road Hazard Warranty: Is It Worth the Extra Expense or Not? Jack Williams Tire & Auto Service Centers. (2022).
Tire Tread Depth: Why It Matters and How to Measure It. Tire America. (2020).
Tread depth debate goes on. Dunn Tire. (2007, Oct 22).