Is road hazard protection worth it?

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Road hazard protection plans, also called tire protection plans, are designed to cover the costs of replacing or repairing a damaged tire. While tire damage is usually covered by a car insurance policy, it typically does not make financial sense to make a car claim for a tire. Road hazard protection plans are intended to supplement your auto insurance policy, providing an economic way to protect your tires.

Does my car insurance policy cover tire damage?

Sometimes your car insurance will cover tire damage, however, the cost to repair or replace your tire will likely be below your deductible. Whether your car insurance covers tire damage will depend on your policy and how your tires were damaged. For example, if your tires were damaged in an accident with another car, you will need a collision insurance policy. However, if your tires were vandalized (for example, your tires were slashed) you will need comprehensive coverage. Typically your auto insurance policy will NOT cover damage from general wear and tear.

However, no matter how your tires are damaged, it usually does not make sense to submit an insurance claim. This is because tires are so cheap to repair that any damage will likely be below your deductible. Consider the below example:


If your car insurance deductible is $500 and the cost to replace your tire is only $200, then your insurance won’t pay out anything if you were to make a claim. When the cost to repair tires is below your deductible (as it often will be) you shouldn’t file a claim because your insurance company won’t pay anything and your rates may increase!

What is a road hazard protection plan?

Road hazard protection plans, or tire protection plans, are a special type of insurance designed to repair or replace damaged tires. These plans are not a substitute for your auto insurance policy and are instead considered a supplemental plan to cover damage specifically to your tires. All tire protection plans have slightly different coverages, but in general, they usually cover:

  • The cost of servicing a tire (such as tire inflation and balancing)
  • Tire repairs from things like nails, glass, or other road hazards
  • The cost of replacing a tire

Some tire protection plans will also include other add-ons such as roadside assistance coverage.

What does a road hazard protection plan NOT cover?

Road hazard protection plans usually have extensive exclusions and you should read the terms and conditions of your contract carefully. The most typical exclusions include:

  • Damage to tires from collisions or vandalism
  • Damage caused by your poor driving (such as hitting a curb)
  • General wear and tear-related damage

Tire protection plans will also usually only cover the cost of the tire or repair. This limited coverage is unlike your auto insurance policy, which may cover things like a rental car or payments if you are injured.

What is the difference between tire protection and a tire warranty?

Tire warranties only cover issues of workmanship, whereas tire protection covers damage from the environment (such as running over a nail). We describe the differences between tire protection plans and tire warranties in detail below:

Tire WarrantyTire Protection (Road Hazard Protection)
CoverageIssues with workmanship or tire qualityDamage from road hazards such as hitting a pothole
Length of TimeTypically measured in years or tread wear on a tire (for example, the warranty may be active until tread has worn by 2/32nd of an inch)Typically measured in years or tread wear on a tire (for example, the protection plan may be active until tread has worn by 2/32nd of an inch)
CostTypically measured in years or tread wear on a tire (for example, the warranty may be active until the tread has worn by 2/32nd of an inch)Sometimes free, but usually offered by tire retailers for around $50-$200

Is road hazard protection worth it?

For most drivers, road hazard protection plans are not worth it. Generally, it is best to purchase insurance only for items you cannot afford to replace on your own, or items that would cause significant financial strain to replace. A moderately-priced tire only costs $100-$300, and repairs to damaged tires are typically much less (for example, it only costs $25 to repair a hole caused by a nail). This is a low price that most drivers can afford to pay themselves instead of purchasing a tire protection plan for $50-200.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Those who should consider purchasing road hazard protection plans include:

  • Drivers who cannot afford a $100-300 replacement tire
  • Drivers who consistently drive on poor roads, construction sites, or other surfaces where tire damage is more likely
  • Drivers with high-end or very expensive tires
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