Tyre Insurance Essentials: Myths and Facts

By Leo Campbell

More than 11,000 tyre-related incidents take place each year in the UK. The most common types of damage are punctures, cuts, impacts, cracks, bulges and irregular wear, often caused by poorly maintained roads. Click To Tweet

Anyone who drives a car will be familiar with the panic and frustration that comes with a flat tyre. It’s not just a hassle to change a flat. It’s also expensive to replace the damaged tyre. 

Yet it’s surprisingly common. More than 11,000 tyre-related incidents take place each year in the UK. The most common types of damage are punctures, cuts, impacts, cracks, bulges and irregular wear, often caused by poorly maintained roads.

In the absence of a revolutionary road improvement scheme, it can be wise to get tyre insurance to help cover the cost if your tyres go flat. But did you even know that tyre insurance was required – or did you think this incident would be covered by your other insurances?

We take a look at that in our tyre insurance myth-buster, including when you do and don’t need tyre insurance.

What is Tyre Insurance?

In its most basic form, car tyre insurance ensures that if your tyres are damaged (either accidentally or maliciously), you don’t have to pay out to replace them. Policies vary according to how much you can claim and how many claims you can make each year, but most of them cover you for both puncture repair and replacement tyres. Most alloy wheel and tyre insurance policies allow between three and five claims per year.

Myth: I Don’t Need Tyre Insurance Because I Have Breakdown Cover

This myth unfortunately catches out a lot of people because breakdown insurance rarely covers the full cost of damaged tyres. 

Breakdown cover will usually rescue you on the day your tyre goes flat, but it won’t replace your damaged tyre. You’ll have to pay for that separately and, be warned, tyres can cost upwards of £200 each. 

And if you’re wondering if your basic car insurance covers tyre damage, it depends on the type of policy you’ve taken out. While some policies cover various forms of tyre damage, you may find that due to the excess you’d have to pay, making a claim isn’t worth it. That differs from tyre insurance, which has little or no excess, so you can claim when you need to without worry.

Fact: Tyre Damage Isn’t Usually Avoidable

No matter how gentrified your postcode, there’s no avoiding poor quality roads. We’re talking cracks, potholes, raised kerbs and scattered debris on the road (yes, construction sites, we’re looking at you). Unfortunately, there’s no way round this problem and, to a certain extent, tyre damage is unavoidable. You’d have to have the most eagle of eyes to spot that nail lying in the road or see the pothole the car right in front of you narrowly avoided.

Myth: My Tyres Look Fine So I Don’t Need insurance

Your tyres might look fine to the untrained eye but if your tyres are deflated or the tread depth is too low, your car will have reduced grip on the road. 

Balding tyres, in particular, are extremely dangerous – especially in rainy conditions. For example, if you’re travelling at 70mph on a wet road, you’ll be able to stop 120 feet sooner if you have a full 3mm tread depth compared with a 1.6mm tread.

Note: If you want to check your tread depth and you don’t have a tread gauge to hand, you can use a 20 pence piece. Simply slot the coin into the tyre tread and if the thick border of the coin is hidden, your tyres are fine. If you can still see the border of the coin, your tyres are lacking tread depth. Or just ask a garage to check for you. They’d rarely charge for this, so pull in when they’re not busy and ask them to cast their eye over your tyres.

Fact: An Annual MOT Is Enough

True, a trained mechanic will inspect your tyres as part of your annual MOT but it’s still a good idea to check your tyres before setting off on a trip because tyres naturally lose some air each month. You can inspect your tyre pressure by walking around the car and observing whether any of the tyres are lower than the rest. 

You can also check your tyre pressure by using a pressure gauge and comparing your findings to what the car manual stipulates. You’ll find these gauges in the forecourt of many petrol stations (look for the ‘air’ pumps), often free to use but sometimes requiring a few coins. And if you look in your car’s manual or inside the driver’s side door of your car, it will tell you what the pressure should be. 

If your tyre pressure is too low or high, it can be hazardous. To err on the side of caution, we suggest checking your tyre pressure every few weeks or so – and even more often in colder months. Make sure you check all four tyres as well as your spare because it can vary.

It’s worth noting that correctly inflated tyres can improve your mileage per tank by up to three per cent, so ensuring your tyres are fit-for-purpose will help you save money on fuel.

If your tyre pressure is too low or high, it can be hazardous. To err on the side of caution, we suggest checking your tyre pressure every few weeks or so – and even more often in colder months. Make sure you check all four tyres as well as your… Click To Tweet

Myth: Tyre Insurance Is A Rip-Off

Wrong. Whatever car you drive, repairing tyre damage will be expensive. Bog standard tyres cost £80-120 to replace, while high-end tyres can cost anything between £200 and £500. Is tyre insurance worth it?

In short, yes. The cost will vary according to the type of car you drive, your tyre size and make and the length of cover you require but it can start from as little as £5.99 per tyre per month.

Fact: Tyres Don’t Last Forever

It’s impossible to know how long your tyres are going to last. Some types last longer than others but it all depends on the type of car you drive, the distances you drive and the sort of driving you do – climate can even make a difference. Contrary to what you might think, high performance tyres actually tend to wear faster because they have softer compounds for added grip.

Legally, you are required to replace your tyres as soon as the tread depth reaches 1.6mm but even if the tread doesn’t get worn down, rubber naturally perishes over time so as a general rule, it’s a good idea to change your tyres every 20,000 miles or every five years – whichever comes first.

It’s impossible to know how long your tyres are going to last. Some types last longer than others but it all depends on the type of car you drive, the distances you drive and the sort of driving you do – climate can even make a difference. Click To Tweet

Did You Know?

If you’re caught driving a car with a tyre with less than 1.6mm tread, you can be fined £2,500 and get three points on your licence. That’s £10,000 and 12 points if all four tyres are found in a poor state. Oh, and a six-month driving ban…

Get Tyre and Alloy Insurance Today

Your tyres are the only parts of your car that make contact with the road, so it’s critical to keep them in good condition to ensure safe journeys. Protect yourself and your passengers by taking out Tyre and Alloy Insurance today.