Your tires and car insurance - what you did not know about their relationship

There is a thing about insurance that we all get our car insured and religiously pay the premiums but we definitely never want to be in the situation where we actually have to claim the insurance. It's actually like buying a fire extinguisher; you buy it but persistently pray that you never get into a scenario where you actually have to use it. Due to several reasons, a situation may arise where you have to make a claim to your car insurance company. What would be the insurer's reaction?

Insurers do not like payouts

It's not surprising at all because nobody likes getting deprived of their money and sometimes it looks like the insurers are at the top that list. It doesn't matter if you have paid them the periodic premiums and the payout (at least a part of it) is actually your own money. However, I think we are being too harsh on them because did you have a tough job of ensuring the genuineness of the claim. With that being said, it is horribly tough to walk away from an insurance claims discussion with a smiling face. The agent may point out various reasons to reject your claim and some of these may be directly be related to your car tires.

Tires and effect of your car insurance

It basically affects your car insurance in two major ways. Due to some reasons, your tires may invalidate your insurance policy and there are few situations where due to the tires your insurance premium get bumped up, let's find out how that happens.

Know how tires can annul your insurance

Basically, the insurance company identifies the "roadworthiness" of your vehicle at the time of the mishap to be eligible for the insurance coverage. There can be various definitions for "roadworthy" and that certainly includes the tires of your vehicle. The logic behind this is that if due to some reasons (those may even relate to your car tires) your car has been compromised then they would not honor your claim.

The car tires may be deemed as the reason for making your car in a "non-roadworthy" in respect to the following conditions.

Wrongly fit tires and their replacement

This does not imply to the new cars as they have original equipment tire fitting. After the certain period of time, earphone when you replace your tires it is recommended by the manufacturer to stick to the original size specifications. In order to be on a completely safe side, you can even go for the same tire brand.

Width: Height: Diameter:
Speed index:

The original fitments are carefully chosen by the manufacturer to make sure that the driving is safe and sound so by changing these tires the vehicle's handling, braking ability and other factors are highly affected. It makes the tires unfit for safe driving.

There are three aspects of significance:

1. Size of tires

Always stick to the original size recommendation by the manufacturer. If you are considering a plus sizing of your tires then do read the pros and cons of the choice but keeping that aside the + sizing of your tires without the informing your insurer may invalidate your insurance.

In case of this modification, do inform your insurer by calling or writing as it may do the trick. It may result in an increased premium but you'll get to do what you want and still keep the insurance valid.

2. Speed Rating of tires

The new tires would not support your regular speed if they are fitted with a lower rating than the original fitment. It can lead to some unfortunate incidents and the insurance company may deny entertaining your claim stating the reason to be the modification and nonworthiness for the road of the car. It is actually illegal in some countries to drive on tires with lower speed rating than the original fitment.

3. Tires and their load Rating

Fitting the tires with a lower rating may lead to overloaded or underinflated tires. This would result in quicker tire wear and an increased chance of tire-related accidents, moreover, your car would not remain "roadworthy."

Illegal tires

The defective and damaged tires with visible lumps, bulges, and tears are cited as being illegal. The tread depth of the tire is very crucial; the legal depth limit is 1.6mm around the central 3/4th portion of the tread around the whole circumference.

Due to any of the stated reasons, if your tires are deemed to be illegal then you

-may have to pay a fine,

-are likely to incur penalty points,

can be prosecuted

-risk invalidating your car insurance

How tires increase insurance premium

The involvement of a car in an accident automatically pushes up your premium as you are seen as an unsafe driver. Secondly, the insurance premium may increase depending on the penalty points you incurred. In the UK, driving based offenses garner penalty points then become attached to your driving record. The penalty points vary depending on the offense, it ranges from 3 points for driving on under-inflated tires to 11 points for drunk driving. 3 points teen petty but if you don't pay any attention to your tires then they can build up very rapidly. More the penalty points, higher the insurance premium! For more details, click here.

What can you do in such situation?

The simple solution to ensure car safety is the regular checking of your tire pressure. It reduces the chance of the accident as the underinflated tires are most likely to result in tire blowouts. Pay attention to your tire age and replace the tires that are no longer in good condition as this is an important aspect of safe driving.

Be aware of your tire tread depth. Although the legal limit is 1.6mm, most clean the manufacturers recommend the replacement of tires at 3mm depth.

This study shows on the wet surface at tread depth below 3 mm, the dramatic stopping distance increases and at 1.6mm (the legal minimum), the stopping distance increases by 44.6%.

An interesting tidbit

It may look like that all of this information is ensuring that you don't invalidate your car insurance or end up paying increased premiums but the truth is that it is all about you, your tires and your life. The more attention you paid to these aspects of your tire, you will drive with greater peace of mind. As stated earlier (I'm absolutely sure that you agree), we all get insurance and pay the premium regularly but all the while we are hoping that we would never have the need to make a claim. 

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