Road Hazard Insurance for new tires

Road Hazard Insurance for new tires

by KB

Danger ahead

Danger ahead

I never pictured myself as the Minivan Mom. I thought they were ugly, bulky, gas-hogs that made anyone driving them invisible to everyone except the rugrats inside and the fearful sub-compact drivers in front of them.

That all changed when I met my 2004 love. It's a Chevy Venture. Go ahead, laugh, it's OK. I don't mind. It's even silver - how much more invisible does it get that silver?

Here's the thing - it has gadgets. I love gadgets, especially ones that allow me to haul everything from groceries and kids to furniture, all while playing music and a movie at the same time without either disturbing the other.

So, where does Road Hazard come in? About a year and a half after purchasing my minivan, it needed new tires. I had run over a nail and punctured a sidewall on the last remaining decent tire, and since two of the other three were just plain bad.

I decided on a set of four Toyo 225 65/R16 touring's. I said to myself, what could possibly happen? These are 60K tires, so if anything major happens I'm covered, right?

Woe is me, how I wish I had just ponied up the $20 to warranty that $500 set of tires. The first thing that happened was a nail, not more than 500 miles down the road on this 60,000 mile warranty.

No, the manufacturer does not cover nails - that's road hazard. Whatever, it's a $15 patch since it's in the tread, and I'm on my way.

About 1500 miles later, I have a major blowout. Yes, a major blowout. As in, I could see where the bands had become detached from the rubber and literally sliced the sidewall off of my tire. Not only that, one of the bands broke and took out my ABS line.

Oh my, this is covered by the warranty, right?

WRONG! What they don't tell me is they have the right to "test" the shredded remains of your tire and "assess" if the failure was due to defect or due to some other cause, such as under-inflation.

If you saw my cars, you'd understand - under-inflation is like a war crime. Anyhow, since the cost of said testing was greater than the cost of another set of four, I rather loudly and angrily declined, dragging my oil-covered shredded remains back to my car (because they were going to charge me for disposal!) and gimped off on my donut.

I had to buy a retread to replace that tire. Another 6 months down the road, I was exiting a parking deck which happened to be very close to an off-campus college dorm when I hit a glass bottle. No one ever drinks beer in college, so it must've been a root-beer bottle, right?

Well, alcohol or not, that bottle caused my tire to go instantaneously flat pulling me hard to the right and into the curb. This was no ordinary curb - oh no, I can't just hit concrete, I have to hit the solid steel cover to the biggest storm drain in the western hemisphere.

This caused me to peel back the beading on my 16" alloy wheel, and it knocked the wheel out of camber, resulting in another $20 retread tire, a $150 useed wheel, and a $450 hub assembly.

My failure to spend $20 on Road Hazard insurance cost me $15 for a puncture, $40 for two retread tires plus the balance and alignment each time, $150 for a wheel, and $450 in repairs - a total of $655.

Perhaps you're wondering about the ABS line? That my mechanic fixed for free, probably because he felt sorry for me. It was a clean sever so he was able to solder it back and retape it. My retreaded tires lasted nearly two years. I recently replaced them, this time with some Bridgestone all-weather tires totalling about $600.

Did I buy Road Hazard? Well, it was more than twice as much as last time. Yes - yes, I did buy Road Hazard, because I realized my future financial stability, mental health, and the safety of the auto shop employees are riding on those tires.

the Minivan Mom. ...

(ed: See the article on the different kinds of tire protection which are available to you.)

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