Tire Insurance Popularity Grows

After a rough winter, roads are riddled with tire-killing potholes this year. Tire sellers and car dealers increasingly are suggesting wheel and tire protection plans, as often unavoidable sections of damaged roads beat up cars and even trucks. Some report record numbers of claims during a winter season when snowfall was the heaviest on record.

“We see the immediate effect of all that,” said Kelly Noren, spokeswoman for Safe-Guard Products International, which offers wheel and tire road-hazard protection. “Slide into a curb, hit ice patch and a pothole. (Drivers) are getting really smart about protecting their tires. Our claims have really gone up.”

In Michigan, more than 80% of the company’s 140,000 customers, about 115,000, are tire and wheel protection customers. The number represents a 350% increase over the past five years, Noren said.

Shawn Merrill, the tire service manager at Jefferson Chevrolet near downtown Detroit, said he’s seen more customers this year filing claims to get tires and rims fixed through insurance plans. He expects many without road hazard plans will trickle in for the expensive fixes later, likely after they receive their tax refunds.

“It’s been a tough year, especially on tires,” he said.

For drivers with older cars, he said plans offering tire protection – rather than rim protection – are more suitable options, since tires on older cars are bigger, leaving them more vulnerable to attack. With the newer cars, or with cars with larger rims, he said the rim protection is a necessity.

Article courtesy of Firebird Tire, Phoenix, AZ

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