Keeping the wheels turning is an expensive business.
Cars are second only to houses when it comes to sucking money from your wallet.
Which is why I wasn’t best pleased at an attempt to get me to buy tyre insurance.
Yes, in getting two new tyres for the car, the bill (a bit sneakily) included a surprise cost of $8.50 per tyre for Road Hazard Tyre Insurance.
This unwelcome form of insurance wasn’t discussed when arranging for the tyres to be replaced (naughty, naughty), and the tyre shop removed the $17 extra when asked.
Now in my book, real insurance covers the costs of unforeseen events that you cannot manage yourself.
Examples include: your sudden death leaving your family at risk of losing the house, a fire that destroys the homestead, or the urgent need to fly you home by air ambulance after a fall on holiday. Real insurance covers catastrophes Tyre insurance is a luxury
Save your money
In the absence of insurance, all of these are events plunge families into immediate financial crisis.
Getting a puncture in my new tyre is not on this list.
When you buy tyres they are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. If they fail because they are faulty tyres, the manufacturer, or retailer, has to repair or replace them.
So the road hazard tyre insurance must exist to cover something else.
I read the policy. It would repair or replace the tyres in the first 12 months after I bought them, in the case of something terrible happening to them during ordinary use, with a few caveats.
I couldn’t claim in the event of vandalism, or a crash with another vehicle, or a fire, or damage from snowchains, or incorrect wheel alignment.
It also doesn’t cover damage caused when the car was operating with insufficient tyre pressure, or was off road, or the result of a brake lock-up.
Now, I have searched my memory for the number of times in the last 15 years when I got a puncture.
I recall only once, an irritating slow puncture caused by a nail. That’s a fairly low incidence. Clearly, road hazard tyre insurance is something you could claim on. It is not entirely worthless.
But all insurance is priced to benefit the seller. The premiums charged are far more than the expected claims.
While I feel the necessity for paying premiums for life and house insurance, I’m not willing to pay a premium to insure myself against a minor inconvenience like getting a puncture and having to pay to repair it, or replace the tyre.
Now my $8.50 a tyre insurance was expensive, but some policies are even dearer.
Bridgestone, for example, charges $13.50 a tyre.
Transport is a big cost in a family’s budget.
Just under 11 per cent of the Consumer Price Index baskets of goods and services which is (roughly) supposed to represent the purchases made by households, is spent on private transport- namely cars, motorbikes and bicycles.
That’s an awful lot, so I’m not about to volunteer to pay even more for a form of insurance I don’t need.
Annoying, for sure, but not something you need insurance to cope with.