Low-profile tires and wide alloy wheels look cool. But they're one bad pothole away from a flat tire and damaged wheel, oftentimes at hundreds of dollars a pop.
That's helping finance and insurance managers sell a lot of tire-and-wheel coverage, says Jeff Jagoe, senior vice president of Innovative Aftermarket Systems in Austin, Texas.
Even testers at Consumer Reports agree that tire-and-wheel coverage can be a good idea if you have expensive wheels and you live in a region where potholes are common.
David Champion, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, says oversize wheels with low-profile tires "took a real bashing" during curb-strike testing for the magazine. If roads are rough where you live, he says, coverage could be a real benefit. "You can spend up to $5,000 on wheels and tires," he says.
Tire-and-wheel coverage can cost up to $600, Jagoe says, but it's a good investment if it covers a typical $1,200 repair job. On a five-year policy, he says, some customers have to replace wheels more than once.