Have you checked your car tyres recently? Did you know that it could affect a car insurance payout? Ideally your tyres should have at least 3mm (millimetres) of tread to function at its best but the law states that the tread must be at least 1mm. Bald, smooth or plain tyres can affect your car’s ability to grip the road and even compromise braking.
Should you meet in an accident and have bald tyres, your insurer could dispute the roadworthiness of your vehicle and even refuse a payout on accident damage. It seems unfair. You pay your car insurance premiums and your insurer is therefore required to pay your claim. However, your insurer requires to keep all parts of your car in peak working condition.
Dangers of Driving With Smooth Tyres
Before questioning the validity of your car insurer rejecting your claim, consider the dangers of driving with smooth tyres. Every vehicle owner knows that driving with smooth tyres can contribute to a road traffic accident. It is these reasons why your car insurer has a right to refuse paying out for a claim:
- Smooth tyres affect the braking distances. You will have to travel further before bringing your car to a full stop when you apply the brakes.
- Smooth tyres affects the road holding ability of your car. Your tyres cannot grip the road as it should which can cause your car to skid or slide even on a dry road.
- Smooth tyres do not displace enough water on wet roads. Your car’s ability to safely navigate in wet weather is drastically impeded as a result of aquaplaning.
- Smooth tyres can damage your car’s suspension. Your car’s ability to stick to the road and brake is affected even if you put in new tyres with sufficient tread.
Tyre experts would probably be able to list many other reasons as to why smooth or bald tyres are dangerous. However, on these basic points it is obvious that the driver’s ability to avoid an accident situation is drastically compromised..
Car Insurance May Not Pay Claims
If you have not read your car insurance policy document carefully, then you should do so immediately. It is made clear that you are obliged to keep the car in a roadworthy condition. Low tread or smooth tyres are one such condition. Even when the accident is not your fault, the insurer could still reject the claim. The fact is that the smooth tyres could have impeded your ability to avoid the accident.
Remember that car insurance is there to cover you when you need it, like in the event of an accident. An assessor will then look at the reports of all drivers involved in the accident and examine each car. They may even the accident scene to establish what may or may not have happened. Driving with tyres that did not have adequate tread can lead to claim rejection on the basis that your car was not roadworthy enough to avoid the situation. It is a similar situation as claim rejection for car insurance when driving drunk.
Disputing Smooth Tyres for a Car Accident
Car insurers cover you on the premise that your car will be in optimal order to not be a hazard on South Africa roads. You as the driver and your vehicle should be capable to avoid upcoming dangers. A car with smooth tyres cannot brake in time or safely swerve to avoid a collision. On this basis you could render your car insurance cover null and void.
You can take this up with the Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance (OSTI) but you may not necessarily find the ruling in your favour. In the meantime you will be without a car, battling with your insurance company and uncertain about how much this accident could set you back. It can be even more financially devastating if the accident is your fault. Other claimants may be demand money for the repair of their vehicles.
Rather avoid the financial setback and keep an eye on your tyre tread. Do not wait for your tyres to become smooth. Take your car in to a tyre specialists and have it checked regularly. Tyres that are not properly inflated, balanced or aligned can be just as much of a hazard as plain tyres.