Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - OldSock
I will soon need to replace the tyres on my 'bangernomics' Mercedes W124.

It's a '93 280E which - when new - had a nominal top speed of 137mph. As such, the car 'officially' needs a 'V'-rated tyre (up to 149mph).

A few tyre places have suggested 'H'-rated alternatives on a "they're rated to 130mph, mate, so should be okay" basis.

So my question is: would an insurance company use the 7mph 'discrepancy' as a means to avoid paying out in the event of a claim? Would the car be illegal with 'H'-rated tyres fitted?

That's two questions :-)

And a third: several Asian tyre manufacturers produce bargain-basement tyres with apparently high speed ratings. Would an insurance co prefer a skanky 'Wanli' W-rated tyre with 2mm tread to a brand-new H-rated 'premium' brand?
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
car 'officially' needs a 'V'-rated tyre (up to 149mph). A few tyre places have
suggested 'H'-rated alternatives on a "they're rated to 130mph mate
so should be okay" basis.


It will be OK unless (possibly) you drive flat out for extended periods.

So my question is: would an insurance company use the 7mph 'discrepancy' as a means
to avoid paying out in the event of a claim?


No.

Would the car be illegal with 'H'-rated tyres fitted?


No.

Would an insurance co prefer a skanky 'Wanli' W-rated tyre with 2mm tread to a
brand-new H-rated 'premium' brand?


It wouldn't matter - they're both legal.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
IIRC the advice is to let the insurance company know of any changes from standard spec.. Just as belt and rubber braces in this instance.I've always used the recommended speed ratings though and for some brands there is no price difference. Also you may be able to get the desired speed rating for a lower cost by simply switching brands.Check, my tyres, black circles etc. etc..
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - OldSock
Thanks, FT.

A bit of Googling produced several different opinions:

"may invalidate your insurance"
"will invalidate your insurance"
"is illegal"
"is not strictly illegal"
"not recommended"
"illegal in some countries"

maybe I should ask my current insurers?
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
You'll be quite OK (re. the tyre speed rating, anyway) as long as you don't drive over the 130MPH you mention for "H" rated tyres.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - jbif
maybe I should ask my current insurers? >>


Please do so and let us know what they say. If the person who answers the phone is FT, then you already know the answer. However, whoever answers, and whatever they tell you, ask them to confirm it in writing. You will probably the find that the person says it has to be referred further up the chain for a definitive answer.

Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - M.M
>>> So my question is: would an insurance company use the 7mph 'discrepancy' as a means
>>> to avoid paying out in the event of a claim?

>No.

Take that as read then S rating (112mph) would be OK??

I'd understood that the speed rating was not just the max mph but also related to the car's weight, performance, braking ability etc.... more it's ability to load a tyre in all circumstances. I would not want to be arguing post accident with their insistance that *the car was fitted with other than the makers advised tyre rating* countering with *I read on a forum it would be OK*.

Tyre prices are weird... some W rated are cheaper the V rather due to volume of sales.... I assume an upgrade in rating would never be an issue.

Do agree it's a bit ironic a correctly rated ditch finder at beer money might stand over and above a premium brand with a lower speed rating.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
>> >> So my question is: would an insurance company use the 7mph 'discrepancy'
>> >> as a means to avoid paying out in the event of a claim?
>> No.
Take that as read then S rating (112mph) would be OK??


As long as you don't exceed that, and it's otherwise suitable, yes.

I would not want to be arguing post accident


Put some of these words into a "search engine":

"
Unsuitability
All tyres must have a service description (i.e. load and speed index)

If the vehicle was to operate outside the service description indicated on the sidewall e.g. at a higher speed or overloaded then the tyres would be deemed to be unsuitable for the use, and a prosecution would follow.
"
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - M.M
FT putting your phrases above into google leads to the etyres website FAQs/advice.

Elsewhere in their FAQs they state...

The speed rating is marked on the side of the tyre and indicates the maximum speed at which the tyre can carry the load corresponding with its load index. Example 91V.

Even if you do not drive at these speeds, the correct specification is essential in order to comply with the vehicle manufactures recommendation and your insurance policy.

So which part of their website could be used to support a claim refusal??

Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - Bill Payer
I had this issue with a leased company car (Ford Mondeo) which came new with higher speed rating tyres than it needed.

At tyre change time Kwik-Fit had an official Ford bulletin which said it was fine to replace with lower speed rating tyres.

It also crops up with winter tyres - they're often lower speed rated. Merc's have a setting in the computer to limit the car's top speed when fitted with winter tyres.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - woodster
Surely there's only one way to answer this question and that's with the insurer. They provide the terms and are entitled to stipulate them. Your choice to accept them or go elsewhere. To take 'advice' is folly. And with due respect to Fothers (who may well be qualified in these matters) how on earth are you going to convince an insurer that you never drive beyond a certain speed?
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - dieselfitter
>>You'll be quite OK (re. the tyre speed rating, anyway) as long as you don't drive over the 130MPH you mention for "H" rated tyres.

Basically, my understanding is the same as MM. It's not just about speed. In fact the speed index in mph is a bit misleading - they are pretty much all rated for much higher speeds than you will ever drive. But you should (in an ideal world) use tyres with the index letter specified by the manufacturer.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
I refer you to my earlier e-mail about exceeding ratings.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
an official Ford bulletin which said it was fine to replace with lower speed rating tyres


At least Ford have it right, then.

It also crops up with winter tyres - they're often lower speed rated. Merc's have
a setting in the computer to limit the car's top speed when fitted with winter
tyres.


And also Mercedes, by the sound.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
So which part of their website could be used to support a claim refusal??


What "claim refusal", whatever that is?
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - burpie
I thought the speed rating was connected to the hardness of the rubber compound. The higher the rating, the harder the compound. Therefore tyres with a lower speed rating should be better for winter driving.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
I thought the speed rating was connected to the hardness of the rubber compound. The
higher the rating the harder the compound.


So super-cars should have tyres made of rock-hard compound? But they're not, they're made of (comparatively) soft and sticky stuff, like the ones on quick motorbikes.

Edited by FotheringtonThomas on 19/11/2009 at 13:06

Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - M.M
FT I'm thinking of a simple case where you are comp insured and crash your car with no other person/property involved. Your insurer takes the car for repairs/payout but they come back to you refusing the claim as their assesor has noticed the tyres are not to the car makers specification.

So ball in your court then you refer them to a web search that appears to support your case... namely the first quote of yours.

**All tyres must have a service description (i.e. load and speed index). If the vehicle was to operate outside the service description indicated on the sidewall e.g. at a higher speed or overloaded then the tyres would be deemed to be unsuitable for the use, and a prosecution would follow**

The insurer points out to you a couple of clicks away the same tyre website says...

**Even if you do not drive at these speeds, the correct specification is essential in order to comply with the vehicle manufactures recommendation and your insurance policy**

... and continue to refuse the claim.

I'm not saying it was specifically the etyres website you were quoting but that is where the exact wording you refered to turned up on my googling.

I'm not trying to nit pick for the sake of it but with experience of helping many folks with insurance and warranty/garage dispute claims over the past 15yrs I can say if you start with all the i's dotted it is 100 times easier. Insurers in particular will stop at nothing in finding the slightest loophole to reduce or refuse a claim.



Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - Old Navy
When my car was assessed after a minor ding (new back bumper), I noticed the assessor noted all the tyre details and tread depths on the insurance report form. I would not give an insurance company wriggle room.

Edited by Old Navy on 19/11/2009 at 13:29

Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - M.M
Just to leave the rating discussion and look at price for a moment...

If you were using the etyres website they are £4.40 a tyre *more* expensive for a H rated as opposed to the correct V rated. As I mentioned earlier I've found this the case so often as more and more cars are fitted with higher rated tyres as standard and they become cheaper due to volume.

This assumes a fittment of 195/65x15 which may or may not be your exact size but it's still a fair comparison.... I picked the mid priced Goodyear Excellence for this example

Edited by M.M on 19/11/2009 at 13:43

Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - Lygonos
Why give an insurance the opportunity.

Get the correct tyres.

re. the legality: as long as the tyres are suitable for their purpose then they will not fail an MOT (hence S/T rated tyres on a road-going Ferrari would not fail an MOT).

You may find tyres with a lower speed rating give less nimble handling than you are used to, as much of the strength is in the tyre carcass.

Edited by Lygonos on 19/11/2009 at 13:48

Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - injection doc
I agree with |MM & Lygonos. Its not just about speed but the strength in the side wall. Do not give an insurance company any excuse for wimping out. I understood its compulsory for vehicles abroad to have the correct speed rating fitted.
I am aware of an ins claim that was refused on a BMW convertible due to tyre spec!
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - Andy P
The wording on a car insurance policy is quite specific - any changes from the manufacturer's original specification have to be reported. I did this many years ago on a Cavalier SRI - went from V to H rated tyres. When I contacted the insurance co, they said it was okay to do it, but they'd make a note on the policy that the change had been made.

As pointed out before, they'll use any excuse to invalidate a policy if it saves them money. It's not worth the risk.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - fredthefifth
I thought it was about power and potential speed not actual or intended speed, otherwise why should anyone ever buy a tyre with a greater than 70mph speed rating?
FTF
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - martint123
otherwise why should anyone ever buy a tyre with a greater than 70mph speed rating?

Track days, Continental cruising?
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - SpamCan61 {P}
The spec. for my bangernomics Vectra is V rated tyres, the only way it would do 130+ mph is if you pushed it out the back of a Hercules at 10,000 feet.

Personally I would inform the insurance company in writing just to be sure, if they increased the premium based on such trivia I'd move company come renewal time.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - Talking Hoarse
Another avenue - is that (I think) the tyres need to be fit for purpose as well as meet the car manufacturers speed & load rating. If they do not meet the spec then I reckon that not only is your insurance in question, but also maybe an eagle eyed MOT tester might fail the car (can anyone confirm)?
I am never a fan of "cheap" tyres, I always buy a make I have heard of (I have favourites too). But in my experience you might save money by adjusting the width or profile a little to a more common size - only really feasible if buying 4 tyres of course. However again you should inform the insurance company.

Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - SpamCan61 {P}
So, has anyone, anywhwere ever had an insurance claim refused on the basis they have lowered the tyre rating one level then?
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
has anyone anywhwere ever had an insurance claim refused on the basis they have
lowered the tyre rating one level then?


This is an interesting question. I will anticipate the answer - "no".

I have today asked questions of several "insurance companies" about these matters in question. I will pass on any replies, yea or nay, here.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
I have today asked questions of several "insurance companies" about these
matters in question. I will pass on any replies yea or nay here.



Well, here's a nice quick reply to my question from one very large company, in reply to my question about "considering buying a car fitted with tyres of a different speed rating to the originals":

"Dear X,

With regards to the tyres the speed
rating would not affect the policy and
is not classed as a modification.

If the size of the tyre is different it
is classed as a modification."


No other company has yet replied. I will keep you updated.
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - Bill Payer
So has anyone anywhwere ever had an insurance claim refused on the basis they have
lowered the tyre rating one level then?

I'm going back quite a few years but when I worked for Ford Motor Company there was quite a bit of uproar when a newspaper reported that a Capri driver had had a claim refused due to wrongly rated tyres.

Ford looked into it and the story wasn't true and the insurance company said (in the press) they would never deny a claim based on tyre speed rating. It was quite bizzare because for some time the story kept cropping up in different newspapers every few weeks.


As regards telling an insurance company, I wonder if they'd really note it? How often have you dealt with a firm, then rung them back and they've no knowledge of your previous call?
It also says in most policies small print that no-one has the right to vary the policy terms.

Edited by Bill Payer on 19/11/2009 at 21:47

Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - FotheringtonThomas
Another avenue - is that (I think) the tyres need to be fit for purpose


Correct.

as well as meet the car manufacturers speed & load rating.


Not necessarily. If the limits are exceeded, then the tyres are not fit for purpose - note, "purpose" - that to which they are being put, not that they are generally unfit tyres.

It is, after all, legitimate to run a car with tyres below the original "speed rating", as long as the "speed rating" on the particular tyre is not exceeded.

If they do not meet the spec then I reckon that not only is your insurance in
question but also maybe an eagle eyed MOT tester might fail the car


It's entirely a "legal" question, AFAIAA.

I am never a fan of "cheap" tyres I always buy a make I have
heard of (I have favourites too).


I'm not sure what this has to do with the discussion here. As previously mentioned by (?), some tyres with lower speed ratings can be more expensive than some with higher ratings.

But in my experience you might save money by
adjusting the width or profile a little to a more common size


Possibly....

- only really feasible if buying 4 tyres of course.


Why?

However again you should inform the insurance company.


Again, possibly - have you asked them the question?


It seems to me that there's a lot of "probably" and "might" and "should" being bandied about here (I do not refer to your contribution, T.H.). I hope any replies I have from various insurance companies will be helpful.

Reading some of the other "arguments" here, I'm tempted to opine that perhaps I should tell the insurance company if I venture out under a particularly heavy *cloud*, lest my insurance be "invalidated" when it falls on my head. Ho hum...
Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - Number_Cruncher
>>but also maybe an eagle eyed MOT tester might fail the car

No, it's not an MOT item at all for passenger cars, and for heavier commercial vehicles, class 7, the requirements are there, but, quite laid back.

Edited by Number_Cruncher on 19/11/2009 at 21:18

Tyre speed ratings - insurance implications? - Cliff Pope
So agricultural implement tyres would be OK as long as you don't exceed 25 mph?

Not on a car, perhaps, but on an old trailer?
 

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