Just wanted to let you all know that I apparently hit a VERY small pothole and damaged the sidewall on my passenger rear tire. 21" rims. I think I remember doing it, and all I can tell you is it didn't hit my radar as any big event at the time. Unfortunately the coverage wasn't available and $500++ later I am waiting on delivery of a new tire.

Now it could have been worse as my rim was OK. I love the look of the 21" rims but without this coverage they could get expensive in a hurry. Discount wanted $75 per tire for tire coverage which they would have sold me on all four even though I didn't get them from Discount. So in essence the rim insurance for four years is $150/year.

I really didn't think I hit anything hard enough to damage it, so be forewarned.

rochec | 10. April 2013

Welcome to low profile tires =\

PaceyWhitter | 10. April 2013

I'm sorry that you had that happen to you however I have to disagree with your advice. The tire/wheel coverage is a form of insurance, and all insurance is a net money waster.

The cost of the wheels and tires as well as the chance of a tire blowout/ wheel damaging incident that doesn't involve an accident (because then it would be covered by car insurance) are both known factors. The insurance companies price their product higher than price x chance of damage because they are in it to make money so, if you are one of the unlucky ones that has an incident, the insurance will pay itself off, for the vast majority of people it is a waste.

I tell most people that they should only buy insurance if they cannot afford a catastrophic loss (this usually only means homeowners insurance and car insurance) other than that it is wastful.

mrothman | 10. April 2013


While I agree with your general assessment of insurance, the insurance price is based on what the companies believe to be the rate that will make them money for the population as a whole. With tire insurance there is geographic variability in road conditions across the country. Living in a northern urban center that is full of pot holes I believe the insurance is underpriced for me, it is probably over priced for many others. An additional factor in this case is that the insurance company (Tesla if they are self insuring) is almost certainly paying a lower price for the new tire then the customer would have to pay, it is possible that both the insurance company and the average customer both benefit from the policy. Why would Tesla sell insurance if they could make even more money replacing rims at retail? I can think of a couple of reasons off the top of my head. Improved customer satisfaction is one and getting more money today when you are trying to show profitability is another. I am certainly not an expert on insurance, and I am not advising anyone to buy or not to buy the policy. I just think everyone should evaluate where they live and how they drive, and consider that the pricing may not be the rip off, of your average policy before making their choice.

PaceyWhitter | 10. April 2013

Point taken, however if only people with a high risk of tire damage buy the insurance, the price must inevitably go up (or the insurance company will go out of business) therefore only the initial purchasers would make out financially.

As to your second point I doubt that the cost savings due to the purchase at wholesale price would greatly reduce the insurance costs. Tesla sells the insurance because

a) it makes them money and
b) their customers want it (just because it is not a wise financial decision does not mean there is not a demand, and human psycology tends to inflate the percieved risk of an event such as this)

rloehler | 10. April 2013

I see this as less of an issue anyway for those of us who have the 19" wheels. I took a look at the Tesla tire warranty specifics and have concluded that it's not very consumer friendly. I'll take my chances without it.

BYT | 10. April 2013

I have 21's and drive like they are 19" so I got the "Tire/Rim Insurance" :)

Docjay | 10. April 2013

All insurance is a numbers game. And all policies make money. In Houston Texas the potholes abound. I was merely lucky that that itty bitty pothole didn't cost me 2K. So for $12.50 a month I don't have to worry about the next itty bitty pothole I don't see. That is a no brainier.

I love the look of the 21s and won't change. Way worth the insurance to have the look.

djm12 | 10. April 2013

Going with the 19" - better performance, fewer problems.

PaceyWhitter | 10. April 2013

I assume you mean better fuel economy, because the 19" have noticeably worse performance in summer conditions.

BYT | 10. April 2013

By better fuel economy I assume you mean greater range because the Model S runs on electrons... ;)

And the smart ass award goes too? :D

Brian H | 10. April 2013

Besides the high risks, insurance co.s sell to the anxious. And they try to cultivate and inflate the size of that category, to cover the genuine high risk buyers. If that fails, they exclude the h.r.s or price them out of the market if they can identify them. Max effort to avoid claims and retain premium revenue!

JZ13 | 10. April 2013

Never buy extended warranties. I agree with Pacer. When I used to run Best Buy stores our #1 focus was always selling the extended warranties because it was the most profitable item we sold. Self insure is always the best route financially for the consumer. Yes, there is always someone who proclaims "I'm glad I bought it because it covered blah blah blah". They don't tell you about all of the other warranties they bought that went unused.

Docjay | 10. April 2013

JZ,, I might agree with that sentiment if I hadn't hit an itty bitty pot hole three weeks into my car and lost a 600 tire. Given that I did hit it, my "anxiousness" has a foundation in my real world experience. My ONE tire is 66% of e cost of four years of warranty. It's is orders of magnitude different than extended warrenties on appliances and electronics which I agree are foolish purchases. | 10. April 2013

I went for the wheel coverage since I will be running the 21s six months out of the year. Can't say I'm highly confiedent about this purchase decision. I never buy extended warranty on electronics/appliances.

StevenHou | 10. April 2013

The wheel coverage on the 21s is probably the way to go. Has anyone seen the amount defined as the Aggregate Limit of Contract on the 21s wheel/tire coverage? It is not defined in the terms & conditions linked to the coverage purchase site. This term defineds the total amount you can collect in aggregate over the 4 years of coverage. I understand it could be a lifetime amount of $3,000, $5,000 or $7,000 depending on the coverage level being sold by Tesla. Obviously the higher the better given the $600 tires and $900 rims. Any ideas on this? Thanks.

Spiky | 10. April 2013

Can someone explain to me why most people here compare 50000 mile all season tires with 15000 mile sports tires and then claim that the size of them is what makes them different?

RedShift | 10. April 2013

Spiky: Zigackly!

As a car guy, I will tell you :it depends a lot on the type of tire. Bigger does not mean better.

mdemetri | 10. April 2013

The 21 inch tires are not $600. You can get the 21 inch tires (Continental Extreme Contact DW 245/35R21) for ~$215 at Sears or Tire Rack. See

Thus, I think the only reason to get the insurance is for the wheels; but the liklihood of non-cosmetic damage (eg no longer able to maintain seal of the tire) from pot-holes seems very unlikely to me. As cosmetic damage is not covered, it seems like a waste of money.

StevenHou | 10. April 2013

The Michelin Pilot Sports that came on my gray 21" wheels are approx. $600 each after the fees etc at Tire Rack. I didn't get the Continentals and in my opinion, the Michelin's are better tires. I agree that ruining a wheel is less likely, but I've done it before. However, 1 or 2 blown tires is hardly a reach with the Houston roads.

mdemetri | 10. April 2013

Well, this raises an interesting point: are replacement tires Continentals or Pilots? I received the Continentals on my P85 and these are the tires detailed on the website. My understanding is that some got the Pilots due to a brief shortage of Continentals. Does the tire insurance state clearly that you get the exact same tire currently on your car? If not, you may only get Continentals as replacements, as this is the standard 21" tire.

mikhaila | 10. April 2013

Proper tite: don't get 21" unless your driving is on German autobahn

bostoncde | 11. April 2013

I was leaning more towards buying a wheel/rim for 19 inch $275 for rim and buying tire from discount tire $145. Plus probably $15 for lifetime insurance. Beats Tesla $700 any day.

mikhaila | 11. April 2013


I considered this too, but there is a problem: TireRack doesn't have tire pressure sensors compatible with Model S. You'll have to get TP sensors from Tesla and afaik its $150. so $275 + $145 + $150 is $570 and add shipping as well. I believe single 19" wheel with tire is about $600+tax at Tesla since 4 wheels set is $2400. At least rim will match :-)

kiddidoc | 14. April 2013

Don't waste your money. After reading the posts, very good explanations have been posted on the value of risk vs benefit. Some made good points about higher risks depending on where you live/drive. In addition to all this, I will tell you that it is a pain to have your tire replaced. I was naive enough to get this coverage. Then misfortune struck - flat tire. Long story short, they wanted me to mail them the tire to verify and reimburse me. Longer story of wasted time I will never get back, I just bought the tire and cancelled the contract. Called Tesla and told them to cancel it. As it was less than 30 days, I would get a full refund.
It is not worth the value nor the hassle.

Robert22 | 14. April 2013

+1 kiddidoc

Nothing like real world experience. Mail the tire back? If that's routine protocol it would be idiotic for customer relations.