Does Car Insurance Cover Tires?


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Updated: May 30, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

Your collision or comprehensive car insurance typically covers tire damage resulting from accidents, theft, vandalism or even potholes. But it won't cover regular wear and tear or maintenance issues.

Some insurers offer premium roadside assistance plans that reimburse you for tire and wheel repairs in addition to towing you to safety after a tire blowout. You can also consider insurance alternatives if you want additional protection for your tires.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Comprehensive car insurance protects your tires against damage from accidents, theft, vandalism and potholes. However, it does not cover regular wear and tear or maintenance.
  • Some insurers offer premium roadside assistance plans. These plans not only provide towing services but also reimburse for tire and wheel repairs, regardless of the cause of damage.
  • Premium roadside assistance plans, tire and wheel protection plans, extended warranties and credit card benefits are alternative ways to cover tire damage that car insurance does not include.

MoneyGeek uses the data we examine from hundreds of car insurance companies to analyze car insurance rates. The following independent agencies and reputable authorities provide us with data:

  • AM Best: This company provides insurance companies with credit ratings and data analytics.
  • J.D. Power: This firm specializes in insurance industry research, analytics and rankings.
  • National Association of Insurance Commissioners: The NAIC serves as a regulator that protects consumer interests. Its key function is to provide data and analysis of insurance providers so consumers can make informed decisions.
  • Quadrant Information Services: This industry leader offers car insurance pricing analytics and other services based on accurate comparative data.

Here at MoneyGeek, we aim to make our editorial standards and policies as straightforward as possible for readers. We ensure that our writers cover topics that our readers find useful by researching them and answering frequently asked questions. For accuracy, the editorial team conducts research, edits, fact-checks and reviews each article at every step of the editorial process.

When Car Insurance Covers Tire Damage

Your collision or comprehensive car insurance typically covers tire damage from accidents, theft, vandalism or even potholes — regardless of how many tires were damaged. But don't expect your insurance to cover worn-out tires or those punctured by everyday road debris – these are considered maintenance issues.

Roadside assistance can be a lifesaver if you get a flat tire. It will tow you to a shop or help change your tire on the spot if you have a spare. Note that you usually need collision or comprehensive coverage to add this option to your policy.

Scenario
Collision Insurance
Comprehensive Insurance

Wear and Tear

Hitting a Pothole

Single-Car Accident (e.g., hitting a curb)

Hitting a Stationary Object (e.g., fence, guardrail)

Vandalism (e.g., tires slashed)

If you drive over debris and damage your tire, some car insurance companies might not cover it unless other parts of your car are also damaged. However, some insurers offer premium roadside assistance plans that cover tire repairs no matter the cause.

For example, Allstate offers two Roadside Assistance plans: Roadside Assist and Roadside Advantage. While both will tow your car up to 10 miles from where you break down, Roadside Advantage goes a step further by paying for repairs, even if it's just a flat tire caused by driving over debris.

MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

Remember that you'll need to pay your car insurance deductible before your insurer pays out. This is the amount you agree to pay out of pocket before your insurance company covers the rest of the cost.

For example, with a $500 deductible, you'd pay the first $500 for a $1,000 tire repair, and your insurance would cover the remaining $500.

When Car Insurance Does Not Cover Tire Damage

While collision or comprehensive insurance can cover tire damage from specific incidents like accidents, theft or vandalism, there are situations where your insurance will not cover tire damage:

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    Wear and Tear

    Tires, like any other car part, wear down over time. This is a normal part of driving, so your insurance won't cover replacing tires that are simply old or worn out.

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    Punctures From Everyday Road Debris

    Nails, glass and other road hazards can lead to annoying flat tires, but standard car insurance doesn't usually cover these repairs. Think of it like changing your oil — a regular maintenance task that falls on you.

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    Mechanical Failures

    If your tires wear out unevenly due to alignment or suspension problems, your car insurance won't cover the replacement cost. These issues are best handled with regular car maintenance.

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    Cosmetic Damage

    Minor scratches or scuffs on your tires might not look great, but they don't affect how your car drives. Insurance isn't designed to cover cosmetic fixes like these.

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    Damage Below Your Deductible

    If repairing or replacing your tire costs less than your deductible, it's usually not worth filing a claim. You'll end up paying for the repairs out-of-pocket anyway.

Car insurance is meant to protect you from the unexpected, not the everyday. Think of it as a safety net for bigger problems, not your go-to solution for regular wear and tear.

How to File a Claim for Tire Damage

To file a claim for tire damage, you need to contact your insurance company and provide details about the incident. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

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    Document the Damage

    Take clear photos of the damaged tire and the surrounding area. Note the date, time and location of the incident. If you can, get a copy of the police report.

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    Review Your Policy

    Double-check your car insurance policy to confirm that the type of tire damage you have is covered.

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    Contact Your Insurance Company

    Reach out to your insurer to initiate the claim process.

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    Provide Details

    Be prepared to share specifics about the incident, such as how and when the damage occurred.

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    Submit Documentation

    Send your insurer the photos of the damage, the police report (if applicable) and any other requested documents.

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    Get an Estimate

    Obtain a written estimate for the tire repair or replacement from an approved repair shop.

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    Pay Your Deductible

    You'll need to pay the amount of your deductible before insurance coverage kicks in.

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    Follow Up

    Stay in touch with your insurance adjuster and provide any additional information they request. Keep track of the claim’s progress.

When you file a car insurance claim, a car insurance adjuster determines your insurer's payout. If you disagree with their offer, negotiate. You don't have to accept an offer if you feel it’s unfair.

Where to Get Tire Coverage

Car insurance isn't your only option for covering tire damage. These alternatives can be a great choice if you don't have comprehensive or collision coverage or if you want more extensive tire protection.

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    Tire and Wheel Protection Plans

    You can purchase these plans directly from tire retailers or dealerships. They typically cover repairs or replacements for damage caused by road hazards like potholes, nails or glass.

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    Extended Warranties

    Some extended car warranties include tire and wheel protection as part of their coverage. If you're already considering an extended warranty, this might be a cost-effective way to add tire protection.

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    Credit Card Benefits

    Some credit cards include roadside assistance and tire protection as perks. Check your card's benefits to see if you're already covered.

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    Automobile Clubs

    Membership in organizations like AAA often includes tire repair and replacement services alongside other roadside assistance benefits.

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    Manufacturer’s Road Hazard Warranty

    Some tire manufacturers offer warranties that cover damage from road hazards for a specified period. If you recently purchased new tires, check if they came with this protection.

Regular tire maintenance can significantly reduce the risk of unexpected damage and save you money in the long run. But for unavoidable incidents, make sure your insurance policy includes comprehensive or collision coverage to help manage unexpected tire damage expenses.

FAQ About Car Insurance Coverage of Tires

Wondering if your car insurance will cover those slashed tires? We've got the answers to your most pressing questions about tire damage and insurance coverage.

Does insurance cover slashed tires?
How many slashed tires will insurance cover?
Does insurance cover rim damage?

About Mark Fitzpatrick


Mark Fitzpatrick headshot

Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.