Q

Does car insurance cover tire damage?

A

Comprehensive coverage will cover your tires if they are slashed or stolen, and collision coverage may cover damage from a pothole, but normal maintenance and wear-and-tear is never covered.

Stephanie Nieves author photo

By

Stephanie Nieves

Stephanie Nieves

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City, specializing in home and auto insurance. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, PayScale, Fairygodboss, and The Muse.

Published September 3, 2021|5 min read

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Tire damage can happen in all kinds of ways: You could get a flat tire from driving over a nail, or your tires could be slashed or stolen while you’re parked in a lot. 

Car insurance will pay for your tires if the damage is caused by a covered peril, like vandalism or theft, or, in some cases, damage from a pothole. But a flat tire that leaves you stranded by the side of the road would not be covered without roadside assistance, which is an optional add-on.

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Even if your tire damage is covered, it doesn’t always make sense to file a claim. If it costs less to repair or replace your tires than your comprehensive or collision deductible, then you would need to pay for the damage out of pocket, whether you file a claim or not. 

Key Takeaways

  • Comprehensive coverage will pay to replace your tires if they are slashed or stolen

  • Collision coverage can cover your tires if they are damaged by a pothole

  • Normal maintenance, like replacing worn tires or tire rotation, is never covered by insurance

  • If the cost to repair or replace your damaged tires is less than your deductible, it’s not worth filing a claim

Is tire damage covered?

Yes, car insurance will cover tire damage if you have comprehensive and collision coverage as part of your policy — as long as the tires were damaged by a covered peril. Tires that are slashed or stolen in a parking lot or tires that are damaged by a pothole on the road would be covered — but the cost of replacing tires that wore out from normal use wouldn’t be. 

Comp and collision insurance cover damage to your vehicle itself, and they’re part of what’s usually called a full coverage policy. Neither comp or collision coverage are required by law, but you’ll probably be required to add them if you’re leasing or financing your vehicle.

Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car that’s not caused by a collision, like fire, theft, and vandalism, while collision insurance covers damage to your car caused by colliding with something. 

Comp and collision insurance both require a deductible, usually of $500 or $1,000, which is how much you need to pay for a covered claim. If the cost to replace your tires is close to or less than your deductible, then it’s not worth filing a claim because you’ll need to pay out of pocket for the tires either way — and filing a claim, even for damage that wasn’t your fault, may lead to a rate increase. 

Does car insurance cover slashed tires?

If your tires are slashed, your comprehensive coverage will pay to repair or replace your tires (you’ll probably have to file a police report in order to make the claim). Comprehensive coverage also covers other forms of vandalism, such as broken windows and your car being keyed or spray-painted. According to Consumer Reports, a tire replacement can cost between $130 and $190, depending on the kind of car you have. If it costs less to replace your tires than your deductible amount, then you can skip filing a claim and risking an increase in your insurance rates. 

Does car insurance cover stolen tires?

Stolen tires would also be covered by comprehensive coverage — but just like a vandalism claim, you’ll probably need a police report in order to file a claim. Comprehensive coverage pays to replace stolen car parts, and it’ll even pay out for your car if it’s stolen, but it won’t cover personal items stolen from your vehicle, like a backpack or phone. 

Does car insurance cover tire damage from potholes?

Damage from potholes could be covered by collision coverage, which covers damage to your car from a collision with another vehicle or object. If you drive over a massive pothole and damage your car, collision coverage would cover a shredded tire, dented rim, or wheel misalignment. The cost to replace a dented rim can range from $50 to upwards of $500, and misalignment can cost $80 to $100 to repair, so you can skip filing a claim if the total value of the damage doesn’t cost more than your deductible.

Does car insurance cover flat tires?

Car insurance may cover flat tires, but it can depend on your insurance company. Most auto insurance companies consider flat tires a wear-and-tear issue, and car insurance doesn’t cover wear-and-tear or routine maintenance. But if you accidentally run over glass on the road, your insurance may cover a claim for tire damage. Regardless of what caused your flat tire, roadside assistance can pay for someone to come and replace it with a new one if you’re stranded on the side of the road — you’ll just probably need to pay for the tire itself.  

Does car insurance cover tire wear and tear?

No, car insurance does not cover general wear-and-tear, including any regular and necessary maintenance. Car insurance only covers unexpected damage to your vehicle, so it won’t cover a tire that’s been wearing out over time. You may be able to purchase mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) to cover repairs to the mechanical parts of your car, like your engine, steering wheel, and brakes, but wear-and-tear would still not be covered by this add-on. 

Does car insurance cover tire rotation?

No, car insurance typically won’t cover tire rotation because it’s considered routine maintenance. While the necessity of rotating tires can be a hot topic, some experts say your tires should be rotated every $5,000 to $8,000 miles, and that without it, your tires may not wear evenly (since your front tires tend to do more of the work with braking). The good news is that a tire rotation typically costs less than $60.

How often do I have to replace my tires?

Some manufacturers recommend replacing your tires every six to 10 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You’ll also know when it’s time to replace your tires if a tire’s tread does not pass the “penny test.” To see if you should replace your tire, take a penny and place it head down in the grooves of your tire. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, then your tires are in need of replacing, but if part of his head is covered, then you can hold off on replacing your tires. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What damage does car insurance not cover?

Car insurance won’t cover damage that happens over time, like a worn out tire or brake. Routine maintenance issues are not covered, in general, so routine work on your engine, battery, and alternator would also not be covered.

Does car insurance cover a nail in a tire?

Your car insurance may cover tire damage if a nail (or any sharp object) punctures your tire. Car insurance covers damage that happens by accident, so if you run over a nail or glass on the road, your comprehensive coverage may cover the damage — but unless all your tires are punctured, it may not be worth filing a claim.

Does insurance only cover 4 tires?

There’s a common misconception that car insurance will only cover three tires, but the truth is that it will cover any number of tires if they are slashed, stolen, or damaged. In fact, it would make sense to file a claim for two or more tires if the cost to replace them all would be more than your deductible.