Does Car Insurance Cover Tire Damage?
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If you get into a serious accident and you need to replace all four of your tires, your car insurance may cover the cost if you have the right coverage. You will need collision insurance and comprehensive insurance if you want your tires insured against several types of physical damages.
Keep reading to learn how each type of coverage works, when you should file a claim for new tires, as well as other ways to protect your tires.
When Does Car Insurance Cover Tires?
You’re covered for damages to your tires if you bought full coverage, which is a type of auto policy that meets your state’s insurance requirements and includes comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive coverage insures your tires for physical damages caused by non-collision events, such as vandalism, theft or environmental factors like hail. On the other hand, collision coverage steps in if your tire was damaged after you strike another driver or a physical object like a pothole or fence.
What Types of Tire Damages Does Car Insurance Cover?
Assuming your auto policy includes comprehensive and collision insurance, you should be covered for slashed tires, tire damages resulting from a car accident and even if they were stolen.
If someone slashes your tire, this is considered an act of vandalism which is a covered loss under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance plan.
If you have comprehensive coverage, you should be covered if somebody steals your tire. Since theft is a covered loss, your auto insurance will cover you if your entire car is stolen as well.
Tires Damaged After an Accident
If you added collision insurance to your auto policy, damages to your tires will be covered if you get into a car accident with another driver, even if you were the at-fault driver. Similarly, you should also be covered if your tires are damaged after striking a physical object like a fence. Tire damages resulting from driving over a pothole may also be covered but you will likely need to provide evidence that the pothole was the direct cause of your tire damage.
On the other hand, if you were involved in an accident with another driver and you were not at fault, the other driver’s liability insurance should pay to repair or replace your damaged tires. If they do not have insurance, then either your collision insurance or uninsured motorist insurance, if you have either, should cover your losses.
What Types of Tire Damages Does Car Insurance Not Cover?
Generally, car insurance does not cover flat tires if they result from normal wear and tear. This type of damage is considered part of the routine maintenance every vehicle owner must undertake. However, policies that include roadside assistance can at least expect coverage for a service member to come out and change your tire or tow your vehicle so you can get up and move.
How Do Tire Warranties Differ From Car Insurance?
The main difference between tire warranties and insurance is that tire warranties are provided by the manufacturers or sellers of tires and are designed to cover defects, wear and tear and road hazards over a certain period or mileage. Meanwhile, car insurance covers unexpected and sudden damages in exchange for a premium payment.
Tire Warranty Types
There are several tire warranty types you may have available to you. Below, we've provided a list of these warranties. The data reflects warranty schedules from Tirebuyer.
- Mileage warranty: Valid for four to six years, this warranty covers specified mileage. If tires wear prematurely, a prorated refund may be offered. Eligibility requires even wear and adherence to regular rotation schedules. Not applicable to off-road, high-performance and winter tires.
- Road hazard warranty: Covers the first year or initial 2/32nds of tread life against non-repairable damage from road hazards, like potholes.
- Workmanship and materials warranty: Extends five to six years from purchase, covering defects from manufacturing or materials. Claims necessitate proof of defect not due to vehicle or maintenance issues.
- Uniformity warranty: Applies for the first year to address vibrations or disturbances from installation. Claim limits are typically one or two tires, with further claims requiring manufacturer approval.
Should I Get Insurance for My Tires?
In general, comprehensive and collision insurance are good additions to your auto policy for newer cars with minimal depreciation since they insure your tires and vehicle against a wide array of physical damages.
The most common car insurance deductible is $500 and it can cost $300 for a moderately-priced tire. If you needed to replace two tires, you would still have to pay $500 out of pocket and your insurance company would cover the remaining $100. In addition, filing a claim can result in your rate going up when you renew your policy and for your carrier to cover just $100 of the bill, this might be a bad tradeoff. Alternatively, if you had to replace all four tires and your total bill was $1,200, then filing a claim might make better financial sense.
Are There Ways To Protect My Tires Over Time?
It may be worth purchasing individual protection for your tires. For instance, the road hazard tire protection plan offered by Chapel Hill Tire provides comprehensive coverage for routine maintenance and repairs for damages from nails, glass and other debris.
There are several effective methods to protect your tires and extend their lifespan. You’ll want to ensure that your tires are not underinflated or overinflated because it can result in your tires wearing unevenly or experiencing a blowout. Rotating your tires according to the manufacturer's recommendations — usually every 5,000 to 7,500 miles — helps ensure even wear, improving their longevity and performance.
Furthermore, aligning your vehicle’s wheels can prevent irregular tire wear, which occurs when the car’s suspension system is out of alignment. Avoiding harsh driving habits, such as rapid acceleration, hard braking and taking corners at high speeds, can also significantly reduce tire wear. Lastly, storing your vehicle in a garage or using tire covers can protect the tires from environmental damage due to exposure to sunlight and extreme temperatures.
How To File a Car Insurance Claim for Tires
If you think your tires are covered by insurance, here's a simple checklist you can refer to that should help with the claim-filing process.
- Document the damage: Take detailed photos of the tire damage from multiple angles.
- File a police report: If applicable, for vandalism or theft-related tire damage.
- Contact your insurer: Report the damage to your insurance company as soon as possible. You should also talk to your insurer about your coverage limits and deductible.
- Submit documentation: Provide photos, a detailed incident report, service records and the police report to your insurer if applicable.
- Track your claim: Stay in touch with your insurer to monitor the claim's progress.
- Claim resolution: Follow your insurer’s process for repair or replacement payment.