So, what should you do if you have had a flat tire, and will your insurance cover the expense?
If your insurance does cover the cost, is the repair covered by your existing insurance policy, or would you have needed to take out additional insurance to cover a flat tire?
You may even be wondering whether there is such a thing as flat tire insurance. The good news is that car insurance covers a flat tire—if it is caused by vandalism, theft, or a collision.
However, if the tire is old, or has suffered wear and tear over time, then it will not be covered.
In this article, we answer all the questions that you may have about car insurance and flat tires, including what type of auto insurance will cover a flat.
Car Insurance and Flat Tires
A car insurance policy has two functions.
The first is to pay for the cost of damages and any bodily injury that may result from an accident that you cause. This situation is typically covered under liability coverage and collision coverage.
The second is to cover sudden, accidental damage that the insured vehicle suffers. If you have comprehensive coverage, you will be covered for this.
In order to be covered and to receive compensation, the damage must result from a scenario listed on your insurance policy.
The scenario will specifically include the coverage associated with it. Let’s look at some typical examples:
Scenarios that are covered by liability coverage:
- You turn into the wrong lane and drive into another car, injuring the driver, the passengers and damaging the other vehicle.
- You forget to check your blind spot and sideswipe another car, causing damage to the other car.
Scenarios that are covered by comprehensive coverage:
- A storm sweeps through your town and your vehicle is damaged during a hailstorm.
- A fire breaks out in your garage and your car is destroyed in the process.
- A deer jumps out into the road in front of you and you hit the animal.
- Your car is stolen from the supermarket parking lot.
Scenarios that are covered by collision coverage:
- You lose control of your car and drive into a fence.
- You flip and total your car after slipping on a wet road.
- You crash into another vehicle and nobody gets injured, but you damage your car in the process.
Other issues like mechanical failure, maintenance, and general wear and tear will not be covered by standard car insurance options such as liability coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.
This means that as a rule, a flat tire will not be covered under your standard car insurance.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. If, for example, you have a tire blowout and your car collides with another vehicle, animal, or object, the damages and repairs will be covered by collision or comprehensive insurance.
Will Your Car Insurance Cover Slashed Tires?
If someone slashes your tires or steals your wheels, can you file a claim against your car insurance policy for replacement?
Fortunately, this type of damage is handled under comprehensive coverage. To submit an insurance claim for this, you will need to file a police report for vandalism or theft.
Once you have filed the claim, your insurance company will want to inspect the damages.
If you buy new tires before the claim is settled, remember to keep your receipts and don’t discard the slashed tires.
Your car insurance company will need to look at the slashed tires to confirm that the damage was caused by vandalism.
Before spending a lot of money out of your own pocket, make sure that your claim will be paid. it is best not to buy any new replacement tires until after the claim has been settled.
When processing your claim, your insurance company will subtract the cost of wear and tear from the value of your tires. You will in all likelihood not receive a settlement that is equal to the cost of new tires.
If you have kept the original receipt from when you bought your old tires, this will help you negotiate a higher settlement. Because the receipt will be dated, it will also help your insurance adjuster determine how much wear the tires have had.
Does Auto Insurance Cover Tire Blowouts?
Road debris, tread wear, overinflation, and extreme weather conditions—such as extreme heat—can cause tires to have a sudden blowout.
When this happens, your insurance policy won’t cover the actual tire, but if you happen to damage something else as a result, then your insurance will cover it.
For example, if you were driving on the highway at high speed and you had a tire blowout and crashed into another car, your liability insurance would cover the damages to the other vehicle and any injuries that the other driver and passengers sustained.
In addition, your comprehensive coverage would pay for any damage to your vehicle.
If the blowout were to cause you to lose control over the vehicle and crash into a guardrail and fence post, your collision car insurance coverage would cover the damages.
Does Car Insurance Cover Tire Damage from Driving over Potholes?
If you live in an area where the roads are not well maintained, or you are driving somewhere where there are potholes in the road, you may find yourself with a flat tire.
Most auto insurance companies will cover damage to your vehicle from potholes if you have collision coverage in place.
It is important to know that you will only be covered if there is damage to the frame of your vehicle. Your insurance company won’t cover the replacement of the tire itself.
Will Your Insurance Company Cover Loose Wheels on Your Car?
In some very rare instances, your wheels may come loose from the vehicle. This may happen if someone has replaced your tires incorrectly or it may be as a result of damage to your undercarriage from a previous collision.
If this happens to you, you can file a claim for the damage that your vehicle has sustained when the wheels came off.
A claim like this will be handled under your collision coverage. If you can prove that it is someone’s negligence that caused this to happen, then you can also usually have your deductible reimbursed.
If the accident was not due to someone else’s negligence, then the claim will be handled as your own negligence.
Does Car Insurance Cover Stolen Tires?
Most auto insurance companies will cover stolen tires and wheels if you have comprehensive coverage in place.
There are a few factors that you will need to consider that can affect whether tire or wheel theft will be covered. These include:
- When the theft occurred.
- Where the theft occurred.
- The type of tires on the vehicle.
If you had custom or high-performance tires fitted on the car, you may not get the full cost paid out for these. Typically, insurance companies will only cover the cost of standard tires for the make and model of your vehicle.
Will Your Auto Insurance Cover Wheel Damage?
If your rims get damaged as a result of vandalism, or if someone tried to steal them, the cost of the repair or replacement of your rims would be covered by your comprehensive policy.
If, on the other hand, your rims get damaged as a result of a collision of any kind, then they would be covered under your collision policy.
Should your rims get damaged for any other reason, such as poor tire maintenance, then your insurance company would not pay out for damage to your rims.
Can You Purchase Tire Insurance for Your Car?
Fortunately, you do not only have to rely on your car insurance policies to cover damage to your tires.
Most tire stores and manufacturers will offer you some sort of insurance, tire warranty, or protection program that can be used to cover the cost of replacing your tires.
Depending on the store and the tire manufacturer, a tire warranty may only apply to new tires and you may need to purchase a policy separately.
If you live in an area with poorly maintained roads or you drive on gravel roads a lot, it can pay to buy a tire warranty or insurance in the long run.
Be sure to check with your tire store about what they will and will not cover when it comes to your tires.
Tire Maintenance and Car Insurance – What Is Expected?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that one in four vehicles has at least one tire that is underinflated.
Proper tire maintenance will reduce your chances of a flat tire or a blowout, and will therefore decrease your chances of having a tire-related accident.
The NHTSA also reports that an average of 78,000 accidents per year are the direct result of unsafe tires. In other words, you can prevent an accident just by ensuring that your tires are always in good condition.
Some basic ways to ensure the safety of your tires include:
- Check your tire pressure regularly. Properly inflated tires save you money on gas and can prevent blowouts and flat tires.
- Take your vehicle to a tire shop for balancing, rotating, and aligning your tires. This will not only help your tires last longer, but will also ensure your tires are fitted properly on the car.
- Check your tires’ tread at least once per month to ensure that you have enough tread to grip the road properly. Place a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you—if you are able to see the top of Lincoln’s head, then it is time to replace your tires.
- If you find any raised areas or bubbles, take your car to your tire shop to have them checked. Raised areas and bubbles in the tread can lead to a blowout.
Remember that if you have an accident as a result of a tire blowout, it may be considered an at-fault accident. An at-fault accident on your driving record could result in higher car insurance rates.
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