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Frequently Asked Questions About Tires and Car Insurance

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency...

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Reviewed byJoel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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There are plenty of things that can go wrong while driving a vehicle. Heck, you can even face a steep loss while your car is parked in your driveway, or on your street.

One particular issue many consumers seem concerned about is tires, seeing that they’re getting more and more expensive these days, especially those fancy big ones.

So, are your tires covered if X, Y, or Z happens?

Let’s tackle some common tire-related insurance questions so drivers have a better of idea of their coverage.

Does car insurance cover tire wear and tear?

First and foremost, car insurance does not cover normal wear and tear of tires, even if you have full coverage auto insurance.

Many things degrade over time, but insurance is in place to cover unexpected events, not the normal breaking down of things.

In other words, if your tires become cracked and worn, you’ll need to head over to the tire store and replace them on your own dime, that is, unless you have a warranty with the manufacturer or installer.

[Why do insurance companies deny claims?]

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Does car insurance cover flat tires?

Again, flat tires are a fact of life. It could be that you overinflated OR underinflated your tires, or simply ran over a nail.

If you don’t inflate your tires adequately, more road friction means more heat and a possible blowout.

Conversely, an overinflated tire could be susceptible to damage from a pothole or a particularly rough road.

Also be sure to keep an eye on the tread of the tire – they don’t last forever, especially if you don’t rotate them regularly.

That being said, tires are generally your responsibility, though as mentioned earlier, if you have a warranty, you may be covered at the shop where you purchased them.

So if you run over a nail and get a flat, your insurance company will likely tell you you’re on your own.

However, insurance companies will cover damage to your vehicle if a blowout or flat tire is the culprit.

For example, if you tire blows out and causes damage to the body of your vehicle, you should be able to file a claim if you have comprehensive coverage.

Additionally, if you get into an accident as a result of a flat, insurance should also come into play.

Your insurance company may also provide roadside assistance to at least change the flat and/or tow you somewhere to get help.

Does car insurance cover slashed tires?

If someone happens to slash your tires, you might want to determine who your enemies are. You should also file a police report and contact your insurance company within 24 hours of the incident.

But with regard to car insurance, you’ll need to have comprehensive coverage in place to get your tires replaced via your insurance company.

Comp coverage includes vandalism, which encompasses tire slashing. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to pay your deductible, which depending on the cost of the tires, might not even be worth it.

For example, say they only slash one tire. Typically, you’ll want your tires to match up, so buying one replacement might not make sense.

Additionally, insurance companies might depreciate the value of the tire based on its age and mileage, so you wouldn’t get the full value of the slashed tire.

Remember, insurance companies will make you whole, not make you better off.

Lastly, if you file a claim, your insurance rate could go up, further complicating the decision to involve your insurance company.

Does car insurance cover stolen tires?

Again, your comprehensive coverage comes into play if someone happens to steal your tires.

However, the claim would be subject to a deductible, as noted above. Additionally, you’ll want to have a sales receipt handy if the tires/wheels were aftermarket.

And if the tires/wheels are extremely expensive, you might even need to purchase a rider to get coverage. At minimum, save the receipt and take photos of the tires/wheels and keep them in a safe place.

Finally, as with the slashed tires, your insurance company will probably only make you whole, not leave you in a better position after the theft. So you’ll have to determine if it makes sense to replace them yourself.

Tip: If you have liability-only car insurance, you won’t be covered for vandalism or theft to your tires, so think twice about skimping on your coverage if you’ve got a lot to protect.

Make sure you take the time to read your policy so you know exactly what coverage you have.

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