UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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You pay a lot of money for car insurance to cover unexpected events. But will car insurance cover a flat tire?
Generally, car insurance companies do not cover a flat tire. However, there are certain situations where your car insurance company will cover a flat tire or certain related costs.
There’s a good reason why insurance companies don’t cover flat tires: flat tires are part of the expected wear and tear on your vehicle. The tread of your tire may be worn down, causing the tire to get damaged the next time you go over a speed bump.
Or, some flat tires are caused by driver negligence. You might have over-inflated or under-inflated your tire, for example.
Let’s take a closer look at the situations where car insurance companies will and will not cover a flat tire.
Car Insurance Does Not Cover Tire Wear and Tear
Car insurance is designed to cover unexpected events. If you get into an unexpected accident, for example, then car insurance will cover the cost of repairing that damage.
Car insurance does not cover expected events, however, including wear and tear on your vehicle. Vehicle wear and tear is an expected, ordinary part of car ownership. You expect your car’s parts to gradually break down over time.
Your car’s tires are no different. Your car’s tires need to be periodically replaced. The tread wears down over time. When the tread wears down or an old tire springs a leak, your car insurance company will not cover the cost of replacing the flat tire.
Will Car Insurance Cover Flat Tires?
Flat tires are a part of car ownership. Sometimes, a flat tire is caused by wear and tear. In other cases, the driver is responsible for the flat tire. The driver over-inflated or under-inflated the tire, for example, or drove on the tire long after the tread had worn down.
If you don’t inflate your tires adequately, for example, then it causes increased road friction on your tires, increasing the chances of a blowout.
Similarly, an over-inflated tire could get a blowout from a pothole or speed bump.
Some drivers fail to check the tread of their tires until it’s too late. Tires are only supposed to be used up to a certain tread depth. Check your tires to see if you can spot warning lines – also called wear bars – indicating the tread is too low and your tires need to be replaced.
In all of these situations, car insurance will not cover a flat tire.
Car Insurance May Cover Vehicle Damage Caused by a Flat Tire
Car insurance companies will rarely cover the cost of repairing or replacing a flat tire. However, your insurance should cover any vehicle damage that was caused by that flat tire.
If you were driving on the freeway and your tire blew out, for example, causing you to skid into the median, then your car insurance should cover the repair costs on the rest of the vehicle, although your tire replacement will not be covered.
Consider Getting Roadside Assistance
If you are worried about flat tires, then consider getting roadside assistance through your insurance company or through a third party provider like AAA.
Roadside assistance programs won’t cover the cost of replacing your flat tire. However, they will cover the cost of dispatching someone to your location to change a flat tire or tow your vehicle.
If you do not feel comfortable changing your own tire, or if you want extra peace of mind, then roadside assistance policies can help. They typically cost between $50 and $200 per year. In addition to changing your tire, these programs can deliver fuel to your location if you run out of gas or tow your vehicle to the nearest service station.
Car Insurance May Cover Slashed Tires or Stolen Tires
Car insurance will rarely cover a flat tire in ordinary circumstances. However, if your tires have been slashed or stolen, then car insurance will cover the cost of repairing or replacing those tires – assuming you have comprehensive coverage.
Of course, filing an insurance claim for a single slashed tire might not be worth it. A single tire – especially an older tire with depreciated value – is worth less than your deductible. Plus, it’s generally recommended that you replace all four tires simultaneously instead of having one new tire and three old ones.
As for stolen tires, your car insurance will cover the cost of replacing the stolen tires assuming you have comprehensive coverage.
Car insurance companies rarely cover flat tires. If your car’s tires were slashed or stolen, however, then you may be able to make a claim under your comprehensive coverage.
If you have roadside assistance (through your insurance or through a company like AAA), then the cost of replacing your flat tire with your spare tire should be covered, although the actual tire will not be covered.