Tire damage can happen in all kinds of ways: You can get a flat tire from driving over a nail, or your tires can be slashed or stolen while you’re parked in a lot. But if you do incur tire damage, are you covered? Does car insurance cover tires? In short, car insurance may help pay for tire damage in certain situations. Let’s examine when your auto policy does (and doesn’t) kick in for your car tires.

Is tire damage covered by my auto policy?

Car insurance will pay for your tires if the damage is due to a covered peril, like vandalism or theft, or, in some cases, damage from a pothole. But a flat tire that leaves you on the side of the road will not be covered without roadside assistance, which is an optional add-on. There may be situations when your standard auto insurance policy covers the cost to repair or replace your tires. However, to ensure that you have full protection, having collision and comprehensive coverage in your policy is best. Generally speaking, your insurance company will typically cover tire damage if:

  • Someone slashes your tires. If a culprit slashes your tires when no one’s around, comprehensive coverage can help pay to replace them.
  • Your tires are stolen. Should a thief steal your tires off the rims, comprehensive coverage may cover the cost of new ones.
  • Drive over a pothole. Potholes can damage your tires or wheels. With collision coverage, your insurance company may help.
  • You’re in an accident. If a crash with a vehicle or other stationary object damages your tires, collision coverage may cover the event.

Given the recent increase in car theft in Ontario, it is important to consider adding collision and comprehensive coverage to your standard auto insurance policy.

When won’t my car insurance cover my tires?

Your auto policy may help pay for tire damage in certain situations. But what your policy covers depends on how you damage your tires, and what types of coverage you have. Insurance companies won’t cover:

  • Mechanical failure or breakdown
  • Rusting
  • Wear and tear
  • Replacing your tires when they’ve run their course is part of the cost of owning a vehicle
  • Freezing or explosion within the engine
  • Damage to tires, unless they result from an insured peril (such as a collision)

If you find that you have a flat tire in your driveway, unfortunately, your insurance won’t cover it. However, having roadside assistance can help. Additionally, if a nail, piece of glass, or other debris damages a tire while driving, you’re responsible for paying to repair or replace it.

Exceptions to accident coverage

If your vehicle is in an accident, your insurance company can deny payment for loss or damage to the vehicle in an accident. This may happen if you, or anyone you let drive your vehicle, were unable to maintain proper control of the vehicle due to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Your claim will also be denied should anyone operating the vehicle be convicted of one of the following Criminal Code offenses. This includes any similar offenses under any other law in Canada or the US relating to the use, care, or control of the vehicle:

  • Causing death or injury by criminal negligence
  • Failure to stop at the scene of an accident
  • Refusal to provide the police with a breath sample
  • Driving the vehicle with a suspension

How can I get coverage for my tires?

Coverage for your vehicle’s tires beyond what your standard auto insurance policy provides is possible. Here are a couple of options available to you:

1. Road hazard protection

When buying new tires at your local auto service centre, inquire if they offer road hazard protection. Road hazard protection pays to repair or replace your tires if glass, metal, nails, or other debris on the road damages them. This type of protection plan typically costs between $15 to $30 per tire. Some programs charge a flat fee, while others charge a percentage of the cost of the tire. Furthermore, some tire dealers include road hazard protection for free with your tire purchase.

2. Tire and wheel protection

Like road hazard protection, tire and wheel protection also covers damage from road hazards, such as metal, glass, nails, and other debris. However, it also offers additional benefits:

  • Repairs or replaces damaged tires
  • Replaces and/or repairs broken wheels and sensors
  • May cover towing expenses and the cost of alternate transportation while your tires or wheels are in for repairs
  • Some plans also cover cosmetic and curb damage

Many car dealerships offer tire and wheel protection as an add-on when you purchase a vehicle. You may also be able to get a plan from certain automotive retailers and vehicle service contract companies.

Driving without snow tires will not void your insurance if you have to make a claim. However, if you get in a crash where winter tires could have helped, not having them may affect whether—or how much—you are at-fault.

Should I make a tire insurance claim?

It may be tempting to file a claim with your car insurance company for your tires. This can be to cover the cost of replacing your tires due to acts of vandalism or negligence. However, you may want to think twice before doing so because:

  • Filing a claim may increase your insurance rates. Insurance companies consider claims when determining your risk as a driver. Multiple claims can result in higher premiums.
  • High deductibles. If your deductible is high, it may not be worth filing a claim for the cost of replacing a single tire. Depending on the cost of the tire and your deductible, it may be more cost-effective to pay for the replacement out-of-pocket.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses. Should you decide to file a tire claim, you may still be responsible for some out-of-pocket expenses. This may include the cost of towing your vehicle to a repair shop or rental car fees while your vehicle is in for repairs.

Are damages from a tire blowout covered?

Damages caused by a blowout may be covered by your policy if you have comprehensive or collision coverage. Comprehensive coverage typically covers damages that are caused by events outside of your control, such as weather, theft, or vandalism. Collision coverage covers damages that occur as a result of a collision with another vehicle or object. If the blowout causes you to lose control of your vehicle and you collide with another vehicle or object, the resulting damages may be covered by your collision coverage. Be sure to always check your tires for any irregularities. This is especially true if you store your car during the winter, or have been away on vacation for a lengthy period.

Key takeaways about tires and car insurance

  • Comprehensive coverage will pay to replace your tires if they are cut or stolen
  • Collision coverage can cover your tires if damages are due to driving over a pothole
  • Normal maintenance, like replacing worn tires or tire rotation, is never covered by insurance
  • If the cost to repair or replace your tires is less than your deductible, it’s not worth filing a claim

Tire damage is unavoidable. However, making sure you have the proper coverage can help prepare you if it does happen. Additionally, there are strategies to implement to avoid having a flat or excess damage. Speak with one of our isure representatives to better understand if your car insurance covers tires, or if you’d like to add additional coverage. We are happy to discuss the benefits of adding collision and/or comprehensive coverage to your standard auto policy.

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