Gianetta Palmer is a writer for, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Jun 17, 2020

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Summary DetailsFrom Experts...
78,000 car accidents each year are the result of unsafe tiresNational Highway Traffic Safety Association
1 in 4 vehicles has at least one underinflated tireNational Highway Traffic Safety Association
Tires are the cause of nearly 54% of roadside breakdownsFleet Equipment Magazine
One accident on your record can increase your rates by an average of 32 percentQuadrant Information Services
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Had a flat tire recently? It’s difficult to think of a more annoying and frustrating experience when you’re driving, especially if you’re in a hurry. So what do you do when you’ve had a flat? Does insurance cover flat tires? If so, is the repair covered by your existing policy? Or do you need to increase your coverage? Can you purchase tire insurance? Does car insurance cover tire damage? Car insurance covers a flat tire if it was caused by vandalism, theft, or a collision. But not your standard wear and tear flat.

Read through this article to learn the answers to these and other questions about flat tires, including how car insurance companies handle slashed tires, damaged wheels, stolen tires, and what type of auto insurance covers flat tires.

Before getting started, take a moment to use your ZIP code and get a free quote on car insurance, so you have the coverage for certain types of tire replacement.

Car insurance and Flat Tires

So does car insurance cover flat tires? Does Geico insurance cover flat tires? Does Progressive insurance cover flat tires? Do other insurance companies cover flat tires? What if you have more than one flat? Does insurance cover four flat tires?

A basic car insurance policy has two primary functions.

The first is paying for the cost of damages and bodily injury that result from accidents that the insured driver causes, typically included in liability and/or collision coverage. Take a look at this video to learn a bit more about collision coverage.

The second is covering sudden, accidental damage that the insured vehicle receives. In order to be covered, damage must fall under a named scenario listed on the policy, and the policy must specifically include coverage associated with that scenario; this is typically referred to as comprehensive coverage.

Watch this video to learn more about what is covered in comprehensive coverage.

Other issues such as mechanical failure, maintenance, and general wear and tear will not typically be covered under a basic insurance policy (though many insurance companies offer additional coverage you can add to your policy to include things like mechanical failure). This means that as a rule, flat tires of any number are not covered under insurance.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, and flat tires can occasionally cause other damages that will be covered by your insurance.

Does car insurance cover tires being slashed?

Does comprehensive insurance cover flat tires? If someone slashes your tires or steals your wheels completely, you can file a claim against your insurance policy for their replacement. This type of damage is handled under comprehensive coverage, and you may need to file a police report for the vandalism or theft in order to file a car insurance claim.

Once you’ve filed the claim, the insurance company will need to inspect the damages. If you buy new tires before the claim is settled, be sure to save your receipts and don’t discard the old tires. The insurance company will need to look at them to confirm that the damages were caused by vandalism; it’s best not to buy any replacements until after the inspection to ensure your claim gets paid before you spend money out-of-pocket.

When processing your claim, your insurance company will subtract wear and tear from the value of your tires, so the amount you receive in your settlement may not be equal to the cost of buying new tires. If you have original receipts or can prove when you purchased your old tires, that will help you negotiate a higher price. It also helps to show the tires to the adjuster so that they can determine how much tread wear the tires had.

Does car insurance cover tire blowouts?

Vandalism is not the only cause of a flat tire. In asking, does my insurance cover flat tires, you may be wondering if blowouts are covered. And if so, how much does insurance cover popped tires?

Road debris, tread wear, over-inflation, and extreme temperatures can all cause tires to leak air or have a sudden blow-out. When this happens, the tire itself is not covered by most car insurance policies, but any damages caused by the blow-out may be paid by insurance.

For example, if your tire blows out on the highway and the shredded tire flies off, damaging the side of your car, the body damage to the vehicle will be paid under your comprehensive coverage. If the blow-out causes you to lose control of the vehicle and veer off the road, hitting a fence post, the body damage will be handled under collision coverage.

Either way, only the damages caused by the tire will be covered. The tire itself is your responsibility to replace, and paying for the replacement will not count toward paying your deductible when you file a claim.

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Does car insurance cover tire damage from potholes?

If you live in an area where roads are poorly maintained, or you happen to be driving somewhere where there are potholes in the road, and you find yourself with a flat as a result, you may be asking if car insurance covers pothole damage. And if so, does Geico cover pothole damage? What about other car insurance companies?

Typically, if you have collision coverage, damage to your vehicle from potholes will be covered. However, this coverage is limited to the frame and other portions of your vehicle and does not usually include the replacement of tire itself. And Geico is no exception to this.

Does car insurance cover loose wheels on a car?

In some rare cases, your wheels themselves may come loose from the vehicle. This can happen if someone replaces your tire incorrectly, or it may occur if your undercarriage is damaged or bent from a previous impact. If this happens, you can file a claim for the damages your vehicle sustains when the wheels come off.

These claims are handled as collisions, and both the body damage and the wheels should be covered under the policy as long as you have the necessary coverage. If you can prove that someone’s negligence caused the accident, you can usually get your deductible reimbursed. Otherwise, you would be considered at-fault for the collision, despite the loose wheels.

Keep in mind that regardless of the damage type, if you plan to file a claim, you’ll need to do so sooner rather than later, because every state has a defined time limit for insurance claims or lawsuits resulting from an accident. Take a look at this table to find out what the statute of limitations is in your state.

Statute of Limitations for Filing Car Insurance Claims by State
StatePersonal Injury Statue of LimitationsProperty Damage Statute of Limitations
Alabama2 years2 years
Alaska2 years6 years
Arizona2 years2 years
Arkansas3 years3 years
California2 years3 years
Colorado3 years3 years
Connecticut2 years3 years
Delaware2 years2 years
Florida4 years4 years
Georgia2 years4 years
Hawaii2 years2 years
Idaho2 years3 years
Illinois2-3 years5 years
Indiana2 years2 years
Iowa2 years5 years
Kansas1 year2 years
Kentucky1 year2 years
Louisiana1 year1 year
Maine6 years6 years
Maryland3 years3 years
Massachusetts3 years3 years
Michigan3 years3 years
Minnesota2 years6 years
Mississippi3 years3 years
Missouri5 years5 years
Montana3 years2 years
Nebraska4 years4 years
Nevada2 years3 years
New Hampshire3 years3 years
New Jersey2 years6 years
New Mexico3 years4 years
New York3 years3 years
North Carolina3 years3 years
North Dakota6 years6 years
Ohio2 years2 years
Oklahoma2 years2 years
Oregon2 years6 years
Pennsylvania2 years2 years
Rhode Island3 years10 years
South Carolina3 years3 years
South Dakota3 years6 years
Tennessee1 year3 years
Texas2 years2 years
Utah4 years3 years
Vermont3 years3 years
Virginia2 years5 years
Washington3 years3 years
Washington D.C.3 years3 years
West Virginia2 years2 years
Wisconsin3 years3 years
Wyoming4 years4 years
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Each state sets their own statue of limitations, and sometimes the claim type (bodily versus property damage) means the time frame is different even in the same state.

Can I purchase tire insurance?

Fortunately, your car insurance is not the only thing that can cover damages to your tires. Most tire stores and manufacturers offer some sort of insurance, warranty, or protection program that can be used to cover the costs of replacing your tires. Depending on the store, this warranty may apply only to new tires, and you may need to purchase it separately.

If you’ve been wondering, does car insurance cover a nail in my tire, the answer is no, but a tire warranty or insurance might, depending on the terms of the warranty and how old the tires are.

Is it worth it to buy tire insurance? For some people, purchasing a tire warranty or insurance is a good investment. This is especially true if you live somewhere with poorly maintained roads or other hazards that cause your tires to wear down quickly. In some cases, a company will provide a lifetime warranty for any tire that you buy from the store, so there’s little reason not to take out that warranty.

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Tire Maintenance and Car Insurance

There’s good chance you or a driver you know has at least one tire that is not as well-maintained as it should be. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that one in four vehicles have at least one tire that is underinflated. So what can you do? Keep reading to find out.

What is the Tire Safety: Everything Rides On It program?

The Tire Safety: Everything Rides On It program is a free resource for drivers to help ensure they keep tires properly maintained. It includes information on what you should look for when inspecting your tires, how to keep your existing set of tires well-maintained, signs that you need to replace your tires, and more.

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Why is tire maintenance important?

Proper tire maintenance reduces your chance of a flat tire or blowout, which reduces the cost to you. But more importantly, it helps keep you and other drivers safe on the road. The NHTSA reports that an average of 78,000 accidents per year are the result of unsafe tires. You can reduce the chances of this happening to you with regular tire maintenance.

Additionally, proper tire maintenance can actually help keep your insurance costs lower. How? According to Nolo, if your vehicle causes property damage as the result of a tire blowout, it may be considered an at-fault accident. Having an at-fault accident on your record can result in an increase in your insurance rates.

We partnered with Quadrant to obtain average insurance rates for both a clean driving record and one with a single accident to see just how much an accident can affect your rates. Take a look at this table to see what we found.

Insurance CompanyAverage Annual Insurance Rates with a Clean Driving RecordAverage Annual Insurance Rates with One Accident
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78
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As you can see, even one at-fault accident can mean an increase in your insurance rates of between 20 and 50 percent, on average.

Will I need to replace my tires?

No matter how well-protected you are or how well you maintain your tires, you will still need to occasionally purchase new ones. Replacing worn tires is part of standard car maintenance, and by replacing them before they go flat you can reduce your chances of being involved in a more dangerous, car-damaging accident. Over time, these preemptive replacements can actually save you money.

The Bottom Line for Car Insurance and Flat Tires

In general, your car insurance policy will not cover flat tires. However, if you have collision and comprehensive coverage, they will likely cover other damages to your vehicle that result from a flat tire, blowout, or other tire damage.

Exceptions to this include when your tires are vandalized or stolen, in which case your comprehensive coverage may cover the cost of replacing the tires.

If you want coverage for tire replacement, you may need to purchase a tire replacement warranty, which is typically offered through the manufacturer or store in which you purchased the tires.

Frequently Asked Questions: Does car insurance cover a flat tire?

Still have questions? Read through these frequently asked questions to learn more.

Does car insurance cover stolen tires?

What happens if your tires are stolen? Does Geico cover stolen wheels? Do other insurance companies?

Comprehensive and full coverage policies may include coverage for stolen tires and wheels, but there are typically a few factors that can affect whether or not tire or wheel theft is covered, including:

  • When the theft occurred
  • Where the theft occurred
  • What kind of tires were on the vehicle

If you had custom, performance, or high-end tires, you may not get the full cost for those, as when insurance companies do pay out on claims for stolen tires or wheels, they typically only cover the cost of standard tires for the make and model of your vehicle.

What is collision car insurance coverage?

Collision car insurance is exactly what it sounds like. It provides coverage for collisions with other vehicles and objects (like trees, street lights, curbs, etc.). Collision coverage is not required by state law, but if you have a loan for your vehicle, your lender may require this coverage as part of the terms of the loan. Even if it’s not required, it’s still a good idea to maintain this coverage.

What is comprehensive car insurance coverage?

Comprehensive coverage, which is also known as “other than collision” covers damages to your vehicle that are not related to any kind of collision. This can include theft, vandalism, weather damage, and more. Comprehensive coverage is not required by state law, but if you have a loan for your vehicle, your lender may require this coverage as part of the terms of the loan. Even if it’s not required, it’s still a good idea to maintain this coverage.

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What is liability coverage?

Liability coverage is the minimum amount of car insurance coverage required by each state in order for residents to legally drive. It typically provides coverage for the other driver’s bodily injuries and property damage (up to the policy amount) when you’re found at-fault in an accident.

Watch this video to learn a bit more about liability coverage and what it does (and does not include).

This table summarizes the minimum liability coverage requirements throughout the United States, as noted by the Insurance Information Institute.

Minimum Liability Coverage Requirements by State
StateCoverage Type RequiredMinimum Liability Limits
AlabamaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
AlaskaBI & PD Liab50/100/25
ArizonaBI & PD Liab15/30/10
ArkansasBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
CaliforniaBI & PD Liab15/30/5
ColoradoBI & PD Liab25/50/15
ConnecticutBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
DelawareBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/10
District of ColumbiaBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/10
FloridaPD Liab, PIP10/20/10
GeorgiaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
HawaiiBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
IdahoBI & PD Liab25/50/15
IllinoisBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
IndianaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
IowaBI & PD Liab20/40/15
KansesBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
KentuckyBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
LouisianaBI & PD Liab15/30/25
MaineBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM, Medpay50/100/25
MarylandBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/15
MassachusettsBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/5
MichiganBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
MinnesotaBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/10
MississipiBI & PD Liab25/50/25
MissouriBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/25
MontanaBI & PD Liab25/50/20
NebraskaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
NevadaBI & PD Liab25/50/20
New HampshireFR only25/50/25
New JerseyBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM15/30/5
New MexicoBI & PD Liab25/50/10
New YorkBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/10
North CarolinaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM30/60/25
North DakotaBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
OhioBI & PD Liab25/50/25
OklahomaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
OregonBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/20
PennsylvaniaBI & PD Liab, PIP15/30/5
Rhode IslandBI & PD Liab25/50/25
South CarolinaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
South DakotaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
TennesseeBI & PD Liab25/50/15
TexasBI & PD Liab, PIP30/60/25
UtahBI & PD Liab, PIP25/65/15
VermontBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/10
VirginiaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
WashingtonBI & PD Liab25/50/10
West VirginiaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
WisconsinBI & PD Liab, UM, Medpay25/50/10
WyomingBI & PD Liab25/50/20
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For reference,

  • BI – bodily injury
  • PD – property damage
  • Liab – liability
  • UM – uninsured motorist
  • UIM – underinsured motorist
  • PIP – personal injury protection
  • MedPay – medical payment

Keep in mind that liability coverage is the minimum and does not cover any costs for damages you sustain in an accident. It’s a good idea to speak with your insurance agent about additional coverage, beyond just liability.

Does car insurance cover wheel damage?

If your rims are damaged, your collision or comprehensive policies may cover the cost of replacing them; it all depends on how the damage occurred.

If your rims were damaged as the result of vandalism or someone trying to steal them would fall under your comprehensive policy, while if the damage is due to a collision of any kind it would fall under your collision coverage.

If your rims are bent for any other reason (like negligence or poor tire maintenance), the cost of replacing them may not be covered by your car insurance policy.

Does gap insurance cover flat tires?

The short answer is no, gap insurance does not cover flat tires. Gap insurance does not actually cover repairs to your vehicle at all. So how does gap insurance work?

it is specifically for when you are in an accident and your vehicle is determined to be a total loss. If this happens and there is a difference between what you currently owe on your vehicle and the value the insurance company assigned to it, gap insurance covers the difference.

Now that we’ve answered your questions about flat tires and car insurance, why not use your ZIP code to get a free quote so you’re prepared for when insurance does cover tire replacement?