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UPDATED: Mar 29, 2020
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Stolen tires and rims will only be covered under your car insurance policy if you have the proper coverage in place. In other words, if all you have is the minimum liability required by your state, you are only covered for bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury protection as mandated. Rims and tires are generally a matter of comprehensive car insurance coverage.
If you have invested a lot of money in custom tires and rims, it is understood that it’s important you make sure they’re covered by your insurance. This is especially true in cities that have a high incidence of car theft. It takes no time at all for an experienced team of thieves to get your car jacked up and get the tires off without anyone knowing. That’s why some car manufacturers now include special wheel locks that require a customized wrench head to take them off.
What is comprehensive car insurance coverage?
In order for your rims and tires to be covered after a theft, you will at least need some comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive covers any repair or replacement costs related to most things outside the arena of traffic accidents. In other words, collision coverage pays for damage incurred as the result of an accident. Comprehensive coverage takes care of most other things. We say “most” because comprehensive can vary drastically from one policy to the next.
Generally, comprehensive coverage will pay for tires and rims that are stolen. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes additional fire and theft coverage is needed to cover such things. You’ll have to read your policy details and possibly speak your representative in order to find out what you’re covered against.
If your tires and rims are stolen, and you find out your comprehensive coverage will not pay for them, you might check with your homeowners or renters policy. Sometimes those policies treat tires and rims just like any other type of stolen property and will pay for them.
Do I need to file a police report?
Without question, if you expect your car insurance company to replace your stolen tires and rims you will have to file a police report detailing the theft. Otherwise, drivers could claim anything they wanted just to receive an insurance check. The police report is the only way the insurance company has to verify your claim. While it is quite possible to file a false police report, doing so could land you in prison if you’re caught. If you’re like most Americans, that risk isn’t worth it.
Keep in mind that a timely police report goes a long way in quickly settling a claim with your insurance company. If you notice the theft within a couple of hours, and immediately report it to the police, there’s likely to be little dispute in selling your claim. But if you wait a couple of days, or even weeks, both the insurance company and the police have reason to be suspicious of the alleged theft. You may have a more difficult time convincing your insurance company of your claim in such an event.
Do I need to produce receipts for my tires and rims?
In the unlikely event that factory tires and rims are stolen, you won’t need to produce a receipt. Your insurance company will simply reimburse you at the current value of those parts. However, if you’re talking about custom tires and rims, which you added later on, you will need to produce receipts to justify your claim.
Just like the police report issued, without receipts, the insurance company has no way of knowing that you’re telling the truth. You could essentially tell them anything you wanted in an attempt to defraud them.
If you purchase custom rims and tires it is necessary that you save your receipts for as long as those tires and rims are on your car. Even in the case where you purchase a used car from an individual who has previously installed a custom tires and rims, you should get a receipt from the seller as well. In a case where that’s not possible, because the previous owner did not save the receipts, you still might be able to get them covered if your insurance company is willing to accept a photograph of the car and a copy of the bill of sale.
How much will my car insurance company pay for stolen tires and rims?
The amount of money you receive for stolen tires and rims depends on the type of coverage or policy affords. In most cases, your insurance company will pay replacement value and write a check to cover what it will cost you to replace the stolen tires and rims with identical or similar models. They may include depreciation if the stolen items are more than a couple of years old.
On the other hand, if your comprehensive coverage includes full value replacement, your insurance company should pay the entire cost of replacement upfront.
If you don’t agree with your insurance company’s assessment, you should not accept their settlement or cash their check until you investigate your options. In some states, you can petition the state insurance department to intervene on your behalf. In other states, you may have to employ the services of an attorney. Either way, you do have the legal right to challenge your insurance company’s assessment if you believe your tires and rims are undervalued.