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Tire damage is one of the most common issues affecting vehicle owners and can cause a number of risks on the road. It rarely makes sense to use your auto insurance policy for isolated tire damage. So, before you pay out of pocket to replace your damaged tire, check your tire warranty and road-hazard protection to save money on repairs.
Our guide will help you better understand tire damage and your best options in terms of tire coverage.
Is tire damage covered by insurance?
Tire damage is often covered by comprehensive and collision insurance in instances where your tires are slashed or your wheels are stolen from your vehicle. However, car insurance does not cover flat tires because they're a maintenance issue.
But you usually wouldn't file an insurance claim for tire and wheel damage because the cost of buying an entirely new tire is typically less than the deductible for your comprehensive and collision coverage.
For example, if you have $1,000 worth of car damage and a $250 deductible, your insurer will send you $750 if your claim is accepted. If a replacement tire costs $100, then it wouldn't make sense to submit a claim and pay the deductible because it's higher than the cost of replacing the tire.
In some instances, it may make sense for you to file a claim when tire damage is one part of more extensive damage to the vehicle. The total damage costs may then exceed your deductible. But if there is only damage to the tire, then check if you're covered under a tire warranty.
How do tire warranties work? What does it cover?
A tire and wheel warranty will protect your tires against road hazards, material defects and premature wear on your tires. Most standard tires come with a tire warranty from the manufacturer, so you do not have to pay full price for a replacement. However, these warranties often come with an expiration date.
There are many different types of tire warranties, with some only applicable to new tires. So, it's important to look at the different types and how to get tires replaced under warranty. When looking into tire coverage, here are some factors to consider:
- What are the types of tire warranties?
- Is tire insurance worth it?
Types of tire warranties
There are five main types of tire warranties, which generally last for a certain period of time or a certain number of miles. Because tires take the most wear and tear from the road, they will need to be replaced more than once over the life span of your vehicle. But it's important to find the best tire warranty for your situation.
- Treadwear warranty
- Limited road-hazard warranty
- Uniformity warranty
- Materials warranty
- Trial-period warranty
If you are buying tires for a specific purpose, it's important to consider the type of tire protection plan each warranty offers. Some warranties come standard with a tire, and others you will need to purchase for added tire and wheel protection.
A treadwear warranty is one of the most common types of mileage warranties, and it comes standard with most tires. This will cover you for a certain number of years or miles, such as five years or 50,000 miles.
To be eligible for a claim, the tires must wear down evenly and the tread must measure 2/32 of an inch or less. The tire is unsafe for driving once it reaches this measurement. The manufacturer will prorate the remaining mileage owed to you, and you can put that money toward a new set of tires.
How long does it last? Each warranty is different and will vary depending on the manufacturer.
Limited road-hazard warranty
Limited road-hazard protection is often called road-hazard protection, road-hazard insurance or a road-hazard warranty. It can help pay for the costs of a tire repair or replacement after covered incidents. Road hazards can include potholes, nails, wood and other debris.
Stationary objects such as sidewalks, curbs and walls are not considered road hazards. In other words, if you were to damage your tire by jumping a curb, then road-hazard coverage would not cover the cost to fix it.
How long does it last? Tire road-hazard warranty programs typically cover the tire's first year and are offered by many tire retailers.
This warranty is often called a ride uniformity warranty. It covers defects associated with ride quality. In other words, if your tire causes shaking and bumping while you drive, the manufacturer will replace the tire. However, ride defects are pretty rare.
How long does it last? Typically, 30 days to one year, as this issue would become immediately apparent when driving with the new tires.
A materials warranty is another common type of warranty, often called a workmanship warranty. It covers material defects that may have occurred when the tire was originally made.
The manufacturer will pay for claims made in full before the tread reaches the 2/32-inch measurement. After the tread wears down, the claim amount will be prorated to help pay for a new set of tires. But to make a claim on a materials warranty, you would have to prove the tire is not worn down from use or maintenance, which can be difficult.
How long does it last? This depends on the manufacturer; it could be for the tire's life span.
Sometimes, manufacturers will allow consumers to "try out" a set of tires for a period of time. If you return the tires by the end of the trial period, you can often receive a full refund or credit toward a new set of tires from the same manufacturer.
How long does it last? Because it's a trial period, this warranty only typically lasts 30 to 45 days.
Many tire warranties do not cover things like wheel alignment and rim replacement, so it's important to check for exclusions within the policy. Then, consider the need and purpose of the type of tires you purchase. Keep in mind that tires sold with mileage warranties are made with harder materials to extend tire life. However, most winter tires do not come with mileage warranties, as these tires are often made of materials for better traction — not mileage.
Is tire insurance worth it?
Car insurance is often not the best way to cover tire damage, but tire warranties can often be used in place of insurance for certain types of damage. In expensive cases in which there is significant damage to the car beyond just the tires, auto insurance will cover the cost of all the damage, minus your deductible.
For some, purchasing a tire warranty is a good investment, especially if it comes with road-hazard protection. Consider your location and whether the roads are well-maintained where you live, as road hazards will cause your tires to wear down quickly. Take advantage of the fact that many tire manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on certain tires for better protection. Many tire retailers also offer free road-hazard protection.
However, some drivers do not want to insure something they can afford to replace on their own. Compare the cost of insurance against the cost of a new tire. Regardless of what you decide, it's wise to have a roadside assistance service to help you in the event of a flat or otherwise damaged tire.