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Tire and rim insurance

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Is your “comprehensive” coverage not comprehensive enough? Tire and rim insurance can help fill the gaps.

Tire and rim insurance is a widely available extra, and some car dealers might offer it unprompted. However, like all insurance, there are differences between policies and what’s right for one person might not be right for someone else.

This guide takes you through tire and rim insurance, including what it will and won’t cover, how it works and whether it’s worth it.

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How does tire and rim insurance work?

Tyre and rim insurance is designed to help cover what standard car insurance doesn’t. It makes sure your wheels have, at the very least, the same level of coverage as your car.

Punctures and flats are unpredictable, and if you’re unlucky, they can occur back to back or several times a year. For this reason, many car insurance policies will specifically exclude tires and rims or may limit you to only a single claim per year. Specialized tire and rim policies, on the other hand, will typically let you claim multiple times per year.

Similarly, many car insurance policies will actively exclude coverage for tire damage caused by punctures, road cuts or bursting. For example, if you drive past a construction site every day, there’s a good chance of debris eventually bursting a tire. In this case, many car insurance policies would not cover it, while tire and rim insurance would.

Ready to compare car insurance?

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Root
Included free
No
Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
USAA
Included free
No
All 50 states
USAA offers affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service to millions of military members and their families. Only available to military members, veterans and affiliated military members.

Compare up to 4 providers

Does car insurance cover slashed tires?

There aren’t many better ways to ruin your morning than walking outside to find your tires slashed. Maybe you drove over a nail earlier, or perhaps someone vandalized your vehicle. Either way, someone has to pay for repairs. Depending on your coverage, your insurer might cover the repairs, but it depends on the type of policy you have.

Even if your slashed tires are covered by your provider, you may want to consider how expensive the repairs may be. Most policies require you to pay a deductible, which might be higher than the cost of replacing the damaged tire.

CoverageWheel coverage?
Liability coverageNo
Collision coverageNo
Comprehensive coverageYes

Is tire and rim insurance worth it?

To work out whether tire and rim insurance is worth it, look at your car insurance policy and see what it doesn’t cover that tire and rim insurance can. Typically, the difference will be that tire and rim insurance covers you for damage caused by road debris, running over potholes or curbs, and similar accidental damage. All of these are typically excluded by car insurance policies.

Other differences to watch for include:

  • Being able to make multiple claims per year under a tire and rim policy
  • Being able to make tire and rim claims without risking a substantial increase to your car insurance premiums, or losing your no-claims bonus
  • Not having to pay a deductible, or having a lower deductible
  • Extras that are not available with your car insurance, such as emergency accommodation coverage if car damage leaves you stranded far from home

Car tire and rim insurance is typically very cheap compared to standard car insurance premiums and may be well worth it if you think there’s a high possibility of tire damage, or if you’re happy to pay a little bit more for the extra coverage.

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

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What to look for in a tire and rim policy

Compare policies by looking at the conditions in which they will and won’t pay out. In tire and rim policies, look at the following:

  • When it will pay out. Policies will typically specify certain causes of damage that are covered. These are typically tire and rim damage caused by punctures, bursts, road debris and similar accidents.
  • When it won’t pay out. You are unlikely to get coverage for tire damage caused by braking, wear and tear or deterioration over time. Other exclusions will also apply, such as a failure to maintain the recommended tire pressure.
  • If it comes with extras. One extra commonly available with tire and rim insurance is emergency accommodation coverage. This will pay an accommodation allowance if damage to your tires or rims leaves you stranded and in need of a place to stay. Other extras may also be available.
  • How it pays out. Depending on the policy, you might be able to claim the cost of repairs, replacements, retreading or more.

Bottom line

The value of a tire and rim insurance policy depends not only on how much you’re paying for it, but also on what it does and doesn’t cover. Even comprehensive car insurance policies may be lacking in wheel coverage, and tire and rim insurance can be an affordable way of compensating.

Take a look at what type of car insurance policy you have and what it covers. Then decide if any additional tire and rim insurance is worth it. To make sure they work in harmony, you might want to consider looking specifically at tire coverage the next time you switch car insurance and then decide whether you need the extra protection

Shop for car insurance

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Root
Included free
No
Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
USAA
Included free
No
All 50 states
USAA offers affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service to millions of military members and their families. Only available to military members, veterans and affiliated military members.

Compare up to 4 providers

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

Your information is secure.

Picture: Shutterstock


Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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