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Insurance Coverage For A Vehicle's Tires And Wheels

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Tires for vehicles are becoming increasingly expensive; therefore, you may wonder if your auto insurance will cover to replace tires that are vandalized, stolen, or damaged. Since auto policies vary in the provisions they provide, it's important to understand the types of insurance coverage available, especially if you want insurance that covers tire damage.

1. Collision Coverage

Collision coverage pays for tire damage that your vehicle incurs in an automobile accident. The coverage generally pays to fix damage to your vehicle following an accident where you collide with another vehicle or hit an object.

Although most auto insurance policies don't cover tire damage due to wear and tear–even if caused by the poor condition of roads–your collision coverage may pay to repair or replace a tire damaged by a pothole you hit in the road. Whether a tire rim or the tire itself is damaged, if you make a claim, you must pay your deductible first. Some insurers also require that a pothole collision cause damage to your vehicle other than to a tire for your policy to cover the cost of repairs or replacement of a tire.

2. Comprehensive Coverage

Generally, comprehensive auto insurance covers damages to your vehicle that aren't caused by a collision. While your lender may require that you purchase comprehensive insurance if you finance your vehicle, the coverage usually isn't required by state law. But the optional coverage can help cover the loss of tires that are stolen or damaged by vandals. Depending on the kinds of perils listed in your policy, comprehensive coverage may also protect against damage to tires that are the result of a run-in with a pothole.

3. Wheel-and-Tire Insurance

If you drive a luxury or sports vehicle with tires that are more expensive to replace, purchasing wheel-and-tire insurance offers added protection, especially if your standard auto insurance policy won't cover the cost. Tire insurance, which is sometimes offered as an extended warranty plan, usually has a deductible and may not offer full coverage. The plans–which are sold by new car dealerships, auto repair shops, and tire dealers–typically cover damage to wheels and tires for up to a specified number of months or miles.

When determining whether this add-on insurance is worth the additional cost, it's important to understand the details of the policy. The amount some policies pay toward new tires is based on tread depth of the tire at the time of the mishap. However, other policies will pay for a new tire regardless of the tread depth.

Coverage for wheel damage under these policies varies, as some policies have limits and exclusions on the coverage they provide. For instance, a policy may not pay for repairs to a wheel if the damage includes only minor dents or scuffing.