Slashed tires are considered vandalism and therefore fall under the comprehensive portion of a car insurance policy. The amount of coverage for slashed tires is dependent upon the specifics of the policy.
Real-World Coverage Examples
Coverage depends on the insurance company, as well as the policy. Call your company to find out the specifics, but these real-world examples can help you get a sense of whether you might be covered.
When asked via telephone, Geico stated slashed tires are considered vandalism. This means they are covered under the comprehensive policy (check the details of your policy to see if you have comprehensive coverage).
On the other hand, State Farm said the cost of replacing the tires is not covered under their policies. However, they added that their roadside assistance will cover the labor costs associated with changing the tires out.
Are You Covered?
Essentially, coverage varies from one insurer to another, so review your policy - specifically, the comprehensive portion - to find out if slashed tires are covered. Though comprehensive coverage is not required by all states, most lenders require comprehensive coverage on financed vehicles for the duration of the loan.
If a slashed tire causes damage to the vehicle - such as driving the car before realizing the problem resulting in rim damage or other damage - this can be claimed on the insurance policy, but the policyholder is responsible for the deductible.
Road Hazard Insurance
Many dealerships offer a form of tire insurance when selling vehicles called "road hazard insurance." This add-on policy reimburses the cost of tire replacement or pays the repair facility directly, depending on the policy. Since this coverage is designed to cover hazards experienced on the road, such as potholes and debris, it does not cover the costs associated with slashed tires.
When you buy your tires, you may get insurance or a warranty through the tire company. Though these warranties can vary in what they cover, most tire warranties are only designed to guarantee a specific mileage for the tires under normal driving conditions. Slashed tires are not typically covered by tire warranties.
Emergency Road Coverage
Policy holders who have emergency roadside assistance with their insurer can call for assistance when a car is damaged by slashed tires. The services offered by the roadside assistance crew may vary depending on the company and policy, but slashed tires usually merit assistance in the form of a tow or help with changing the tire to the spare. This is often an additional coverage and may not be included with all car insurance policies.
Don't Forget the Deductible
Even with comprehensive coverage, there may be an out-of-pocket expense in the form of the deductible. This may make it impractical to file a claim, since the price of the tire may be lower than the deductible. Additionally, making the insurance claim may result in higher premiums with future policies. Also, the insurance company may request a copy of a police report when the policyholder makes a claim of vandalism on the car.
Don't Slash the Remaining Tires
Rumors abound on the Internet claiming that anyone who has slashed tires should go ahead and slash any remaining tires in order to get the tires covered by their insurer, says Snopes. This is not necessarily true and is a form of insurance fraud. It's far better to either make the claim based on facts or go ahead and pay for the tire replacement out of pocket.
Check Your Policy to Be Sure
Ultimately, to find out if you're covered for slashed tires, you'll need to confirm you have comprehensive vehicle insurance. Then call your company or read the fine print to find out the details. Some insurers will pay for a new tire, and some won't.