Does car insurance cover tire damage from potholes?

Car insurance does cover tire damage from potholes if you have a comprehensive policy. Liability and collision coverage don’t cover all kinds of damage, but comprehensive auto insurance covers tire damage from potholes, vandalism, natural disasters, and more. Read our guide to learn more and compare quotes for comprehensive car insurance for free.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Oct 27, 2020

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Things to know...

  • Car insurance coverage does not typically pay for normal wear and tear on a vehicle
  • Roadside assistance may help you to change flat tires
  • All drivers should be aware of the benefits their coverage provides

Driving over a large pothole at a moderate or high speed can ruin your day in more ways than one. While it could potentially leave you with a jarring headache, it also could damage your tires. In fact, you may have a flat tire, a bent wheel and other issues to contend with.

Filing a car insurance claim to get your insurance company to pay for the damage sounds like a reasonable plan, but this option is not well-suited for many pothole-related damages. Learn more about what your insurance might cover and make sure to use our free insurance comparison tool above today! 

Potential Damage from Potholes


Potholes may be rather large, deep holes in the road. When your vehicle passes over them, you run the risk of damaging your tires and shocks. In severe cases, you may even bend the wheel or other components of your vehicle. While the damage may range from minor to severe, this damage can usually be avoided.

Preventing Pothole Damage

There are several steps that you can take to minimize the extent of pothole damage or to prevent damage altogether. These include:

  • Ensuring that your tires are properly inflated and in good condition
  • Avoiding driving at a high rate of speed
  • Being observant for signs of road damage
  • Slowing down to avoid driving over a pothole or to minimize the severity of the impact

While you may not be able to avoid driving over all potholes, you can at least give yourself enough time to slow down enough to reduce severe damage from occurring.

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Understanding Wear and Tear Damage on Your Car

Most pothole events will be viewed by your insurance company as being basic wear and tear damage. After all, flat tires happen all of the time, and the insurance company may state that your issue is caused by the normal usage of the car.

However, there may be some instances when your insurance company may pay for the damage that the pothole caused. Understanding how your coverage works is necessary if you want to take the best steps possible to repair your vehicle with minimal cost.

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What does your coverage pay for?

There are several different types of auto insurance that you may have on your policy, and these include liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance. Liability insurance will only pay benefits for damages you cause to others.

On the other hand, collision insurance will only pay benefits for vehicle repairs or a replacement if you are involved in a collision.

As you can see neither of these types of coverage is relevant to a pothole situation, but comprehensive insurance may pay for some pothole damage events. Each auto insurance company is unique, so you will need to talk to your provider to determine if they would approve a claim for pothole damage under a comprehensive auto insurance policy.

Do you understand the claims process?


Even if you can file a claim under a comprehensive insurance policy, you may not actually want to. Filing a claim is easy enough to do, and it can be completed with a short phone call to your insurance company.

However, as part of the claims process, you will be required to pay your deductible. The insurance benefits available to you will cover your repair costs less your deductible amount.

The typical cost of a new tire may range from $100 to $500, and the typical deductible amount is $500. You can see that you may get little or no benefit from filing a car insurance claim unless you have multiple tires damaged, expensive tires on your car, a bent wheel base, or axle damage related to the pothole.

More than that, there is a chance that your auto insurance premium may increase at your next renewal date if you file a claim against your coverage. Unless you are facing expensive repair costs for serious pothole damage to your vehicle, the combination of paying your deductible and possibly having your premium increase may make this an unattractive option for you.

Can roadside assistance help you?

Regardless of the type of auto coverage that you have, you may have roadside assistance benefits through your car insurance policy. This service may help you to replace a flat tire with your spare or assist you in other beneficial ways if you are stranded on the side of the road. If you have towing service, you may be able to use your towing benefits to get a lift to the nearest tire repair shop.

Upgrading Your Coverage

As a driver, you are financially responsible by law for any damages you cause to other drivers. After your liability insurance pays benefits to another party, you are responsible for any damages that the coverage did not pay for.

Therefore, some people will increase their liability coverage limits. This same line of thinking applies to collision and comprehensive insurance.

In addition, you should learn if you have roadside assistance, towing, or rental car benefits through your policy. In most cases, you can add these options to your coverage for a very affordable price, and they can be beneficial in the event you run into trouble on the road. Make sure to check out our free insurance comparison tool below now!

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