Does auto insurance cover wheel damage?

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In a nutshell...
  • Wheel damage isn’t covered under a basic insurance policy because it doesn’t provide you coverage for your car
  • If you want limited coverage for your wheels, you need to carry physical damage coverage options
  • If you have upgraded wheels on your car, there could be limits to how much your insurer will pay to replace them
  • If you don’t add extra coverage to your policy, the standard policy will only pay up to $1000 for custom features
  • If your wheels are stolen or intentionally damaged by a third-party, you need comprehensive for protection

Potholes and curbs are a rim’s worst enemies. You may not need chrome rims to safely get from one location to another in your car, but having a cracked or bent wheel could affect more than just fuel efficiency.

The last thing that you want to do is withdraw all of the money that you have in your savings account to replace your rim after an accident or another type of mishap. Fortunately, there’s a possibility that your wheels could be covered under your auto policy.

When you build your own auto insurance, it’s crucial that you understand how the coverage that you select works. One of the main reasons that policyholders have inadequate coverage on their vehicles is because they’re misinformed or unaware of how coverage works.

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Will the coverage required protect your wheels?


Each and every state in the U.S. has some sort of financial responsibility law in place. This law says that vehicle owners are required to demonstrate that they are financially responsible when they register their vehicles.

Without some sort of law in place, drivers who have accidents wouldn’t be guaranteed to have the means to pay for damages.

While there’s more than one way to show that you have access to money to pay for damages, the most common requirement is that you must carry auto insurance.

Motor vehicle liability insurance is the most common requirement in most states. Be aware, though, if you carry strictly what’s required by law, you won’t have protection under your policy for your wheels.

What type of coverage do you need for rim protection?

If your car came stock with wheels or you added custom wheels after you took ownership of the vehicle, you need to add first-party coverage to your plan for any type of coverage.

The first-party coverage that will help you pay for losses to your car is called physical damage coverage, which consists of both comprehensive and collision.

Physical damage coverage differs from property damage coverage. When you buy a standard policy, you’ll have property damage coverage to help pay for the repairs that need to be made to property owned by someone else.

Physical damage is an optional form of coverage that helps kick in to repair or replace your own car, up to its fair market value.

When does your collision pay for rim replacement?


Collision coverage is a form of damage coverage that’s designed to pay for losses that arise when you’re operating your vehicle and you hit an object or overturn the car.

If you’re operating your vehicle and you drive over a deep pothole or you go off the curb and crack your rim, the damage could be claimed under your collision coverage.

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Will your rates go up if you file a collision claim?

If you file a collision claim just to repair a bent or cracked wheel, you can expect your future rates to go up as soon as your next renewal premium is calculated. Policyholders who switch carriers before their renewal may also see a surcharge on their new policy for the claim.

All collision claims are surchargeable when you’re primarily to blame for the loss that occurred. If you were the only driver involved, you’re the only one to carry the blame.

Because of this, you’ll be assigned 100 percent of the fault and will have an at-fault collision claim on your record.

What will comprehensive pay for?


Comprehensive is the second form of damage coverage that will pay for repairs that your car needs after the car is damaged in any other type of loss that’s unrelated to a collision.

Some of the different types of perils covered under comprehensive include:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Flood
  • Explosion
  • Contact with live animals
  • Falling objects

How much does the average wheel cost to replace?

The cost of rims can range from very affordable to very expensive. If just one of your rims is damaged, it could cost you $150 to $1500 to replace it. This doesn’t even include the cost of the tire, which may also need replacing.

While insurers typically try to repair something before replacing it, rim repair typically doesn’t solve the problem. Most wheels are replaced rather than repaired.

Are there limits to how much an auto policy will pay for wheels?


If your rims came standard with the rims from the manufacturer, there’s not a specific limit to how much coverage you will have. The insurer will pay the depreciated value of the rim when settling a damage claim. The issues arise when you have custom rims.

Auto insurance companies will cover some of your customizations without charging you an extra premium but not all of them.

When the carrier is going to be on the line for paying more money they have to charge you more money. It’s no surprise that the contract says that you will have up to $1000 of coverage for custom features.

Can you buy separate coverage for your wheels?

There are two ways that you can protect your expensive wheels when your standard coverage has too many gaps.

One of the options would be to ask your insurer to schedule coverage on the wheels so that they are covered for their value. If you have your receipts, you can provide these and pay for custom scheduled protection.

If you are leasing your wheels, you probably have insurance coverage through the lessor. The carrier will add an extra charge to your lease payment to cover the cost of insurance. If something happens, you file a claim with the lessor and it will be handled.

Wheel damage is covered to an extent when you carry a full coverage insurance policy. Make sure to review your auto policy contract and understand what each term means.

If you need to see if you’re paying a fair rate, you can get several different quotes by shopping the market online. Use our online rate quote tool and solicit quotes now.

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