What is the three-tire rule?

The three-tire rule says that auto insurance won’t cover replacement if you only slash three tires. However, that is false. If you have comprehensive coverage, any number of slashed tires can be covered. Although you will still have to pay your deductible, you only receive comparable value for your tires. Since your auto insurance rates can increase with a claim, it may be cheaper for you to pay for tire replacement yourself.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Feb 2, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Comprehensive insurance will cover slashed tires
  • It doesn’t matter how many tires are slashed — your insurance will cover it
  • Ensure that you park in well-lit areas to avoid vandalism to your vehicle

You may have seen a movie where an upset woman slashes some of her significant other’s tires. But why did she only slash three tires?

There is a misconception called the three-tire rule which claims that auto insurance won’t pay for damages if only three tires are slashed. That simply is not true.

There are several types of auto insurance coverage available, and you need specific coverage for tires. You will need to have comprehensive coverage added to your car insurance to handle any type of vandalism, including slashed tires.

Before you purchase auto insurance that covers slashed tires, shop around to find the best deal. You can compare free quotes now from auto insurance companies that offer comprehensive coverage by entering your ZIP code.

What is the three-tire rule?

If you want to vandalize a car, why do you only slash three tires instead of four? How many tires does insurance cover if they are slashed?

The three-tire rule states that your auto insurance won’t pay for damages if only three tires are slashed. No one is certain as to where this idea originated, but it is false.

However, your liability-only coverage won’t pay for any damage to tires. You need more than merely basic coverage to be fully protected.

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Does auto insurance cover slashed tires?

There is a popular misconception that auto insurance will only cover slashed tires if a certain number are damaged. But will insurance cover two or three slashed tires?

If you have the correct coverage, auto insurance will cover any number of slashed tires. You will need to add comprehensive coverage to your auto insurance for slashed tire protection.

Does insurance cover tires slashed by road debris, spikes, or a vandal? Yes, but you will need to have collision and comprehensive coverage in place.

What is the difference between collision and comprehensive auto insurance?

Collision auto insurance covers damages to your vehicle from an accident that you caused. For example, if you are in an accident and your tire is damaged, your collision coverage would pay to replace it.

Comprehensive insurance covers damages to your vehicle that are not the result of an accident, such as fire, theft, and vandalism. Slashed tires are considered vandalism, so comprehensive coverage would kick in.

You should note that insurance won’t pay for normal wear and tear of your tires or cover flat tires. If you have roadside assistance, that service will cover changing a flat tire or towing your car to a repair facility.

How much is comprehensive auto insurance?

Does GEICO cover slashed tires? What about State Farm or Progressive? The answer is yes if you have comprehensive coverage.

This table displays average rates of comprehensive coverage by state. You can see that adding the coverage is not very costly and will give you peace of mind.

Average Annual Comprehensive Auto Insurance Rates by State
StatesAverage Annual Comprehensive Auto Insurance
New Hampshire$103.03
Rhode Island$122.17
North Carolina$123.00
New Jersey$123.18
New York$156.66
South Carolina$165.38
New Mexico$166.89
West Virginia$195.04
North Dakota$227.64
South Dakota$228.59
District of Columbia$230.25
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Even though comprehensive insurance can help replace your tires, there are a few things that you should know.

First, you will still have to pay the deductible on your comprehensive coverage. Depending on how high your deductible is and the cost of tires, it may not save you any money to file an insurance claim.

Second, your insurance will only pay to replace your tires in a comparable condition. This means that if your tires are older, insurance won’t pay for a brand new set. They take into consideration the age and mileage on your tires when paying the claim.

Next, filing an insurance claim can raise your rates for years. Between the deductible and the rate increase, it may be less expensive if you pay for the new tires yourself.

It’s also important to note that if you have custom wheels, your typical comprehensive insurance won’t cover them. You need to add custom parts and equipment coverage to your policy.

Whether or not you file an insurance claim, you should still file a police report. This way the damages are documented and the person responsible may have to pay for repairs.

How can you avoid slashed tires?

While you can’t control random acts of vandalism, there are ways you can protect your vehicle and save yourself money and headaches.

Here are a few ways that you can prevent slashed tires:

  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Install security cameras on your property
  • Install a car alarm
  • Park in a garage if available

There are no guarantees that you can prevent someone from vandalizing your car, but you can do everything possible to make it more resistant to vandalism.

Be sure to have comprehensive coverage in place just in case. Adding the coverage is inexpensive and can help cover unexpected costs.

The Three-Tire Rule: The Bottom Line

There is no truth to the three-tire rule which claims that auto insurance won’t pay for tires if you only slash three. However, you do need to have comprehensive coverage in place if someone slashes your tires.

Comprehensive coverage is relatively inexpensive and covers many scenarios, including fire, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters.

Ways that you can avoid having your tires slashed include parking in well-lit areas, adding a car alarm, and adding security cameras to your property.

It’s also important to have the correct auto insurance coverage in place if your tires are slashed. In order to find the best auto insurance that includes comprehensive coverage, enter your ZIP code now.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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