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Nothing can ruin a trip like a flat tire on a rental car, leading many people to wonder who pays for a flat tire on a rental car to plan accordingly.

Whether to pay for car rental insurance is a hot topic because many argue it’s a waste of money. But getting a flat tire would be even worse, costing you money to repair the vehicle and pay for a new tire.

Depending on the rental company and their insurance terms, you will likely need to pay for a flat tire on a rental car. When you get a flat, you can call the company for roadside assistance, but check with your rental agent about the flat tire policy.

A flat tire is one of the most frustrating things to happen to a traveler, especially when you are on vacation and need to rent a car. It can be challenging for renters to determine who pays for the flat tire since most rental car companies list the responsibility differently based on the insurance policies. We will explain how this works and the procedure for each company for flat tires on rentals.

We have researched and spoken to the top rental car companies to understand their policies well. This allows you to come to one place to find which rental car company will give you the best protection if you experience a flat tire.

Table of Contents

Who Pays For A Flat Tire On A Rental Car?

One of the most common questions people ask when renting a car is who pays for a flat tire. The answer to this question varies from company to company, but the consensus is that it is the renter's responsibility.

However, this is not always the case, which is a perfect example of why car rental insurance exists. You can also check your agreement when signing the initial paperwork to determine the company’s policy on this type of incident.

Assuming you have no insurance, the rental company does not cover a flat tire on a rental car. It's up to the renter to pay for it out of their pocket. If a renter damages the rental car, they will also have to pay for it.

Do Rental Cars Come With Spare Tires?

When renting a car, most people assume they will get the spare tire that comes with the vehicle. However, most cars won’t include a spare tire or any equipment for replacing a flat tire.

This is another question you should ask when booking the appointment and signing the rental agreement. A spare tire is not always necessary because many of the top rental companies offer roadside assistance services.

Assuming you have roadside assistance, this still doesn't cover the cost of a new tire and spare tire. These rental companies can be sly regarding this, so we always recommend asking these questions upfront.

What Should You Do If You Get A Flat Tire On A Rental Car?

If you get a flat tire on your rental car, the company that owns it will assist if needed. You also have the option of fixing it yourself if this is something you are capable of doing.

When a flat tire happens, you should pull over into a safe area away from traffic to determine the next steps.

Check For A Spare Tire

Once you are pulled over in a safe area, we recommend checking for a spare tire in the vehicle. When renting the car, this should be discussed immediately, but assuming this step was skipped, you can check again.

If you have a spare, you can remove it from the vehicle if you want to try and change the tire. If this isn't something you can do, leave it in place and wait in the car.

Call The Rental Car Company

Next, you can call your rental car company. Each company has a roadside assistance hotline that will connect you immediately to give directions to a roadside mechanic for help.

This is included if you purchased the proper insurance. Sometimes AAA members will save the money and not buy this insurance policy because they can call for help with AAA for the same type of service.

This is another option worth considering. But without the insurance policy, any severe or permanent damage would fall into your responsibility to pay for it.

Wait For Roadside Assistance

Now you can wait for roadside assistance to arrive. They will either install the spare, fix your tire, or tow you to a local repair shop to have the tire fixed.

Not all rental cars come with a spare. In fact, most won’t, so this will vary based on the circumstance of each driver.

Should You Pay For Rental Car Insurance?

When renting a car, it is important to understand the terms and conditions of the rental. We believe you should pay for rental car insurance.

There are several reasons why you should get this coverage. First, it will cover you for any significant damages or if you were ever to get in an accident.

This provides peace of mind knowing that you will be protected without any potential fines or fees if anything happens to your vehicle.

Buying a policy will also make you feel secure about your trip and save you from any potential financial issues if something goes wrong with the vehicle.

There are a few other types of coverage, like liability coverage, personal effects coverage, and personal accident coverage. Liability coverage is likely a requirement, and adding in Loss Damage Waiver or Collision Damage waiver will keep you well protected.

Does Rental Car Insurance Cover A Flat Tire?

Rental car insurance will cover part of the flat tire incident, but it is unlikely the policy covers everything. You will need to pay for the tire if it is damaged and cannot be fixed.

But the policy varies depending on the company. You can get roadside assistance to install a spare or tow you to a local repair shop by purchasing insurance.

There is another form of insurance you will be offered. This is known as Loss Damage Waiver or Collision Damage waiver, depending on the company policy.

If you would like to be covered for all types of vehicle damages, including flat tires, then this would be the ideal policy to buy. It will be more expensive, but the cost savings could be huge if you do get a flat tire or vehicle damage.

How Do Rental Car Companies Handle Flat Tires?

Below, we will look at how rental car companies handle flat tires and their policies for dealing with them. We'll also show you what you can do if your rental company doesn't offer any help in this situation.

National, Enterprise, and Hertz are the three most popular rental car companies. Understanding the policy for each should have you covered depending on who you use for your next car rental.


National has an excellent policy known as Roadside Plus, and they will help with any issues, including flat tire service. However, the cost to replace the tire is not included.


Enterprise is likely the most popular brand and will provide roadside assistance too. The Roadside Assistance Protection also includes the cost of changing the tire.


The Hertz policy is another friendly one for drivers. You can purchase Premium Emergency Roadside Service, which will cover all issues and remove the financial liability for things like flat tires.

Who Pays For A Flat Tire On A Rental Car?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

Read More About Charles Redding