Yes, as a general rule, breakdown cover policies include coverage for punctures, and changing tyres.
Punctures are one of the most common breakdown causes in the UK. The poor condition of many roads has increased the chances of suffering tyre damage - and is one of the biggest reasons startrescue.co.uk customers require our roadside assistance services. Therefore, it is no surprise that one commonly asked question is ‘Does breakdown cover include punctures?’
Driving on a flat tyre can be dangerous and may cause further damage to the tyre and wheel.
If you suffer a puncture it is critical you pull up somewhere safe and either fit a spare tyre, make a repair, or call for roadside assistance, who will generally assist you as part of your cover in the event of a flat tyre.
Breakdown policies generally include changing tyres, as well as puncture fixes. Roadside assistance operatives will be able to fit the spare wheel, or temporarily fix the puncture so the car can be driven to a garage. If the puncture cannot be fixed by the roadside, operatives will tow the vehicle to a garage within the terms and conditions of the policy.
Note that if your vehicle is fitted with 'run-flat' tyres you may be able to reach a garage under your own steam. Run-flat tyres are designed to resist the effects of deflation, allowing the vehicle to be driven for a limited distance - usually 10 miles. This is normally sufficient to reach a garage where the problem can be fixed. However, if you suffer a puncture in a remote location far from a garage, you may need to call for roadside assistance.
Many modern car manufacturers have reduced the weight of their vehicles by eliminating the spare wheel. This means dealing with a puncture is not as easy as it once was. 'Puncture, no spare' callouts have thus been on the rise in recent years.
Instead of a spare wheel, many car makers instead provide 'tyre inflation kits'. These kits feature latex sealant that is forced into the tyre via a valve and compressor, which runs off the car's battery.
In theory this ensures your tyre has enough pressure to get home or to a garage. In practice, the kit's effectiveness depends on the type of damage. With a small hole in the central tread area they may be effective, but for a gash in the tyre’s sidewall, they are unlikely to be of use.
Additionally, some car owners do not know how to use tyre inflation kits, meaning calling for roadside assistance is the more sensible option.
Slow punctures occur when a tyre deflates gradually due to a small hole. Due to their nature, a car owner may wake up to find a tyre has gone flat overnight on their driveway or garage.
Most basic roadside assistance policies do not cover this problem, which falls under ‘Home Assist’ style coverage.
Start Rescue 3 and 5 Star breakdown cover policies include flat tyres at home via our Home Assist service
The vast majority of breakdown insurance providers will be able to temporarily repair any puncture by the roadside as part of their service, or tow the vehicle to a nearby garage where the tyre can be repaired or replaced, at the owner's cost.
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