We can't tell you the specific impact of any contract without reviewing the contract language. The tire in the road is simply a road hazard. If you chose not to purchase insurance through the rental agency, you must submit it to your own insurance.
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You need to turn it over to your own carrier if you did not purchase insurance when you rented the car. Even though they signed the contract without giving you problems when you returned the car, there is no answering your question about this without actually seeing the contract they signed.
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If you rented the car with a credit card that provides coverage for damage to the motor vehicle you should immediately notify that company and make a claim. The amount of coverage if any is usually limited up to the amount of your collision deductible coverage on your car. You must also submit the claim to your own insurance company and then determine who will pay for the damage.
Unless you know where the tire came from there will be no third party case. If you took out the supplemental insurance from the rental car company then that policy should cover any damages. If not, you can either pay the rental care company out-of-pocket, or report it to your own auto insurance carrier.
Evan in FLA (866) I SUE-YOU (478-3968)