Claiming for pothole damage on car insurance

Potholes are a road safety hazard, forcing drivers to swerve and making it more likely for them to be involved in an accident. They also cause significant damage to vehicles, with an average pothole damage repair bill of £1,000.

The question is, can you claim for pothole-related damage? And, if so, how do you go about it? Let’s find out.

Daniel Hutson From the Motor team
4
minute read
posted

Claiming on your car insurance

If you claim on your car insurance, just be aware that it might affect your no-claims bonus and may also lead to a more expensive premium the following year. You will also have to pay an excess when you make a claim. So it’s worth weighing up your options.  

How can I make a claim for pothole damage from the council or local authority?

The first step is to gather evidence to support your case. Take photos of the pothole and measure its width and depth – if it’s not on a motorway and it’s safe to do so. Make a note of when you hit the pothole (date and time of day) and the exact details of the damage to your car, with supporting photos.

The next step is to report the pothole to the relevant council/authority. You can do so on the gov.uk website. Not only are you being a responsible citizen by doing this, but there will also be a record of the report that will work in your favour when you make a claim.

Speak to various garages and get quotes to repair the damage caused by the pothole. Keep all of these quotes as well as any receipts you receive after paying for the repairs.

Request that the mechanic states, in writing, that the damage done to the car was caused by a pothole.

Send a letter or email to the council/authority and include all details surrounding the case, such as evidence of the pothole, a full description of the incident and receipts issued upon the completion of the repair work.

How will I know if my pothole claim is successful?

The council/authority will notify you of the result of your claim. They may accept the claim and cover the full cost of the repairs. They may accept the claim and cover a portion of the repairs. Or they may reject the claim entirely.

 

 

What can I do if the council rejects my claim?

You have the option to approach a small claims court if you feel your claim has been rejected unfairly.  

Why are potholes such a problem in the UK?

The cold, wet weather we have in the UK is the main reason why potholes have become such a big concern. Our roads start to form tiny cracks as a result of general wear and tear, and when water enters these tiny cracks it freezes and expands during cold weather. This causes the cracks to widen and when the water eventually melts, potholes and craters are created in the road surface as a result of cars driving over them.

There are said to be over 2 million potholes on UK roads at the moment, and it’s been estimated that it will cost a whopping £556,000,000 to fix them.

According to the RAC, pothole-related damage is also responsible for double the amount of breakdowns in 2018, compared to the previous year.

How can I prevent pothole damage?

The easiest thing you can do to prevent pothole damage to your car is to drive with care:

  • Be sure to stick to the speed limit – the faster you’re driving when you hit a pothole, the more extensive the damage will be.
  • When driving in wet weather, be very wary of puddles – bottomless potholes often masquerade as modest puddles of water.
  • Maintain a steady grip on your steering wheel at all times. The jolt caused by hitting a pothole can cause you to lose control of the vehicle and this can result in a nasty accident.
  • Keep your tyres in tip-top condition. Quality tyres that have been properly inflated will provide a extra protection.

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