Last updated: 02/09/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
How to claim for pothole damage
Almost 1.7 million potholes were filled in the UK in 2020 alone according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance, but there are many more left untreated.
Despite this, claiming for pothole damage can be slightly more difficult than for damage caused by a conventional accident; read here for a breakdown of what to do should you need to.
In This Guide:
- Steps to claim for pothole damage to your vehicle
- Which authority do I need to report pothole damage to?
- How much compensation will I get?
- How to prevent pothole damage
Steps to claim for pothole damage to your vehicle
Whether you make a claim through your provider or via the council/authority, it is crucial that you collect evidence to show that the pothole was the cause of the damage.
Collect pothole evidence
Firstly, take photos of the pothole and the damage caused to your vehicle.
If safe to do so, measure the width and depth of the pothole. If this isnt possible, try use something for scale to show how big / deep the pothole is in your photographs. This will help you with your case.
Take these photos on the day, as soon as you can after the incident occurred. If you do this at a later date and the pothole has been repaired, it might make it more difficult to claim.
Take note of important details
Some things that you should note for when you submit your claim:
- Note the date and time that the incident occurred
- Record the road it happened on, and where on the road the pothole is
Report the pothole
Next, you should report the pothole to the council or local authority. This will aid you in providing future evidence should you need it. You will also be a diligent citizen by helping to prevent other road users from encountering the same issue.
You should include all the evidence you have when you report to the council.
To find out which council to contact, you can use the Find your local council page on the .gov website.
Find out how much the damage will cost to repair
If possible, speak to multiple garages to get a range of quotes for the repair needed for the damage caused by the pothole.
Keep any receipts or written quotes as they will be required to recuperate any fees incurred by yourself.
It is also advised that you get a mechanic to state in writing that the damage was caused by a pothole.
Make a pothole damage claim
Finally, send all evidence and details of the incident (including receipts) to your council/authority or insurance provider.
If the council/authority admits fault for the damages, they should cover the cost of the damage caused.
If the council/local authority rejects your claim, you can take it to a small claims court for further investigation.
Which authority do I need to report pothole damage to?
Depending on the type of road you're driving on, as well as your location in the UK, the authority you need to contact to report pothole damage will differ:
In most cases, you should be able to report a pothole and any damage caused to your car via the local council.
If you're unsure what local jurisdiction the road you are on falls under, you can check this on the government website. You can then request a form to report the incident on the relevant local council's website.
Transport for London
If you come across a pothole in the capital, you can report it to Transport for London (TfL) either by completing a form or calling 0343 222 1234.
If driving on a motorway or other major road in England and hit a pothole, you can report it to Highways England by sending a form or calling 0300 123 5000.
If reporting pothole damage in south-west Scotland, you need to call Amey on 0800 521 660. Alternatively, if reporting a pothole in the north or south-east of the country, call Bear Scotland on 0800 028 1414.
To report a pothole in Wales, request a form from the Traffic Wales website, or call 0300 123 1213.
In Northern Ireland, the Department for Infrastructure (DfI Roads) maintains the roads. Report any potholes by downloading a form from the NI Direct website.
How much compensation will I get?
The exact amount of compensation you will receive is not fixed and will vary from council to council.
The typical amount awarded for a successful claim ranges from £300 to £500, though some claims may only get a percentage of the overall costs covered.
In addition to this, while it may take a matter of weeks for some claims to be processed, other motorists could face months of waiting for the outcome of a claim for compensation.
How to prevent pothole damage
While it may not be possible to fully protect your vehicle from pothole damage, paying attention to the road and driving carefully can help reduce the risks.
- Stick to the speed limit - The faster you are traveling when you hit a pothole will increase the damage caused.
- Tyre maintenance - Having tyres that are in good condition and inflated to the right calibration will help reduce damage.
- Be extra cautious when driving in wet weather - Puddles can often hide deep potholes when it has been raining.
- Grip the steering wheel correctly - Having a firm grip of the steering wheel when traveling over a pothole can help prevent the car from jerking, causing further damage or accidents.