How to claim for pothole damage
With an estimated two million potholes across British roads (according to the RAC), it is likely they will cause damage to your vehicle at some point. 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:
- Can I claim for pothole damage?
- How to make a claim for pothole damage
- How much compensation will I get?
- How to prevent pothole damage
Can I claim for pothole damage?
In order to make a claim for pothole damage to your vehicle, it is important that you have evidence to prove that the pothole was to blame.
While you can claim for damages caused by potholes through your car insurance provider, you can also claim via the local authority or council who is in charge of maintaining the roads.
This is a lengthier process than claiming directly through your insurer, but it will result in your no-claims bonus being unaffected, and you won’t have to pay an excess charge.
How to make a claim for pothole damage
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.
Firstly, take photos of the pothole and the damage caused to your vehicle. Note the date and time that the incident occurred and, if safe to do so, measure the width and depth of the pothole.
Following this, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.