HomeCar InsuranceNational Pothole Day: the best ways to claim for pothole damage to...

National Pothole Day: the best ways to claim for pothole damage to your car

It might not be in your calendar, but today (15 January) is National Pothole Day.

The annual event is to raise awareness of potholes and encourage local authorities to take action against them. It comes as pothole-related car insurance claims are at their highest in six years, according to figures from insurer Admiral. 

Pothole claims rose 40% between 2022 and 2023, with more than a third taking place between January and March. The previous record, Admiral says, was in 2018, when the cold weather spike known as the Beast from the East caused a surge in claims. 

Here, Which? looks at the kind of damage potholes can cause, and how to claim to cover the costs.

How many potholes are there in the UK?

Some 2.4m potholes were reported across England and Wales between January 2020 and December 2022, according to Go Compare. 

The comparison site submitted more than 300 Freedom of Information requests to councils nationwide to arrive at this figure. 

Potholes are formed by a combination of weather and wear. Water gets into small cracks in the road, then freezes and expands in the cold. When the weather heats back up, the water evaporates, leaving gaps in the road surface, which can be worsened by vehicles driving over them. 

What kind of damage can potholes cause?

Colliding with a pothole could damage your car in a variety of ways, including:

  • damaged shock absorbers
  • broken suspension springs
  • distorted wheels.

Pothole impact could also affect catalytic converters, which are pricey to repair. 

According to Admiral’s customer data, the average claim for pothole damage rose by 29% to £3,070 in 2023, up from £2,378 in 2022.

  • Find out more: how to report a pothole

Does car insurance cover pothole damage?

Yes, it does. You can claim back the cost of repairs from pothole damage on your insurance. 

But you should only claim once you’ve weighed up the pros and cons.

Rightly or wrongly, insurers regard pothole claims as ‘at fault’, which means you’ll have to pay an excess. If the cost of your repairs is lower than your excess, there’s no point in making a claim. 

Then there’s the fact that you’ll forfeit any ‘no-claims’ bonus you may have had on your policy, so it could be more expensive when you renew.

If you do claim, you’ll need a record of repair costs: a receipt if you’ve already paid, or a quote if you’re paying later. 

It can also help to note down the time and date you hit the pothole and to take a picture of it if it’s safe to do so. 

  • Find out more: best car insurance

Can you claim compensation from your council?

If you don’t want to claim on your insurance, you may be able to recover repair costs from the local authority responsible for maintaining the road.

Again, you’ll need a receipt or a quote, and details of where the pothole is, including that potential picture. 

Councils have their own processes for making pothole claims, so you’ll have to search online to find out what it is in the area where your incident took place. 

If the council rejects your claim, you can appeal its decision. If it rejects your appeal, you can take it to the small claims court. 

  • Find out more: how to use the small claims court

How to help with getting rid of potholes

You don’t have to hit a pothole yourself to help remove it from our roads. 

If you spot one while you’re out and about, you can report it with the government’s report a pothole webpage. 

You can also use the charity Cycling UK’s Fill That Hole tool to report potholes. 

This newsletter delivers free money-related content, along with other information about Which? Group products and services. Unsubscribe whenever you want. Your data will be processed in accordance with our Privacy policy

Which? Limited is registered in England and Wales to 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF, company number 00677665  and is an Introducer Appointed Representative (FRN 610689) of the following:

1. Inspop.com Ltd for the introduction of non-investment motor, home, travel and pet insurance, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide advice and arrange non-investment motor, home, travel and pet insurance products (FRN310635) and is registered in England and Wales to Greyfriars House, Greyfriars Road, Cardiff, South Wales, CF10 3AL, company number 03857130. Confused.com is a trading name of Inspop.com Ltd. 

2. LifeSearch Partners Limited (FRN656479), for the introduction of Pure Protection Contracts and Private Health Insurance, who are authorised and regulated by the FCA to provide advice and arrange Pure Protection Contracts and Private Health Insurance Contracts.  LifeSearch Partners Ltd is registered in England and Wales to 3000a Parkway, Whiteley, Hampshire, PO15 7FX, company number 03412386.

3.Optimise Media Limited (FRN 313408), for the introduction of HSBC Group, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide credit brokering activity. Optimise Media is registered in England and Wales to Exchange Street Buildings, 35-37 Exchange Street, Norwich, England, NR2 1DP and company number 04455319. 

4. HUB Financial Solutions, for the introduction of equity release advice, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) to provide advice and guidance on financial products for those who have retired or are approaching retirement (FCA Firm Reference Number: 455713). HUB Financial Solutions is registered in England and Wales to Enterprise House, Bancroft Road, Reigate, Surrey RH12 7RP, company number 05125701. We do not make, nor do we seek to make, any recommendations or personalised advice on financial products or services that are regulated by the FCA, as we’re not regulated or authorised by the FCA to advise you in this way. In some cases, however, we have included links to regulated brands or providers with whom we have a commercial relationship and, if you choose to, you can buy a product from our commercial partners. If you go ahead and buy a product using our link, we will receive a commission to help fund our not-for-profit mission and our campaigns work as a champion for the UK consumer. Please note that a link alone does not constitute an endorsement by Which?.

Source link

latest articles

explore more