How to Claim for Pothole Damage

Hitting a deep pothole can damage a vehicle’s wheels, tires, and steering alignment. While the damage occurs regardless of the vehicle’s speed before hitting the pothole, more damage can occur if the vehicle hit a deep pothole at a higher speed.

Hitting a deep pothole could also cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle and lead to crashing. Even though pothole damage may not be worth an insurance claim, you may get compensation from the local council. Here is what you need to do when you hit a pothole:

1. Check Your Vehicle for Damage after Hitting a Pothole

As soon as you hit a pothole, look for a safe place to pull over and check your vehicle for any pothole damage to your tires and wheels. Keep in mind that all damages aren’t usually obvious. As such, it is good to check your vehicle very carefully ensuring that the steering wheel is centered properly and the car is not pulling to one side.

You should also check whether there are any vibrations. If you suspect pothole damage to your vehicle, ensure that your vehicle is checked either by a tire specialist or a garage specialist as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could end up spending a lot on tracking or steering repairs.

2. Take Notes

It is a good idea to take some notes since you may not remember everything. Therefore, after pulling over to a safe place, go back to the scene, make sketches and take photographs of the pothole if possible (only do this if it is safe to do so).

To give a sense of scale, include a familiar object in your photographs such as drinks or a shoe. Don’t forget to take note of the exact location of the pothole- the road name, town, contact details of witnesses and so on.

3. Report the Pothole

It is very important to report the pothole to your borough council, city council or local authority. You should do this even if you are not planning to make a claim for the pothole damage. When you report, the city council, borough council or local authority may arrange repairs and ensure that a similar or more serious incident doesn't happen again.

Highways England is responsible for A-roads and motorways in England while Traffic Wales is responsible for roads in Wales. If you want to report potholes in Northern Ireland and Scotland, do so online.

4. Get Your Car Repaired

Getting your car repaired after hitting a pothole is very important. Ensure that you get many quotes and keep them. Apart from the quotes, keep all receipts and invoices and take copies to support your claim.

5. Make Your Claim

According to you then need to  write to the council that manages the road with the pothole with the details you have gathered including copies of your receipts, invoices, and quotes. While it is possible to claim for the cost of repairs, remember that the relevant highway authority doesn’t have a statutory defense. 

What this means is that the relevant highway authority cannot be held responsible for a pothole they are not aware of because it had not been reported to them or because they did not spot the pothole during their regular checks.

6. Make an Appeal

The law requires that councils operate a formal system of road inspection and repair including how often the councils should inspect the roads and the size of road damage that the council should repair and how quickly the councils should repair any damaged roads.

If you feel that your claim was unfairly rejected, ask for the details of the council’s road inspection reports and try a reclaim. If the pothole damage is a costly one, talk to your insurance provider or seek legal advice.