A pothole is a structural failure in a road surface and we all know that! We have all seen them and many of us will have had damage to our cars due to driving over one.
Recently the AA described the number of potholes as an ‘epidemic’ and a ‘national embarrassment’ and potholes are estimated to cause as many as 1 in 10 mechanical failures on UK roads.
In most cases the damage caused by a pothole – a ruined tyre or even two tyres and perhaps a wheel rim – does not justify making an insurance claim given that it is likely to lead to the loss of your excess and no-claim bonus.
MCP are used to our customers coming in with their vehicles requiring pothole repair and we can help you avoid the misery they cause…
If you have driven over a pothole or think you have, just give us a call on 01932 336334 or 01932 336335 or just come by the garage and we will inspect your car there and then if we possibly can.
We will need to check the whole car for damage. We will firstly remove the wheels, check the rims and tyres for damage and replace any that are faulty.
We then visually check the suspension and the bodywork for damage. If that is undamaged, we will then re-balance the wheels to ensure a smooth ride. They are then refitted to the car and the wheel alignment will be checked to ensure there is even wear on the tyres.
We will then send you on your way again, with a receipt so that you can claim either on your insurance or the local council.
Below is the Which guide to how to report and claim for compensation – Good Luck!
How do I report a pothole and claim compensation?
Potholes can cause serious damage to vehicles. Read our step-by-step guide on what to do if you want to report a pothole and make a claim.
1. Collect pothole evidence
Potholes can cause serious damage to vehicles and people if an accident arises as a result of one, so the first thing to do if you hit a pothole is to document what’s happened and any damage caused.
A good way to do this is to photograph the pothole, showing its depth if you’re able to by including something like a road sign or lamppost to show scale.
You should also photograph any damage to your vehicle or bike.
In addition to taking photos, document the road name and where on the road the pothole is.
It’s a good idea to document any factors that may make the pothole a particular risk, for example, if it’s in the middle of a junction.
Try to collect your photographic evidence on the day you ran over the pothole, if you can.
It’s worth noting that if you try and make a claim before collecting photographic evidence of the pothole, you may find it difficult to get pothole compensation if the council has since repaired the pothole.
4. How do I make a pothole damage claim?
Before making a claim for pothole damage to your vehicle, it’s a good idea to get a quote to fix any damage.
Before making a claim, it might be worth calling the council or the Highways Agency responsible for maintaining the road to check whether they will reimburse you if you undertake repair work.
They may have a specific claims protocol which requires you to provide certain information prior to making a claim.
If you need to have repair work done urgently, make sure you keep your receipts.
The more supporting evidence you can provide, including copies of any receipts, the easier making your claim will be.
2. Where to report a pothole
All councils allow you to report potholes via their websites. When you make a report, include all the supporting evidence you can.
To find out which council maintains the road, you can enter the road name, town or postcode on the Direct.gov website.
5. Don’t be afraid of negotiating
If the council or relevant authority makes an offer, you may be able to negotiate.
While you can claim the cost of repairs to your car, bike or other vehicle, you won’t necessarily be compensated for additional travel expenses or the inconvenience caused.
However, if you had to pay for alternative transport while your damaged vehicle was being repaired and have kept receipts, for example, you may be able to claim compensation for this too.
3. Can I claim compensation for pothole damage?
Your chance of claiming compensation for damage to your car, bike or other vehicle often depends on whether a pothole has already been reported.
Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 provides councils with a statutory defence if they can show that reasonable care was taken to secure the road and that it wasn’t dangerous to traffic.
This means highway and local authorities can often defend claims if they weren’t aware of the pothole or if they had in place a reasonable system of maintaining and inspecting the road.
For example, if the pothole appeared recently after the authority’s last inspection and no one had yet reported it as a hazard, you may struggle with your pothole damage claim as the authority took reasonable care to check the road.
But, if the local authority knew about the pothole and didn’t repair it, or if it didn’t follow road maintenance guidelines, you have a stronger chance of claiming compensation for pothole damage and repairs.
As it can be difficult to prove that the local or highway authority should have fixed the known hazard, it is important for all road users – including cyclists – to report any potholes they see in the road that could be a hazard to them or others.
6. If your pothole claim is rejected
Councils have a formal system of road inspection and repair, which they have to follow.
This system covers how often roads are inspected, the size of damage to be repaired and how quickly repairs should be carried out.
So, if your claim is rejected, ask to see details of the council’s road inspection reports to see if the council did follow it as they should have.
If after seeing these you think your claim being rejected was unfair, attempt a reclaim.
You can also use the small claims court to pursue your claim.
However, we suggest you seek legal advice first, as you may be liable for costs if you lose the case.
1 Camphill Ind Estate
Tel: 01932 336334
or 01932 336335
Monday – Friday: 09:00 – 18:00
Saturdays: 09:00 – 13:00
Sundays and Bank Holiday weekends: Closed