How To Handle Pothole Damage
It is inevitable that most drivers will experience pothole damage at some stage. Anyone who has hit a pothole will know all about that unnerving sound and the anxious feeling you get just before checking the wheel.
Best case scenario is a little ding but pothole damage can easily lead to more serious issues with the wheels, tyres and suspension or alignment. An example of a worst-case scenario could be an accident caused by a blown tyre from hitting a pothole.
A silver lining to vehicle or tyre damage from potholes is that you can hold the council, the Local Government Association or Highways Agency responsible. After all, it is their legal duty to ensure that the road is in good condition to help motorists avoid pothole damage.
What You May Know About Pothole Damage
Hitting a pothole doesn’t always cause damage as it depends largely on the severity of the impact. Of course, speed plays a major part as does the size of the pothole and the angle of impact. With that in mind, here are three things you may not know about potholes:
- Not all pothole damage is visible as some are internal such as wheel alignment and suspension
- Pothole damage can cause bent rims, internal tyre damage, alignment problems or issues faulty shocks and struts
- You can contact your local council about the pothole as you may be entitled to make a claim
Claiming For Pothole Damage
Hitting a pothole at slow or fast speeds can be a cause for real concern. However, it’s often not worth claiming from your insurance company but you can request compensation from the local council.
If you plan on claiming from either insurance or the council, you need as much information as possible to back up your claim. You can’t always rely on memories as they can be sketchy at the best of times so it’s best to do the following (if it’s safe):
- Take notes or make sketches of where, and how it happened
- Take photographs of the pothole and place a shoe or mobile phone next to the pothole to give an indication of scale
- Add the exact location of the pothole and include the road name, town and the position in the road
- If there were witnesses who saw what happened, take down their contact details
Why You Should Report A Pothole?
In addition to getting the necessary information for your claim, reporting a pothole can help make the road safer for other drivers. Whether you want to lay a claim or not, you should always report the pothole regardless of size or location.
If someone hits a pothole at speed on a highway, for example, the driver could lose control and even cause an accident so they have to fix it one way or another. Below are some helpful links from the AA on how to report potholes in the UK:
- Use this postcode checker to find the right authority in England and Wales
- Highways England manages Motorways and A roads in England
- Traffic Wales is responsible for roads in Wales
- Potholes in Scotland should be reported online at My Gov Scotland
- In Northern Ireland, motorists should report potholes on the NI Direct website
Get Quotes And Repair Your Car
Along with photographs of the actual pothole, you should also take pictures of the damage to your car. For internal damage, ask the garage to help identify the issue and take whatever photos you can. If you’re one of the few lucky ones who don’t need any repairs, report the pothole either way so the council can fix it.
If there is damage, get a quote from a reputable service centre and keep it on record. Remember to keep all copies of quotes, invoices and receipts which will help support your pothole claim later on.
At Elite Garages, you can get a FREE wheel alignment check to identify any potential issues that may need fixing. For added peace of mind, we also offer a FREE tyre safety check which will help determine whether or not you have tyre damage.
How To Make A Pothole Claim
In some cases, you could claim compensation from the council for the costs incurred of repairing your vehicle. Write to the council responsible for the road where the pothole is located. Add all the information you collected, including notes and photographs, copies of your quotes, invoices and receipts.
Even though the authorities perform road inspections, they may not have been made aware of a specific pothole or it was missed during routine checks. Authorities cannot be held responsible for potholes they were not aware of which is why it’s so important to report potholes even if you did not sustain any damage.
That said, local councils are responsible to fix potholes if they know about them and the idea behind making a claim is to prove that they have failed to keep the roads safe.
What Happens If A Pothole Claim Is Rejected?
The first you need to do is make an appeal. Remember, it’s a legal requirement for councils to have a system in place to inspect and repair roads. The system will indicate the frequency of road inspections, the required specifications to justify repairs as well as how quickly the repairs should take place.
If your claim is rejected and you feel it was unjustly, request the council’s road inspection reports and try a reclaim. In the event that the damage is extensive and costly, speak to your insurance company or seek legal advice. For additional financial assistance, the AA offers a personal loan of up to £25,000.
Vehicle Servicing And Wheel Alignment At Elite Garages
Elite Garages have 13 retail locations nationwide with expert technicians offering professional and friendly advice. Not only do we specialise in MOTs, services and tyres but we also do brakes, clutch repairs and fitment, batteries, shocks and wheel alignment.
If you’ve hit a pothole and suspect any damage, bring your vehicle to Elite Garages for a FREE wheel alignment and vehicle safety check. If you need any repairs, we can provide you with a no-obligation quote and get you back on the road as soon as possible. Our service centres also have same-day tyre fitment with the added feature of reserving your tyres online.