Does Your Car Insurance Cover you for Pothole Damage?

SUV vehicle sinks into the road after heavy rain A black SUV sinks into the road after heavy rain in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China on Tuesday June 19, 2012. The SUV owner wasn't hurt in the accident, but it was reported that his insurance company refused to pay out.
SUV vehicle sinks into the road after heavy rain
A black SUV sinks into the road after heavy rain in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China on Tuesday June 19, 2012. The SUV owner wasn’t hurt in the accident, but it was reported that his insurance company refused to pay out.

Most people believe that if they damage their car by hitting a pothole they can get the cost of the repair covered by someone else.

Sadly, often this is simply not the case. The vast majority of people learn the hard way that their insurance does not cover them for pothole damage.

  • Third party insurance does not cover pothole damage

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If you have third party insurance you definitely are not covered if you hit a pothole. This is because your policy is designed to be used to pay for damage you inflict on a third party’s property i.e. someone else’s property. It does not cover you at all. When you have hit a pothole, you have effectively had an accident that does not involve anyone else, so there is no one with insurance to make a claim from.

The best you can do is to try to claim compensation from the person or organisation that is responsible for maintaining the road. That is not easy to do. It is time consuming and many people fail to secure the compensation they need to repair their vehicle.

Comprehensive cover does not always include coverage for pot hole damage
A good comprehensive car insurance policy should cover the cost of getting damage caused by hitting a pothole repaired. It should, but in reality, it often does not. If you are buying comprehensive car insurance, it always makes sense to specifically ask about coverage in this situation.

  • Just how costly is pothole damage?

Now you may be wondering why we are even bothering to cover the subject. After all, how much damage can hitting what is basically a small hole in the road do?

  • Shock absorber damage

Driving over potholes is not a good idea because it wears down your shocks. Shock absorbers are an integral part of your car’s suspension. Those little springs help minimise the friction between the road and your car so that you can enjoy a comfortable ride. They also protect the other components of the car from damage from the impact of day to day driving.

  • Tyre damage

If you are not careful, you can puncture or blow out your tires, or cause damage to your steering system. Often, tire rims take the brunt of a large pothole so examine them thoroughly if you hit a large dint in the road.

  • Damage to the underneath of your car

A deep pothole can cause a very high level of damage to the underneath of your car, including your exhaust. If you hear strange noises emanating from your exhaust system get it checked over.

Also, look out for fluids leaking out of your car after hitting a deep pothole. It is even possible to rupture a brake line in which case the fluids that are leaking could be brake fluid.

  • Avoid potholes when you can

So the moral of the story is to avoid potholes and where feasible drive over them so they are between your wheels. Of course you might swerve and that’s up to you though we know it’s just because it makes you feel like you’re in a 70s car chase.

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