How to claim for pothole damage

Car insurance policies

29 June 2023

Potholes are the bane of every driver’s life – and they seem to have become a common feature of most UK roads.

Not only are they a safety hazard, but they can also cause significant damage to your car if you don’t spot one before it’s too late.

So, would you be covered if you hit one? Find out more in our handy guide:

What are potholes and why do we get them?

Potholes are formed when cracks appear in the roads from wear and tear, which are then filled with water from rain. In cold weather, the water in the cracks freezes and expands, causing more damage and widening the crack. Over time, these expanded cracks form potholes.  As more cars drive over these potholes, they get larger and more dangerous.

Claiming for pothole damage through insurance

At AXA, you’re able to claim for pothole damage through your insurance policy if your policy is fully comprehensive, and your claim is not for tyre damage or punctures. You would still need to pay an excess for your claim, so if the damage repairs cost less than your excess, you may not be able to register a claim.  If the damage caused is more than your excess, you can claim as usual through our claims process. If you decide to claim through your policy we will put you in contact with one of our approved repairers. You do not have to use them but you may need to pay an increased excess if you don’t.

It’s worth checking if you’re able to claim compensation through your local council before registering a claim through your insurance as claiming through your insurance may affect your no claims discount.

How do I claim for pothole damage through my local council?

It is important that you know exactly what you need before submitting a claim through your local council for pothole damage.

  • Gather evidence of the pothole damage to support your case

    Firstly, note down the name of the road and location of the pothole, as it’s important to show exactly where the incident happened. Take photos and measurements of the pothole as well, only if it is safe – and definitely don’t stop to take photos on the motorway, as that is illegal.

  • Report a pothole to your local council

    To have a successful claim for pothole damage through your local council, they first need to know it exists. You can find the correct council page to report a pothole on the website. Type in your postcode and you’ll be redirected to your local council’s page to file a report. Keep a record of the report you made, as you’ll need this for your claim.

    Even if your car hasn’t been damaged by a pothole, if you spot one in the road you should consider reporting it anyway. As this will help to get the pothole fixed by the council to reduce future risk for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Get repair quotes

    Go to reputable mechanics for quotes to repair the pothole damage to find the best price. Once you’ve decided who to go with, make sure you keep the receipt for the work done. Ask the mechanic to verify in the quote summary and receipt that the repair is for pothole damage, as this will ensure your claim to the council has the support from a verified mechanic.

  • Time to submit your claim

    You’ll be able to request a form from your local council to claim compensation for pothole damage. Include all the evidence you gathered, full description of the incident and your receipt for the repairs. Depending on the council you report to, pay-outs can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 8 months.

Preventing pothole damage

You can save yourself the headache of getting pothole damage by bearing these top tips in mind:

  • Stick to the speed limit

    Not only is it illegal to go above the speed limit set, but the slower you drive over a pothole, the less likely major damage would be caused to your vehicle. If you spot a pothole in the road, slow down as much as you can before you drive over it (if it’s not avoidable).

  • Be wary of puddles

    Puddles and flooded roads can be deceiving, as they will hide potholes and how large they are. You may end up driving over a puddle, only to find it is a large pothole and cause significant damage to your car. If you see a puddle in the road, be cautious when driving over it, and make sure to slow down. You can also try to avoid the puddle completely, but only if it is safe to do so.

  • Keep a steady grip on your steering wheel

    Hitting a pothole can sometimes cause you to lose control of your car, causing more damage. So always maintain a firm, steady grip of your steering wheel.

  • Care for your tyres regularly

    Well maintained, pumped up tyres are less likely to be damaged in the event of hitting a pothole. Keep your tyre pressures at the correct level and check your treads regularly to stay safe on the road. Check your car’s manual to find out what the correct tyre pressures are.

Unfortunately, sometimes potholes just can’t be avoided. But if this does happen and you get a puncture, or your car becomes damaged, you now know more about what you need to do next.

Looking for car insurance that you can count on wherever the road takes you?

AXA’s range of car insurance policies are here for your needs, so find the cover you need today