Car and winter pothole on open road

Pothole Damage Claims

Healthy Driving  |  By

Here in the UK we’re not unfamiliar to a pothole. In fact, according to the RAC in 2022 Pothole related breakdowns were up by 23% in the last 3 months of the year than the previous three months[1]. Showing us that potholes are a huge problem to drivers across the country. One question you may ask if your vehicle is damaged by potholes, is who is liable for this damage?

What is a Pothole?

A pothole is classified as a pit in the road that round 1.5 inches deep and just under a foot wide [2]. They are usually caused by the erosion of the road surface from cold and wet weather. However, hot weather and friction on the roads can cause the initial cracks on the road surface which allows water to seep through the tarmac softening the road base underneath. The weight from traffic then breaks up the road surface forming a pothole[3].


What damage can potholes do to my car?

Potholes can cause a range of damage to your vehicle, however typically the faster you are travelling when you hit the pothole the more damage that’s likely to be done [4].


Potholes can cause significant damage to tyres. Including punctures, sidewall bulges and tread separation. These are likely to cause you to need a new tyre.


Wheels can get chipped or cracked when encountering potholes. This will cause your wheel to be unable to create an airtight seal with the tyre, leading to flat tyres.


Potholes can cause damage to your vehicles steering for example it’s alignment. You may notice this damage if your steering feels different or the car is veering to one side.


Potholes can damage your vehicles suspension system through repetitive jolts, accelerating the rate of wear and tear.


If there is noticeable damage, you should take your car to a garage as soon as possible to get it checked over.


Who is liable for pothole damage to my car?

Most of the time Local Authorities are usually responsible for pothole damage as they hold responsibility for the maintenance of the road. Though this depends on the road type that you encountered the pothole on.

Motorways and A-roads ae maintained by the following:

England – National Highways

Northern Ireland – Department for Infrastructure

Scotland – Transport Scotland

Wales – Traffic Wales


How do I make a Claim for Pothole Damage?

Once you’ve checked the damaged to your vehicle, you should begin to gather information.


1. Gather Evidence

Make a note of the date and time of the incident and the location of the pothole on the road.

If you can and it is safe to do so, try and take some photos of the pothole.

Do not return to take photos of a pothole on a motorway. This is known as trespassing and could lead to prosecution and is incredibly dangerous.

Pictures of the damage to your vehicle are also helpful in making a claim as well as any paper work from a garage indicating further damage.  A letter from a mechanic to confirm the cause of damage in writing may be beneficial to your claim.


2. Report the Pothole

Reporting a Pothole in England and Wales is super simple. You can use the GOV.UK website to gain the correct local authority that is in charge of maintenance for that specific road.

If the road is a motorway or A road, this will need to be reported to the correct national authority listed above.

Potholes should also be reported to local or national authorities even if damage was not caused to your vehicle. This is because potholes can pose a significant to road conditions and could lead to an accident or further damage to someone else’s vehicle.


3. Submit your pothole claim

You should submit your pothole damage claim to the same authority that you reported the pothole to. Put all your evidence that you gathered previously and attach it to your claim.

Damaged cause by debris in the road will not be covered as part of a pothole claim. A claim will need to be made through your car insurance provider instead.


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[1] RAC pothole-related breakdowns leap during last three months of 2022 | RAC Drive

[2] How to make a pothole claim –

[3] What causes potholes? | Shropshire Council

[4] How to make a pothole claim –

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