etyres guide to claiming for pothole damage

Over the last few winters we have seen a significant increase in the number of tyre enquiries received as a result of pothole damage. Potholes may be a nuisance but they can cause extensive and expensive damage and can even cause fatal accidents to both drivers and cyclists.

Claiming for pothole damage

  • You may not be aware but if your vehicle is damaged by a pothole, you may be entitled to claim for the cost of the repair. Whoever is in charge of the road has a legal responsibility to maintain them, if this has not been kept up and your car or bike has been damaged, then owners of the road should pay for the repairs.
  • If you feel that your car or bike was damaged and this was caused by the pothole, you will need to prove this in order to proceed with a claim. The process is not quick, but is worth the persistence. Average damage claims are said to be between £300 and £500. Some drivers have successfully received the full amount, while other cases have only had a part of the claim settled.

When is a pothole not a pothole?

  • In order to count as a pothole the hole must be at least 4cm (1.6in) deep – about the height of a golf ball.

Here is a quick guide to help you through the claim process:

1. Gather as much information that can be used as evidence, as possible.

  • Take pictures of the pothole and the surrounding area –etyres do not advocate stopping traffic.  Only exit the car where it is safe to do so, take photos of the hole and the surroundings.  Ideally have some form of measurement next to the hole, to prove its size and depth.
  • Make a note of where it happened, when it occurred, even draw a sketch of where on the road it is.
  • Take pictures of the car damage, if it can be seen
  • Get your local garage to write a report about fault and its possible causes

2. Check who owns the road, and as a result who is responsible for it, the table in the PDF document below shows who’s in charge of what.

3. Report the hole

  • Report it as soon as you can to the relevant council or highway agency
  • It is advised that you let your insurance company know about the damage- even if you don’t claim from them; it is good to keep them informed.

4. Use the Freedom of information Act

  • Get a copy of the road repair policy by writing to the authority in question, go through it in detail to make sure they have adhered to it.

5. Compare the road repair policy to the national code

6. Make the claim

  • You may be able to get a claim form direct from the council or highways agency’s website, alternatively try calling them.  All of the information and evidence that you have gathered will now play an important role.
  • Write to the relevant highways authority responsible for the particular stretch of road with all the information and details you have gathered including a full description of the incident; location; timings; a sketch of the area and any hard copies of photographs of the pothole.  If you are unsuccessful we have created a template for you Potholes- claim form from Local Authorities

7. Negotiate

  • If you receive an offer, you should seriously consider it. You may be able to negotiate; however, Which!  says, while you can claim the cost of repairs, you will not necessarily be compensated for additional expenses or inconvenience.

8. Don’t give up

  • If you are turned down there are further steps that you can take. Take your claim to the small claims court, but be sure you have all the facts.  You won’t need any legal representation. Simply go armed with your evidence and let common sense triumph