UK Potholes: What you Need to Know


March 4, 2019 By Mike
Last updated on March 4, 2019

Potholes cost drivers billions each year. In fact, it costs drivers up to £1.7 billion a year, with some individual pothole damage costs coming in at around £3,800 pounds.

Of course, this can be pricey, and making sure you have a savings or basic bank account can help. However, when it comes to pothole damage, there are things you should know, and things you can do, which we’ve highlighted below.

What Damage

As an everyday hazard, it’s easy to see why potholes cause so much damage to cars. But, the type of damage they can cause is also quite broad, which is why it’s easy for the car to get damaged. But what type of damage can they cause?

Tyres: This is the most immediate damage to your car as they can cause sidewall bulges, tread separation and even flats. This is due to the often-hard edges of the pothole compressing the tire against the wheel upon impact.

Wheels: If you hit a pothole it can cause the wheel to bend, chip or crack. If this happens the wheel won’t roll smoothly when bent. Meanwhile, chips and crack can worsen over time, so you’ll need to look for these, as they aren’t always obviously noticeable.

Alignment: Hitting a pothole can even mess with the alignment of the car, which can lead to vibrations, poor steering and even premature or irregular tread wear.

Suspension: As this system is designed to absorb impact, helping to create a smooth ride and support the weight of the vehicle, hitting a pothole can provide severe problems for the suspension. This can include misalignment, damaged shocks and struts, and broken ball joints.

What to do

If your car does get damaged by a pothole, then you can probably make a claim. However, there are a few steps you should take in order to make your claim. These are:

Check Car: The first thing you should do is look over your car for any obvious physical or cosmetic damage. Although this may not be immediately obvious, continue to check over the coming days and weeks for suspension or alignment issues.

Notes and Pictures: You’ll need evidence to support your claim, so pictures will need to be taken of the damage, and keep notes of how the car works.

Report Pothole: For local roads, you can contact the local, borough or city council to report the hole. Meanwhile, motorways will need to be reported to Highways England or similar.

Repair: Make sure you get as many quotes as possible before getting the repair done to keep the costs down. Then, ensure you keep the receipt.

The Claim: Your claim should be made to the council responsible, and you should provide all the evidence above to support the claim. However, councils can make defences against claims under the Highways Act 1980, but you can still make a claim against your own insurance.