Find out how to report potholes and how to make a claim if you are injured or suffer damage to your car or property because of them.
Potholes are a major issue on UK roads. They can damage:
They can also skew your steering, and water-filled potholes can affect catalytic converters.
Repairing the damage can be expensive and - if you claim on your car insurance - your premium might go up.
Potholes begin to form when water gets into the road's foundation from the cracks in the surface tarmac.
It freezes and expands in cold weather. When the temperature rises again the ice melts, leaving a void beneath the road surface that later collapses under the weight of traffic.
You can claim for pothole damage on your car insurance, but it might be more expensive than the cost of repairs.
If you’re injured after colliding with a pothole check your car insurance for personal injury cover, and speak to your insurer.
Whether you want to make a claim or not, you need to tell your insurer about the damage.
If your claim with the local authority takes a long time, or is unsuccessful, your insurer will then have a record of the damage and you can claim through them instead.
You can claim from the local council or the Highways Agency.
Find which body is responsible for the culprit pothole by searching for the road using its postcode at Gov.uk. Then request the relevant claim form to fill in from the council.
If you can show that it knew about the problem pothole, and did nothing about it within a reasonable period, you have a stronger chance of making a successful claim.
To find out whether the pothole has been reported, you can check out websites that ask the public to report them, or make a formal request for information from the council or Highways Agency.
How much you can claim depends on how damaged your car is - you may get some or all of the repair costs back.
It’s an either/or situation – you can’t claim from the local council or Highways Agency and your car insurance, if your claim with the council is a success.
Making an insurance claim may affect the cost of your premium.
According to the 2018 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, maintaining the surface of roads helps to fight the causes of potholes, and they should be tackled once every 10 to 20 years. In England, all classes of roads are resurfaced once every 92 years. In Wales, it’s once every 71 years.