What to do if you hit a pothole

You know the feeling… You see that huge pothole in the road, but before you can react you can feel that clunk and the “This is going to cost!” moment. With cars increasingly fitted with expensive alloys, pothole damage can be expensive. What’s more, damage to the wheel rim can increase the risk of punctures which can be dangerous. It’s well worth getting pothole damage repaired promptly so Vavista has pulled together this short handy guide on how you might be able to make a claim so you aren’t out of pocket too.

Did you know…

A recent Local Government Association study estimated that it would take 14 years just to clear the current backlog of potholes!

What causes potholes?

Potholes are usually just water seeping into cracks in the road, which freezes, expands, and causes poor road surfaces.

When can you claim?

Most councils deem a hole to be a pothole when it’s 40mm, or the height of two twenty pence pieces. You can still claim if it’s less but it’s less likely you’ll get any money back.

How can you claim?
  • First you need to prove the pothole caused any damage to tyres, wheels or suspension. A good mechanic should be able to determine this, and you’ll need it in writing.
  • Gather evidence. Stay safe but get a picture of the pothole, where it is in the road and any warning signs. For a sense of scale take pictures of your car alongside it as well as any damage caused.
  • Write a short report stating what happened, where, when, and include witnesses and a sketch if possible.
  • Including the mechanics report will help your claim.
  • Send a letter to the council or highways agency responsible – you can find a template here
  • Officially report it to the local council. This will not only help your claim, but will also help other drivers by getting it logged and fingers crossed, fixed. If it’s on a motorway you need to contact the Highways Agency.
How long will a claim take?

If it’s a known hotspot claims can be quick, and sometimes resolved in as little as 4 weeks. However generally claims take anything between seven and eight months so be patient and hopefully you’ll get a positive result.