Cars victim to crumbling roads

Pothole claims double in January

Car insurance claims for pothole-related damage on Britain's roads more than doubled in January compared to the same month last year, according to AA Insurance*.

Over just four weeks, an estimated 1,000* cars in the UK were seriously damaged by potholes.

According to an AA/Populus study of nearly 23,000 AA members, a third said that they had suffered some damage to their vehicle caused by a pothole.

Of those, all had seen tyre damage, while 17% had suffered some wheel damage too.

Serious damage

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance said “pothole damage is bad enough, but those making insurance claims are saying that there has been serious damage to suspension, steering and bodywork as well.

“In some cases, the driver has lost control or swerved to try to avoid the pothole and hit something else.”

The AA has already expressed serious concern over the deteriorating state of Britain’s roads following bouts of flooding, ice and snow, stating that unless the Government stems the pothole epidemic, the cost of claims will soar.

“[While] it takes a quarry-like pothole to cause the sort of damage that would justify an insurance claim” Mr Douglas added, “there are certainly some 'A-list' holes out there.”

Indeed, this observation is reflected by £35 million** worth of compensation claims and staff costs accumulated by local authorities last year.

If you hit a pothole

  • Check tyres and look for tell-tale bulges on the tyre walls which indicate serious internal damage. If you see one, replace the tyre immediately
  • Ensure the steering wheel centres properly. If it doesn't, get it checked immediately as your tracking may be misaligned
  • Watch out for any vibrations that could be indicative of steering or suspension damage

Key pothole facts

  • It would cost £9.8bn to correct all road surfaces
  • 20,355 potholes were filled in 2011/12. The AA estimates that there are about a third more holes to fill this year
  • The average cost to fill one pothole is £55 in England, £35 in Wales
  • The average pothole-related compensation claim paid is £583

*Based on AA Insurance claims and scaled-up to provide a national picture, around 1,000 insurance claims will have been made to insurer during the month of January.

** In 2011/12 £35 million was lost to compensation claims and extra staff costs (www.asphaltuk.org)