Does Car Insurance Cover Pothole Damage? Detailed Guide

By Randy Luton | Last Updated: 02/01/2023

Water and traffic are the main causes of potholes. Through microscopic crevices in the pavement, melting snow or rain collects. Repeated freezing and melting of the trapped water, if it can’t drain, elevates and bends the pavement from underneath. The road finally gives way into the void created by the water below it as the pressure of vehicles from above continues to erode it.

Unlucky drivers may suffer from severe headaches and major car damage due to potholes. However, you might be happy to learn that frequently car insurance cover pothole damage. And if it doesn’t, you could be eligible for compensation in other ways. If you are wondering, will car insurance cover pothole damage? Then this guide is for you.

Which type of insurance cover pothole damage?

You will be covered against harm brought on by a pothole by collision coverage. Weather extremes, vandalism, and theft are examples of damage covered by comprehensive insurance after an accident. Potholes are therefore not covered by complete covering. Prior to your insurance taking over and covering the rest of the cost, if you hit a pothole and need to file a collision claim, you’ll have to pay a deductible.

Typically, deductibles range from $500 to $1000. It might not be profitable to submit a claim if you only need to replace one flat tire because the expense might be less than your deductible.

It can be worth it to pay for the repairs yourself even if they cost a little more than your deductible because making a claim might cause a small increase in your insurance premium.

To avoid having to pay a hefty repair cost out of pocket, submitting a claim is a wise option if the damage to your automobile exceeds your deductible.

Is hitting a pothole an at-fault accident?

If you don’t have concrete proof that anything or someone else like another automobile caused you to strike the pothole, car insurance providers will likely view it as your responsibility. That is why it is important to clarify if your policy provides insurance for accidents caused by potholes.

While one pothole generally won’t have an impact on your premiums, incidents, where you were at fault, are more likely to see an increase.

Even though it could be difficult, you are often more to blame when you strike a pothole than anybody else. You are in charge of keeping an eye on the roads, being cautious, and being attentive as a driver. Additionally, since it involved just one car, it is completely covered by collision coverage.

Does car insurance cover rim damage caused by a pothole?

Generally speaking, pothole damage to your tires and rims is covered by collision insurance. Custom rims, however, could require a separate policy as not all insurance cover collision for them. Ask your insurance provider if bespoke components are covered by your current policy or if you need additional protection. To know more about mechanical car damage and its coverage you can read our blog: does car insurance cover mechanical problems?

Does car insurance cover alignment damage caused by a pothole?

Depending on the coverage in your policy and the circumstances of the damage, alignment may be covered by your auto insurance. The necessary repairs, including alignment, would be covered by collision insurance if the misalignment was caused by one of the listed risks, such as running over a pothole or backing into a fire hydrant.

Also, note that your auto insurance won’t protect you if your suspension was harmed by normal wear and tear or aftermarket height changes.

What to do after hitting a pothole?

Step #1 : Determine the probable harm

Even if the vehicle seems OK, you should stop as soon as it’s safe to do so to look for obvious damage, such as a tire rip or collapsed rims. You can read: Does car insurance cover tire damage?

Call the emergency number for your insurance company if there is damage that is obvious, and the vehicle is unsafe to drive. If you believe that the automobile has internal damage of a kind that would cause additional harm to the axle or suspension if you continued to drive, you should also contact your insurer.

Step #2: Make a help call

For your safety, it is advised to avoid driving if you have seen interior or exterior damage to the car. If you have insurance, you can ask your company to send a tow truck.

Step #3: Photograph the damage

Take pictures of the pothole and the damage to your automobile to make it simpler to file a claim with insurance or the local government.

Use a location pin on your phone to record the precise position of the pothole. If there are any witnesses, get their contact details and a description of what happened.

Step #4: Contact the nearest police and inform the accident

To file a claim with your insurer, just as with any auto accident, you’ll need a case number from the police. If no one was wounded, you can report the accident online on the website or at the closest police station.

When to file a claim for pothole damage?

It is frequently unnecessary to submit a claim. Since striking a pothole is seen as a single-car accident, unless there is proof that you were prompted to strike the pothole by another vehicle, your insurance will often hold you responsible for the event. If you have collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for the damage, but when it comes time for renewal, your rates may go up.

You should also take your deductible into account. The damage to your automobile should be modest unless the pothole is deep, or you strike it while moving quickly. Paying out of pocket can make the most financial sense because the cost of repair will probably be less than your deductible.

How to receive compensation without coverage by pothole insurance?

You may sometimes submit a pothole damage claim with the city, county, or state if you don’t want to use your auto insurance for any reason. If a municipality fails to properly maintain its roadway and a motorist hits a pothole on one of its roads, the municipality may be held responsible for the harm the pothole caused.

You can also try for government compensation for bad roads, but it is entirely location-specific. The procedure could be simpler in certain locations than in others.

However, if you think the government was careless with road maintenance – for example, if they were aware of a hazardous pothole but did nothing about it; you might be able to recover your costs from them.

rating star

We generated 12,100,000+ Quotes (...counting), Helping People to Save Money and Time.

Editorial Guidelines: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of auto insurance. This information does not refer to any specific auto insurance policy. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. References to costs of coverages/repair, average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, etc., are indicative and may not apply to your situation. We encourage you to speak to our insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.

Was this article helpful?

Randy Luton is the Founder and CEO of RateForce. He is passionate about InsurTech services and has in-depth knowledge about the auto insurance sector of the USA.