Our roads are getting worse and worse, and potholes are wreaking more and more damage on our cars. That’s according to the latest news from the RAC, which has warned that it was called out to a quarter more pothole-related incidents in 2015 than in 2014.
Fortunately, motorists whose cars are damaged by potholes can attempt to claim repairs from the council which owns the road. But how do you go about doing this? Well, now’s the time to swoop up with our handy guide, just in case you become unlucky this winter.
What To Do If Car Hit By Pothole Damage
The first thing you should always do is to report the pothole to the local road authority. If the pothole damage were on an A-road or motorway, that’d be Highways England, one of the two Trunk Road Agents in Wales, Transport Scotland, or TransportNI in Northern Ireland.
Taking a photo of the pothole is a good idea – you’ll need to report it later
If the pothole damage was on a minor road, however, it’ll be the responsibility of the county, city or borough council that manages the roads in the area of the pothole.
If you can safely take a photograph of the pothole, you should do so, as that will help the council to identify it. Alternatively, a sketch showing the pothole’s location relative to the kerb or centre line should suffice.
You should also give the council details of the pothole’s location, including the name of the town or village it’s in, the road name or number, the direction you were travelling in along the road, and the size of the pothole, including its depth (remember, only measure the pothole if it’s safe to do so).
Find out how much it will cost to repair the damage to your car by getting quotes from a few local garages. Make sure they inspect the car properly, as there may be damage where you can’t see it, such as broken car suspension components. And make sure you get several quotes, so you aren’t being ripped off.
If the damage causes the car to be dangerous to drive or unroadworthy, you should have it repaired at the earliest possible opportunity and worry about claiming for it later on rather than try and drive the car as it is.
However, if the damage is purely cosmetic – a kerbed alloy wheel, for example – it makes more sense to wait to see whether your claim is successful before spending money getting it fixed. That way, you’ll know how much you have to play with.
Write to the relevant authority, explaining your predicament. Make it detailed, but keep your language calm and collected. Becoming emotional or abusive is a no-no and won’t help your case at all.