Car insurance claims for potholes hit £2.85m a month

Written by Editorial Team
14 March 2010 / by Rachael Stiles

The figures show that public concern about the state of Britain’s roads is justified, the car insurance provider says, revealing that over three years, the number of pothole-related car insurance claims has risen by more than 600 per cent.

The AA’s calculations found that the £2.85million of claims in February points to around 1,900 incidents involving a pothole in just one month.

“But that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” says Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, who thinks the figures are actually higher than this, “because it takes serious damage to make it worth an insurance claim. Garages and tyre centres are dealing with countless thousands of punctured tyres, damaged tracking or broken springs which don’t justify making a claim.”

He added “The figures underline the struggle that local authorities are facing in keeping the pothole outbreaks under control.” Around £140million is needed to repair the estimated two million potholes across the UK, figures show, at about £70 a go.

While some councils are keeping on top of the pothole problem, which has been exacerbated by the coldest winter to hit the UK for three decades, other councils are not faring as well, he continued, and one in North Yorkshire is even implementing a ‘pothole tax’ in the form of an additional 8p per week in council tax to pay for the potholes to be fixed.

Commenting, AA president Edmund King says: “Local roads are in a dreadful, dangerous state and emergency funding is desperately needed to stop the plague of potholes. However with the motorist already paying £46 billion per year in various motoring taxes and only a small proportion spent on the roads, it would be highway robbery to demand more money from local people.

“The Government intends to increase fuel duty on 1 April by approximately 2.5 pence per litre. If this fuel windfall was diverted into pothole repairs then all of the UK’s potholes could be funded and filled in 100 days.”

AA car insurance warns that potholes are particularly dangerous at night, when they are difficult to spot and drivers do not know they are there until it is too late, and urges caution.

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