Car insurance claims up for pothole related mishaps

Written by Editorial Team
05 February 2010 / by Rachael Stiles

The number of car insurance claims being made resulting from a run in with a pothole in the road has increased sharply compared to the same time last year, AA car insurance has revealed.

More potholes have appeared in Britain’s roads following the coldest spell of weather the country has seen for 30 years, and the AA is urging the Government to provide additional funding for repairs to “stem the pothole epidemic.”

Whilst AA car insurance claims for pothole damage are four times higher than in the same period in 2009, the insurer speculates that there are even more accidents being caused by potholes than they are aware of, which are not claimed for because drivers cannot always justify the cost of making a car insurance claim when it might be cheaper to pay for repairs themselves.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, explained: “We’re seeing a four-fold increase in the number of claims for pothole damage compared with the same period last year. But with loss of no-claim bonus and insurance excess, it takes serious damage from a pothole ‘strike’ – or the consequences of one – to justify making a claim.”

Potholes caused compensation claims and extra staff costs to the tune of £47million last year, the AA has found, and it fears that 2010 will see even higher costs if something is not done to repair the UK’s roads.

Highway authorities could be liable for covering the costs of damage caused if it was aware of the problem beforehand, so the AA urges the public to inform them about such hazards.

While it would require a “quarry-like pothole” to cause sufficient damage to justify a car insurance claim, with common damage often confined to typres, wheels, steering and suspension, Mr Douglas said that there are still some “A-list holes out there”.

More commonly, AA car insurance customers have made a claim after trying to avoid a pothole and hitting something else, such as a kerb, or as a result of losing control of their vehicle after driving over a pothole and hitting another object or vehicle.

One AA car insurance customer had to make a claim for £3,600 after trying to avoid a pothole on an icy road but catching it with the back tyre, forcing the driver into the path of an oncoming van.

For those unlucky motorists who do come into contact with potholes, Mr Douglas recommends that if the steering feels like it has been affected or they notice a bulge in the tyres, to get them checked out immediately.

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