Car insurance: Pothole calamities could be covered

03 May 2010 / by Rachael Stiles

Drivers might be missing out on recovering the expense of damage to their cars caused by potholes from their car insurance policies, says research company Defaqto.

Car insurance cover varies from one provider to another, but customers should check with their providers if their cars have been damaged – there has been a rise in incidents relating to potholes since an unusually high snow-fall created countless more on the UK’s roads.

So much so, that the car insurance industry is paying out an estimated £2.85million a month for claims resulting from potholes, so drivers should see if they are covered before footing the bill themselves, says Defaqto.

All comprehensive car insurance policies include accidental damage cover, and potholes could legitimately fall into this category, Defaqto explained.

But, drivers should be wary of making a claim before reading the small print, because some providers will enforce certain exclusions and excesses, such as damage to tyres from braking, punctures, cuts or bursts, and, depending on the policy, the excess could be more expensive than the cost of repairs.

If the damage is caused by repetitively hitting potholes over a period of time, insurers can refuse payment on the grounds that it is ‘wear and tear’, and, because the providers would probably not be able to reclaim their costs from a third party, customers are likely to lose some of their no claims discount.

Mike Powell, insight analyst at Defaqto, said: “Local authorities are still struggling to fill the vast amount of potholes that have been created from the severe winter so the problems for motorists are far from over. Consumers should check their policy features and exclusions as they may be able to recover some costs of repair.”

Mr Powell added: “Many motorists don’t examine the policy features carefully when they take out their motor insurance.”

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Written by Editorial Team