​Hit a Pothole? Is it Covered?

Pothole Insurance Coverage

Did You Hit a Pothole? We Have The Answers.

You're driving your car on a beautiful fall weekend. You're with your children, you're about to head over to your in-laws, and then it happens. You're sidetracked while looking at the scenery around you. All of a sudden you hear and feel your car hiccup - it was a pothole.

What is a Pothole, Precisely?

This road hazard is defined as anything present in or on the surface of the road that may be a potential danger to the driver or may otherwise cause an auto accident. A pothole is a common road hazard, especially in spring, as they usually form by the melting snow and ice that seep into cracks in the road surface.

However, a pothole can occur in any climate or weather conditions. After the water enters the cracks, dropping temperatures refreezes the water causing it to expand. This forces the road or the pavement to buckle and create potholes.

Potential Damages by a Pothole:

A pothole may have many sudden impacts on a car. Driving over one unexpectedly may result in one or more of the following damages:

  • The car's steering system alignment may get messed up.
  • Wreck struts and shocks.
  • Cause damage to the engine or the exhaust system.
  • Puncture a tire.
  • May bend the wheel rims.

Insurance Coverage Details:

An auto insurance policy would only cover damages to the vehicle served by potholes if it has the optional collision insurance coverage as part of the standard car insurance policy. Also, the total damage has to be over the collision deductible amount. This coverage takes care of damage from collision with another car or object on the road, such as a pothole or a deer.

However, this does not cover general wear and tear to the car or its tires owing to the bad road conditions. That damage to the vehicle would separately be managed under the liability coverage. A driver hitting another vehicle or a pedestrian, because of a pothole will also be covered by liability insurance. Liability coverage is applicable to injuries that the driver, the policyholder or a designated driver may cause to others while driving the insured car.

Points Worth Knowing:

  • There are basically 2 options to claim from – comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. While the comprehensive claim does not typically raise the premium rates, collision claims can. Also, either type of claim may get result in surcharges levied by the insurer for several claims accumulated within a short period of time.
  • Collision coverage generally comes with a deductible amount – higher deductible signifies lower premium. The collision coverage takes care of the costs of repairing the car from damages incurred by a collision, minus the deductible.
  • If the physical damage to the car is relatively minor and the relevant cost of repairs manageable, the wise option would be to pay for the repairs of one’s own pocket rather than file a claim. Because that could boost the policy premiums.
  • Apart from the insurance industry, coverage from a road hazard may be obtained while purchasing new tires. It is not any part of an auto insurance policy. But it is a warranty provided by an outside company to repair or replace the tires if those are damaged by certain objects in or on the road.

Prevention and Necessary Caution:

The best way to prevent the damages and avoid the expenses caused by a pothole-related accident is to steer clear of the hazard whenever possible. Strategically sticking to well-known roads and driving a little slower so that the potholes become visible before getting impacted by them are some useful tactics.

However, if and when a car hits a pothole, the policy owner should carefully inspect the tires and wheels for signs of possible damage. Also, he should note how the car behaves afterward. If it starts to pull in one or the other way, or the steering seems little wobbly – it is always recommended to have a mechanic take a look at the damaged car to accurately determine the extent of damage.

Every situation is different, that's why a trusted agent is here to help. If you have any questions, reach out to your local representative.