Motorists warned of a huge increase in damage from potholes and vehicle damage

Today, January 15, marks National Pothole Day, with new data showing pothole damage has increased by a third (34 percent) since 2016. Admiral warns December’s freezing slump could cause even more cracks to open in Britain’s roads, echoing the fall of ‘Beast from the East’ in 2018, when falling temperatures caused pothole claims to plummet by 102 per cent increased.

A pothole is formed when water enters existing small cracks in the road surface and then freezes and expands in cold weather.

The frozen water then evaporates in warmer weather, causing gaps in the surface that are broken up by passing traffic.

Six years of damage data from Admiral shows that more than a third of pothole-related claims occur between January and March – more than at any other time of the year.

Driving over a deep pothole, even at low speed, can cause damage to a vehicle’s tires, alloy wheels, steering alignment, wheel track and balance, and suspension.

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Severely damaged steering can also make it difficult for the driver to control the vehicle, which could increase the risk of an accident.

The average cost of pothole damage is also up 16 percent, according to Admiral’s data, likely due to high-tech vehicles and an overall increase in repair costs.

Lorna Connelly, Head of Claims at Admiral, said: “January 15th is National Pothole Day and anyone who drives will be familiar with that sudden ‘pop’ of potholed roads. But potholes are more than just an inconvenience, they can also cause costly damage to your vehicle.

“In fact, pothole-related claims are 43 percent higher than average during these months as colder temperatures make road surfaces unsteady.

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“If you have comprehensive insurance, making a pothole claim with your insurer should be a straightforward process, but it can affect your no-claims bonus and you may have to pay a deductible.

“However, if your car is damaged by a pothole on a UK road, you may not be able to claim your insurance unless you have full coverage.”

While there is no guarantee motorists will be able to claim money back if their car is damaged on a UK road, drivers can still claim compensation.

They should note the location of the pothole, the time and date they hit it and take a picture if safe to do so, and take the car to the shop for the damage to be assessed. The mechanic’s report should be in writing.

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The next step is to find out who is maintaining the road; Local roads, B roads and some smaller A roads are maintained by local government in England, Wales and Scotland.

Requesting (within 14 days of the accident) copies of road maintenance schedules and incident reports can provide evidence that either the highway was not properly maintained or that a reported pothole problem was not resolved.

Whoever is in charge of the road should have a formal template to fill out if an offer should be made to the driver.

Nearly £9million was paid by local authorities in compensation for potholes in the last year alone.

It is estimated that it would cost just over £75m per municipality to address the pavement repair backlog – totaling £12.6bn. Given the sheer number of potholes, it is forecast that it will take nine years to clear the pavement repair backlog.

JCB is also joining the pothole action with its PotholePro, which has repaired more than 23,000 miles of roads. The impressive machine has also received orders from Australia.

Nearby Coventry City Council have filled five times as many potholes in the last 12 months thanks to JCB’s quick but durable repairs.

The machine can permanently repair a pothole in eight minutes and costs just £30. In comparison, the traditional repair method can cost up to £60 per pothole.