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It seems that every county in the UK is vying for the claim that they have the most potholes.  While I can’t declare a winner, I can confirm that hitting a pothole while driving is a modern hazard that has increased greatly in the last few years.

Even if you are travelling at a relatively low speed, hitting a pothole can damage your tyres, wheels and steering alignment. At high speed you risk a lot more damage and possibly losing control of the vehicle resulting in a crash. 

Whilst the cost of repairs may not be enough to warrant an insurance claim, you may well be able to claim the costs back from a relevant authority. 

Here are the steps you should take if you are unlucky enough to hit a pothole:

Check the damage

Pull over as soon as it is safe to do so to look for obvious damage to your wheels and tyres.  Other damage may not be apparent immediately so be wary of any unusual vibrations or the car pulling to one side.  If this happens get the car checked out as soon as possible as tracking or steering damage can prove very costly.

Keep a record

If it is safe to do so, take a photograph of the pothole.  If not, make a sketch.  A photo with something to show the scale of the hole, such as a drink can, will be especially useful.  Make a note of the exact location including the name of the street and the position in the road.

Report the pothole

Whether you intend making a claim yourself or not you should report the pothole to the local county council, borough council or city.  This will alert the authority and hopefully they will make the necessary repairs, preventing further incidents which may be more serious.  Motorways and A roads in England are the responsibility of Highways England and Traffic Wales in the principality.

Get any repairs done

Have any necessary repairs carried out and make sure you keep copies of all associated quotes, invoices and receipts. 

Make a claim

Write to the relevant authority with details of the incident and all the material you have collected such as invoices and photographs.  They may have a defence if they were not aware of the pothole.

Make an appeal

If you make a claim and you feel it has been unfairly rejected you can request sight of the council’s road inspection reports and make an appeal if you feel it is warranted. 

You can find a much more detailed explanation of how to make a claim for pothole damage at the excellent Money Saving Expert website here:https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/pothole-claims

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