That ugly nemesis that winter leaves behind for drivers: POTHOLES. Are you covered? Is it worth a claim? How do you know? We’ve got some answers.
For a large part of the nation it is that time of year when winter freezing and thawing has wreaked havoc on our roadways leaving behind potholes for drivers to avoid. Potholes are not only sometimes hard to see before it is too late, but can also cause extensive damage to vehicles. Blown-out tires, bent wheels, alignment issues, body damage, under carriage damage, and even major collisions have all been attributed to potholes. A regular question we receive is whether or not insurance covers pothole damage?
The answer is yes, as long as you have collision insurance and pothole/object damage has not been specifically excluded from your policy. It is important to always understand the specifics of your coverage, so be sure to check with your insurance agent on your policy's specific details. Approximately one quarter of all insured drivers do not carry collision insurance. For those drivers, all repairs would be out-of-pocket regardless of the cost. For the majority that do carry collision, the damage amount should be looked at in comparison to their deductible to see if a claim makes financial sense. Remember, claims also have potential impact on your future premiums so be sure to take that in to account as well.
Collision insurance carries with it a deductible, typically anywhere from $250- $1000. Depending on the size of your deductible, it may be cheaper to make the repairs yourself and save the claim. On average, the cost of repairs for pothole damage range from $100-$700. However, some major damage claims have been attributed to potholes and can far exceed the cost of your deductible.
Some local municipalities have a claim process for pothole damage that may cover your out-of-pocket expenses. Check with your local officials to see if there are any such claim options and explore those options as a way to recover some or all of your costs. If you do hit a pothole, be sure to check for damage right away to your vehicle. If you are unsure, be sure to see a mechanic that can thoroughly evaluate your vehicle for damage.
Be sure to check with your insurance agent to see if you are covered or to increase your coverage to make sure that you do not end up with a huge repair bill that you cannot afford in the event of significant damage.
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