Pothole claims increased by 40 last year
The number of pothole-related claims jumped by 40% annually last year, according to an insurer’s data.
Admiral recorded 1,324 claims across 2023, up by around 40% compared with the 946 claims seen in 2022.
The average cost of pothole-related damage also increased by 29% in 2023 compared with 2022, according to Admiral’s data.
The insurer said the cost increase is likely to be linked to higher-tech vehicles and a general increase in the price of repairs.
The typical cost of a claim last year was £3,070, up from £2,378 in 2022.
The insurer said a particularly high number of claims can take place between January and March.
It added that, with heavy rain and storms having recently hit parts of the UK, there is the risk of new potholes developing during the new year, particularly if temperatures fall.
Potholes form when water seeps into small cracks in road surfaces and then freezes and expands in cold weather.
Driving over a deep pothole can cause damage to a vehicle’s tyres, alloy wheels, steering alignment and suspension.
Pothole-related claims last year were also around 25% higher than in 2018, when the Beast from the East brought wintry weather conditions, Admiral said.
Adam Gavin, head of claims at Admiral, said: “January 15 marks National Pothole Day and anyone who drives will be familiar with that sudden ‘clunk’ from roads that are plagued with potholes. Potholes are more than just an inconvenience, they can also cause costly damage to your vehicle.
“January, February and March are the worst time of year for pothole claims, with more than a third of claims we receive made over this period, as road surfaces become unsettled by freezing temperatures and thaws.
“Pothole pockets can quickly open up, especially if the weather has been bad, which means they might not have been there the last time you took that route. Keep a sharp eye and slow down – swerving can be more dangerous.
“If you think you’ve hit a humdinger, get out and check for damage at the safest opportunity. Take photos of the pothole and the damage to your car and consider taking your vehicle to a mechanic to check for damage.
“If you have comprehensive cover, claiming for pothole damage through your insurer should be a straightforward process, but it can affect your no claims bonus and you may need to pay an excess. However, if your car gets damaged on a British road from a pothole, unless you have comprehensive cover, you might not be able to claim on your insurance.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said an extra £8.3 billion is being invested to resurface roads.
“This is enough to resurface more than 5,000 miles of roads and is on top of the more than £5.5 billion that we have already invested in highway maintenance.”
RAC head of policy Simon Williams said the size of the problem could become significantly bigger due to the wet weather followed by a cold snap.
He said: “Dangerous potholes need to be fixed as quickly as possible, but we badly need to see a step change in road maintenance so the roads in the worst condition are resurfaced, while others in better condition are surface dressed – this extends their lives by preventing water ingress and the subsequent damage caused from freezing.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub