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‘National disgrace’ as pothole claims cost £1m a month

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Drivers and insurers are counting the cost of potholes as claims are reaching at least £1m a month, according to the AA.


In the first four months of the year, pothole claims have risen 171% and are estimated to have topped £4.2m in 2018 alone.

According to the AA, this is more than the entire number of claims in 2017.

Based on its data, it estimates that nationally, there will have been over 4,200 claims for pothole damage so far this year, with an average repair bill of around £1,000. It added that the number of call-outs it’s dealt with has also doubled.

As such, the AA has labelled the pothole epidemic as a “national disgrace”.

Here are some experiences from its customers:

“Hit pothole which blew tyre and lost control, hitting the barrier”

“My rear axle broke in half when I hit the pothole”

The pothole was hidden under a puddle. It wrecked my tyre, wheel and broke the steering”

“Pothole was so deep my car grounded and couldn’t drive out – I was stuck there”

“Pothole whipped the steering out of my hand so I hit a lamp post”

Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance, said: “In most cases the damage caused by a pothole – a ruined tyre or even two tyres and perhaps a wheel rim – doesn’t justify making an insurance claim given that it is likely to lead to the loss of your excess and no-claim bonus. So the claims we are seeing are clearly much worse than that.

“Drivers are hitting potholes and ruining their suspension, steering, the underbody of the car, breaking axles and occasionally being knocked off course and hitting other vehicles, kerbs or a lamp-posts.

“This year we are seeing a growing number of pothole claims described as: ‘car severely damaged and un-driveable’ which didn’t happen at all last year.

“The pothole epidemic has become nothing short of a national disgrace.”

Connor added that a £100m fund for road repairs, announced by the Secretary of State for Transport in March, is nowhere near enough and local budgets are already being squeezed.

“Competing priorities mean they don’t have the resources to keep their roads up to scratch – hence the £9bn that is estimated to be needed as a one-off investment to restore Britain’s roads.

“Our nation’s highways have become a national embarrassment,” she said.

If your car’s been damaged as a result of a pothole, see YourMoney’s Pothole guide on how to make a claim.

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