Is pothole damage covered by my auto insurance?

April 05, 2018

After a tough winter, we may be in for a bumpy pothole season this spring.

Vehicle driving by road pothole

What causes potholes to form?

Wear and tear on roads leads to small cracks in the pavement.  As ice and snow melt in the warmer spring temperatures, the water seeps into these cracks.  The water freezes and expands as temperatures drop below freezing at night, forcing the pavement to rise, bend, and crack.  This process repeats and eventually creates a cavity under the pavement.  As the pavement above the cavity becomes more brittle, the pavement cracks under the weight of traffic and forms a pothole in the road.

It’s best to avoid potholes if possible, but a driver may not see a pothole or have room to drive around.  Hitting a pothole with your vehicle can result in damage, most commonly to your tires, rims, suspension, and undercarriage.

Is pothole damage covered by my auto insurance policy?

Yes, according to the Insurance Information Institute, some damages caused by a pothole are covered if you have collision coverage.

Collision coverage is an optional coverage of your auto policy.  It pays the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle when it is damaged in a collision with another object, like a pothole, pole, or another vehicle.  Collision also covers your vehicle in the case of a rollover.  However, your auto insurance policy does not cover wear and tear to your vehicle that has occurred from sustained bad road conditions.  Additionally, road damage to your tires is specifically excluded and not covered on your auto policy.

Collision coverage carries a deductible, which you will have to pay before the insurer will pay your claim.  If the damage amounts to less than your deductible amount, it may not be practical to file a claim.

Your auto insurance policy also covers you if you hit another car or a pedestrian as a result of the pothole.  Your policy's liability insurance kicks in to cover damage to property of others and injuries to others from your vehicle.

Will the local jurisdiction pay for pothole damage?

Some cities, counties, and states are taking steps to help drivers with vehicle damage resulting from potholes through pothole trackers and damage reimbursement.  You can start by researching which jurisdiction is responsible for the road, and determine if there is a possibility of being reimbursed.

Whether you’re asking for reimbursement from your insurance company or your local government, remember to document the damage to your vehicle.  Take a photo of the pothole and the vehicle damage, and note the date, time, and location of the accident.  This documentation will be helpful when filing a claim.

For more details, call your local agent to discuss your auto insurance policy coverages.


This blog entry is created for informational purposes only.  Any viewpoint or sponsorship of outside parties involved in the blog entry does not necessarily represent Goodville's stance as a company.  The blog should not be used as a substitute for professional advice.