Drivers warned of car insurance price hikes if they approach councils for pothole damage compensation

Drivers warned of car insurance price hikes if they approach councils for pothole damage compensation

WATCH: Pothole crisis discussion

Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 04/04/2024

- 11:52

Councils spend an average of £169 on pothole repairs

Drivers have been warned if they have a pothole-related accident they should always contact their local council for compensation first as making an insurance claim could result in higher premium the following year.

Last year, almost one million potholes were reported by drivers, but drivers are still struggling with compensation payouts.

Potholes are a local authority issue but due to funding cuts in councils, the number of repairs on UK roads has dropped significantly.

Despite the funding from the failed HS2 project going into maintaining roads, this only accounted for three per cent of all council-managed roads, covering around 5,000 miles.

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PotholesMore than 630,000 pothole-related incidents were dealt with by the AA last year GETTY

It is estimated that 107,000 miles of roads are fast reaching the end of their lives, with urgent care needed before it’s too late as more potholes appear.

According to research, the number of potholes has risen by 24 per cent since 2020, but council payouts to drivers are down 13 per cent.

Roughly more than 4.4 million claims were made by drivers for pothole damage last year to their local authorities.

But despite claims going up, it appears that payouts seem to be slowing down. Data found that councils paid out around £3.3million last year for pothole damages compared to £3.8million in 2020.

Motor expert, Louise Thomas at, said: “There’s no denying that the UK has a pothole problem, and the Government has dedicated more funding as a result.

“But for some drivers this isn’t enough. Especially if they live in high risk areas, where wet and colder weather means problems are more likely to arise.”

Looking at the number of potholes by region, the South East of England had the most last year at 194,675 while South West England had 173,183.

Scotland came in third with 123,311 potholes, while the region with the fewest potholes was the East Midlands with just 69,011.

To repair pothole damages, drivers said they had to pay out £169 on average, with less than one in five motorists trying to reclaim the costs from their local council.

Thomas warned that if drivers spot a pothole while on the road, it’s important to report it to the local council straight away.

Even if it didn’t cause damage to the vehicle, reporting the pothole could prevent other motorists from facing a problem later on.

When making a claim, drivers should make sure to take pictures or videos for evidence and be as detailed as they can.


Car near a potholeLocal authorities saw a 66 per cent increase in pothole-related vehicle damage claims in 2023 PA

Thomas added: “If the local council won’t compensate for damages, you could also make a claim through your car insurance.

"But be wary that this could result in a higher premium the following year, so always try the council first.”

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