Pothole Damages: How To Report A Pothole And Claim For The Damage

Potholes have become one of the prevalent issues in the UK, causing inconvenience and potential damage to vehicles. As responsible citizens, we need to report potholes to ensure their timely repairs. In this blog, we will have an overview of pothole problems, the importance of reporting potholes and how to report and claim damages caused.

What are Potholes?

Potholes are depressions or holes on the road’s surface varying in size, ranging from small divots to deep craters, presenting a notable risk. With countless potholes reported, these are one of the most common and frustrating public issues noticed in the United Kingdom, during colder months (winters). They can be seen on highways or streets. They can occur on any road type but are mainly found on asphalt surfaces.


How are potholes formed?

Potholes are formed due to 3 main elements: cracks on the surface of the road, traffic, and water. Initially, small cracks are formed on the surface. These cracks then expand as vehicles move over them. Later, water drains into the expanded cracks further widening them. Potholes can expand from one to even 10 metres if not addressed immediately. The formation of potholes can be further explained in 5 simple steps.

Checkout the 5 phases of pothole formations
Phase - 1: Cracking

Cracks on the road’s surface can arise due to incomplete road structure. Cracks form due to the repeated burden of vehicular load on the road. This is also called alligator cracking where the surface begins to crack into irregular blocks.

Factors that cause alligator cracks include:

Phase - 2: Water formation

Once the cracks develop, water seeps into the layers, drenching the subbase and base layers, thereby making the soil underneath the road softer.

Phase - 3: Excess weight on the cracks

The weight of the vehicles that pass over the cracks causes the asphalt to disintegrate further. This, in turn, widens and deepens the surface level cracks.

Phase - 4: Expands the opening

As more water enters the layers, potholes expand faster. In cold weather, water freezes at the base and further expands the opening. This causes the surface of the road to implode, creating much larger and more dangerous potholes.

Phase - 5: Cyclic process

As temperatures rise, the ice melts at the base, causing a cyclic process of expanding the potholes even further. Moving traffic adds to the effects by speeding up the process.

What Damages Can Be Caused By Potholes To Your Car?

The damage caused to vehicles by hitting potholes depends on the size of the pothole and the speed of the vehicle. Tyres, wheels, steering, and suspension are mainly affected. Now, do you know how to check if your vehicle is in working condition?

Sign of Damage Damaged Car Parts Explanation
Loss of Grip Tyre Hitting a pothole can induce puncture (loss of air pressure), and the loss of grip makes it hard to drive. So, it is advised to check the tyre grip immediately after impact.
Cracks or bents Wheels Loss of air pressure from the tyre can arise if the wheels aren’t fixed immediately.
Loose steering Steering If you feel that the car steering is loose after impact, it indicates that your steering system is in trouble and requires immediate attention and repair.
Sounds or vibrations Suspension If you hear any unusual sounds or vibrations from a car, it is advised to take the car for repair, as it can risk losing control and crashing. Damaged suspension can cause snapped ball joints and damaged struts or shocks.

What To Do If I Hit A Pothole?

Research reveals that there is a 1 in 7 chance of experiencing potholes. Even if you hit one accidentally at a low speed, it does cause some damage to the vehicle, which requires fixing. Follow these simple steps if you hit a pothole with your vehicle:

1. Check for the damages:

It is never a matter of speed. Whether you are driving at a slow speed or high speed, hitting a pothole can cause damage to your vehicle. As mentioned earlier, if you feel something is wrong with the steering, or if you experience any vibrations or unusual sounds, then take your car to a nearby garage and fix it.

Point to be noted: not taking immediate action can cost you more and can even cause severe problems.

2. Take down notes:

After hitting a pothole and checking for the damages, the second main step is to take down notes. If you want to claim damages on your insurance or from the council, taking notes is mandatory. Here are a few points that need to be added to your notes:

3. Get your vehicle fixed:

As mentioned in the first point, fixing your car as soon as possible can save money. If you are planning to give your car for repair, then collect as many quotes as you can to get the best deal possible.

4. Report the pothole:

Here comes the main step, pothole reporting should be done immediately to the council to help in fixing the issue, and it will be safe for other road users to drive. Also, mention on record that you have encountered it already.

5. Make your claim:

As it is their responsibility to check on the roads, you can claim compensation from the council. While claiming, do not forget about your notes. Include all the details of the pothole, including photos, pothole location, invoices, quotes, and receipts.

6. Make your appeal:

If your claim is rejected, don’t worry. You can always go for an appeal. And if your car repair costs more than you expected, then it is advised to talk with an insurance company or take legal advice.

How to Report Potholes?

Hitting a pothole can cause severe problems to the tyres, wheels, and steering alignments of a car. Reporting potholes has more implications than a complaint or a grievance. First and foremost, it helps local authorities recognise the areas that need immediate attention and repair.

By reporting, you can contribute to the safety of all road users. Moreover, by reporting potholes anyone who has experienced damage to their vehicle can seek compensation through relevant channels. The best and effortless way to report a pothole in the UK is by visiting the official website of the Government. Simply enter the pin code, and you are good to go. Many potholes have been reported and fixed within a week from the day of reporting.

How to Claim Pothole Damage?

Claiming your compensation for the pothole damages is now effortless. According to the UK authority, the compensation depends on reporting potholes to the government. If the authority is aware of the pothole and after proper inspection and fixation, you can claim your pothole damages.

Contact the responsible organisation or council responsible for the road and explain your issue.

You can look at the related local council here and claim your compensation for the damages caused to the vehicle by the pothole. But here are a few details to give an outline of the incident.

Advice to drivers when encountering potholes

Here’s some advice for all drivers when encountering potholes


1. How to report potholes?

Answer: Here is the step-by-step process to report a pothole

2. How to claim pothole damage?


If your vehicle has repairs due to the potholes, then claim your compensation from the responsible organisation or local authority. Here are the things you need to claim damages:

3. How to claim for pothole damage to tyres?

Answer: Before making a claim, it is important to check for visible signs like any cuts, tears, or bulges on the tyre. Take photos as evidence.

You can visit the official website of the local council to file claims. Ensure that you attach all the required documents, including photos and location of the pothole, the mechanic’s declaration, quotes from garages, and the invoices for the expenses that you incurred.

4. Who is responsible for potholes?

Answer: It is the local authority's responsibility to repair potholes and maintain roads. If you find that the roads are not well maintained or if you hit a pothole, the council is liable to compensate you for all repairs.

5. How many potholes are there in the UK?

Answer: According to the council reports, from 2018 to 2022, almost 1.5 million potholes on the roads were reported.

In conclusion, understanding the importance of reporting potholes is necessary for maintaining safe roads across the United Kingdom. By actively engaging in the process, you not only contribute to your well-being but also carry out civic responsibility. So, let us play our part in ensuring smoother and safer journeys for all.

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