Pothole insurance claims set to rise as maintenance budgets cut

Potholes on Britain’s roads are set to wreak havoc on cars and lead to a rise in insurance claims, according to AA Insurance.

In the first three months of 2010, the AA estimated that the total cost to the private car insurance industry for pothole damage was more than £10.5m.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said: “Our claims staff are bracing themselves for a steep rise in reports of cars damaged by potholes.

“Last winter there were three times as many claims between January and March compared with the same period in 2009.

“We expect the pothole problem to be significantly worse this year because of three successive bad winters and the growing backlog of road renewal.”

The average insurance claim for pothole damage to cars is just over £1,300.

The most costly AA claim last year topped £14,000, where the driver lost control and crashed after hitting a pothole.

“We are expecting a big surge in claims once again for damage to wheels, suspension and bodywork such as wings and sills,” added Douglas.

“Cuts in road maintenance budgets of 20% mean that local authorities face very difficult choices on the roads they prioritise for repair. Whilst they may fix the dangerous potholes many are likely to go unrepaired.”

He adds that it may be possible to claim for damage from the highway authority if a known pothole remains unrepaired.