Damage to wheels and steering, crashes as drivers swerve

The number of insurance claims for pothole-related damage to cars has risen fourfold, AA Insurance claims.

"We're seeing a four-fold increase in the number of claims for pothole damage compared with the same period last year," says Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance.

“But with loss of no-claim bonus and insurance excess, it takes serious damage from a pothole 'strike' - or the consequences of one - to justify making a claim. So although many pothole incidents cause damage, the cost of repair doesn't justify a claim."

Extra cash demanded

The AA has called on the Government to provide extra cash for highway authorities to stem the pothole epidemic.

Last year, £47m was lost in compensation claims and extra staff costs in dealing with pot holes and the AA fears that unless the necessary investment is made available, the cost of claims will be much higher this year.

It says that if the a highway authority has been notified of a defect it may be liable for damage caused so it is important to tell them about such hazards.

"The pothole season is with us early this year and is a third worse than last year," Douglas points out.

Damage to steering

"It would take a quarry-like pothole to cause the sort of damage that would justify an insurance claim, but there are certainly some ‘A-list' holes out there.

“But more commonly, our customers have either tried to avoid a pothole and hit something else, such as a kerb, or hitting a hole has caused them to momentarily lose control and hit another vehicle or object."

Pothole damage to cars is usually confined to tyres and wheels, steering and suspension.

The AA has started a national AA Pothole Watch and is inviting drivers to report potholes at www.theAA.com.