Motorists in Britain have been awarded nearly £13 million for damage to their vehicles caused by potholes over the past four years, according to a new study.
Municipalities and road authorities pay through the nose to cover the garage bills of drivers who have damaged vehicles on craters on roads.
Of the 145,000 compensation claims filed between January 2018 and October 2021, only a quarter have been reimbursed for repair costs.
Gone: These are the 10 authorities and municipalities that have paid motorists the most for damage to vehicles from potholes
The new numbers were discovered in an exclusive study by WhatCar?.
It found that 37,366 motorists had successful pothole claims in the past four years, representing a 25.7 percent success rate.
The total amount paid out across all councils and operators amassed a whopping £12,991,216.81 – which equates to approximately £347 per successful claim.
According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s latest ALARM report on the condition of roads in England and Wales, the average cost to fill a pothole is £47.42 – although it also says the total bill for the poorly polished roads of the land to repair now exceeds £12.6 billion and will take nine years to recover.
Of all the authorities paying out the largest sums, Highways England – now renamed National Highways – has the largest compensation.
The Rijksdienst manages the Strategic Road Network and is therefore responsible for every pothole on the 4,300 mile network of motorways, dual carriageways and other A-roads.
Over the four-year period under review, Highways England paid out a whopping £865,254.75 in pothole damage claims.
From the research of What Car? revealed the top 20 municipalities and authorities that paid the most compensation between January 2018 and October 2021
Lincolnshire County Council received the highest number of damage claims in the last four years, with 8,810 claims, of which 4,313 were successful, and £764,588.00 paid out in compensation – which amounts to £177 per claim
Of the 344 local councils and road authorities that responded to What Car?’s request for information, 161 said they could not provide figures because road compensation often fell under the jurisdiction of counties and city councils, rather than boroughs or districts. to guess.
Five county and local councils were found to have paid more than half a million in compensation between 2018 and October 2021, including Lincolnshire County Council, Surrey County Council, Lancashire County Council, Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
The latter is one of the councils that has invested in a specialist pothole repair machine in an effort to improve the road surface and reduce the half a million pounds it has paid out to drivers over the past four years. year.
This is Money recently had exclusive access to the council’s JCB PotholePro and found it to be six times faster than a traditional road gang.
This is the JCB Pothole Pro. It costs £165,000 and can restore a crater in 8 minutes
Lincolnshire County Council received the highest number of damage claims in the last four years, with 8,810 claims, of which 4,313 were successful, and £764,588.00 paid out in compensation – which amounts to £177 per claim.
Wiltshire Council was found to have paid the bulk of the compensation claims, with 86.6 per cent of the 1,594 claims paid, totaling £302,911.10 over four years.
Slough Borough Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils were the second and third highest, paying 64.9 percent and 62.4 percent of all claims respectively. In total, 11 municipalities across the UK have paid more than half of all claims.
As part of the investigation, Which car? also surveyed 470 drivers, 23.6 percent of whom said they had damaged their vehicle by hitting a pothole in the past 18 months.
Two-thirds of respondents were aware that they could claim damages caused to their local road authority, although only 10.2 percent had ever done so.
Which car? editor Steve Huntingford said: ‘The poor condition of Britain’s roads is nothing new, but it has recently attracted more attention with everything from celebrities filling potholes on local roads to the latest ALARM report detailing the massive cost and resources are emphasized that are necessary to keep our network up to scratch.
“Our research has shown the number of claims motorists have made across the country for damage caused by poor road conditions and the significant costs local authorities have to bear to compensate motorists.
“This is in addition to planned expenses for road maintenance and repair.”
Has your car suffered pothole damage? Here’s how to get a refund
If your car has suffered damage as a result of driving through a pothole, here’s our five-step guide to getting compensation
1. Gather the Evidence
Record where the pothole is, the time and date you drove through it, and take a picture of the damage to your vehicle. If you did not do this at the time of the incident, you can return to the crime scene to take pictures.
If possible, take your car to a garage and ask for a written report from a mechanic for the expected cost to fix the problem — or if your engine isn’t drivable, call a reputable repair center and get a quote.
2. Find out who is to blame
In order to be able to claim compensation, you must first know who has to pay. If the pothole is on a highway or main road, there is a good chance that there is a state highway problem. For local roads, you should research which municipality is responsible.
Once you have identified the party to contact, request a copy of the highway maintenance schedules and the number of reported incidents on the specific road over the past 14 days as proof that the road has not been properly maintained or that there is a reported pothole. it has been addressed.
3. Make the claim
You will need to make a formal claim and most responsible parties will have a template that you can request.
4. What to do if you do or do not receive compensation?
After you submit the claim, you should be notified if compensation will be awarded. Although you can still reject the value of the offer if you think it is not enough, especially if you have evidence that the pothole has already been reported but the responsible party has not acted to fix it.
If the municipality refuses compensation, you can obtain legal advice or take a case to court. A word of caution though that this can be a time consuming process and probably only worth it if the repair bill is significant.
5. Last option: claim via your insurance
If you have extensive coverage, you can claim pothole damage on your insurance. However, it is worth considering the cost of the damages, your deductibles and whether this action will affect your No Claims Bonus.