Does insurance cover pothole damage?

Yes, but only if you carry collision coverage. This coverage is optional, but it can cover you if you hit an obstacle such as a guard rail, telephone pole, or pothole. Although potholes typically cause only minor damage to a tire or wheel, hitting a pothole can mess up your vehicle's alignment or suspension. In general, it's only worth filing a claim for pothole damage if the repair costs are higher than your deductible.

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What kind of damage can driving over a pothole cause?

Driving over a pothole can cause damage to your tires and suspension, though the damage is usually minor. Signs of damage from a pothole include:

  • Tire blowout
  • Broken hubcap
  • Bent, chipped, or cracked wheel
  • Vehicle pulling to the left or right (from misaligned steering and suspension components)

What should you do if you hit a pothole?

Immediately after the incident, take photos of the pothole, the surrounding area, and your vehicle as documentation. Note the location of the pothole, as well as the time of day and the weather conditions. It's also smart to contact the nonemergency police line to report the incident and have a police report filled out. The more documentation you have, the better when filing a claim.

Is the city responsible for damage caused by potholes?

If the pothole is on a city street, the city may be responsible for your car damage, and you may be able to get reimbursed for the damage by the city. However, the reimbursement process can be lengthy, so if your vehicle isn't drivable, it may make more sense to file an insurance claim for the pothole damage or pay for the repairs out of pocket and then file for reimbursement from the city later.

County and state governments may also reimburse you for pothole damage if the pothole is on a road they manage. Bear in mind, the time and effort needed to get reimbursed generally makes it not worth pursuing for minor damage. Plus, not all jurisdictions provide compensation for drivers whose cars are damaged by potholes.

How do I report pothole damage?

If you're seeking reimbursement for pothole damage, you'll need to identify who maintains the road where the pothole is located. This may be your city, county, or state department of public works, transportation, or another department. Check the relevant department's website for information on the reimbursement process. It may be as simple as filling out a form, or you may have to call the department in question for more information.

Is hitting a pothole covered by comprehensive or collision coverage?

Comprehensive coverage doesn't cover pothole damage to your car. For this, you'll need collision coverage. If your vehicle is paid off and not a lease, collision coverage is optional, but it may be worth considering if you often find yourself dodging potholes. When you file a claim under your collision coverage, you'll just pay a deductible, and your insurance will cover the rest of the repair bill. Deductible amounts can range anywhere from $100 to $2,000 depending on your insurer.

Pro tip:

Your policy's declarations page and online account will tell you if you have collision coverage on your vehicle. Learn more about how to read an insurance policy.

Does car insurance cover alignment damage caused by a pothole?

Though the risk is low, a pothole can potentially cause severe damage to your car's alignment, suspension, or steering system. If you have collision coverage, this may be a time when it makes sense to file a claim.

If you suspect there's significant damage to your vehicle, have it inspected by a licensed mechanic. It's a good idea to get two or three estimates. Once you've received an estimate for repairs, you can determine whether it's worth filing a claim.

Does car insurance cover rim damage caused by a pothole?

In general, collision coverage will pay for rim damage, as well as damage to your tires, caused by a pothole. However, you may need separate coverage for custom rims, since not all insurers include them under collision coverage. Ask your insurer whether your current policy covers custom parts or if you need additional coverage.

How deep does a pothole have to be to file a claim?

Your insurance should cover pothole damage regardless of how deep the pothole was, assuming you have collision coverage and the repair costs exceed your deductible.

Is it always necessary to file a claim for pothole damage?

No, and in many instances, it doesn't make sense to file a claim. Since hitting a pothole is considered a single-vehicle accident, your insurer will usually deem you at fault for the incident unless there's evidence that another vehicle caused you to hit the pothole. Although your insurance provider will cover the damage if you have collision coverage, you may see an increase in your insurance rates at renewal time.

You also need to consider your deductible. Unless the pothole is deep or you hit it while traveling at a high rate of speed, the damage to your car should be minimal. The cost to repair it will likely be less than your deductible, so paying out of pocket may make the most financial sense.

How to add collision coverage to your auto policy

New Progressive customers

Quote car insurance online and add collision when you select your coverages.

Current Progressive customers

Log in to your policy or call 1-866-749-7436 to add collision coverage to your policy.

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