Watch the Road: Pothole Damage Season

Pothole dodging making its annual debut…

Spring, also referred to as pothole season, can be tough on vehicles. The fluctuating temperatures and freeze and thaw pattern from melting snow and ice seep into cracks in the pavement creating potholes of all sizes.

According to a study by AAA, pothole damage costs Americans about $3 billion annually. And the state and counties are not usually liable for any of that damage.

How to Avoid a Pothole

It is tough to completely eradicate potholes as road wear and tear is continuous but here are a few tips to keep yourself safe and avoid paying into the $3 billion statistic:

  • Be aware – Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you so you can spot a pothole before it’s too late.
  • Watch for slowing traffic – This is a clear indicator there is a road barrier. Especially drive with caution during rain or fog conditions as potholes are harder to see and judge the depth.
  • Maintain recommended tire pressure – Your tire is the buffer between the dip in pavement and your vehicle. Too firm or too soft tires can cause damage to the tire, rim and other elements.
  • If necessary, report serious pavement issues to your local authorities.

If road conditions are safe, it’s best to drive around a pothole if possible. If you cannot avoid hitting a pothole, slow down when driving over it to decrease your chance of damage.

Does Car Insurance Cover Pothole Damage?

Pothole damage should be covered by your collision policy, because you, “collided” with a pothole. It wouldn’t be covered if it only causes damage or wear and tear to your tire. Collision policies come with a deductible, however in many cases the damage done would not be enough to make a claim worthwhile. But, if your entire suspension needs to be replaced or you simply can’t afford repairs at this time, using your insurance may be a necessity. It’s best to get an estimate from a car repair shop on the estimated damage before making any decisions.

Depending on the damage caused – from heavy wear on ball joints and struts to suspension knocked out of alignment to flat tires – it can cost anywhere from $25 for a tire patch to $5,000 for a full suspension replacement.

If you do get damage to your vehicle from a pothole, take photos of everything – the scene, the pothole, your vehicle. There are occasions the city, county or state (depending on who has jurisdiction) may reimburse you for damages done by a pothole – contact the local department to see if you can apply for reimbursement.

The average cost for pothole repairs is $300. Don’t pay into the statistic – stay aware while driving and contact your Rural Mutual Insurance agent today to see what your pothole coverage is.