Potholes are costing drivers and their insurers at least £1 million per month due to massive car repair bills, according to the AA.
Based on the AA’s share of the car insurance market, the broker estimates that there have been more than 4,200 claims for pothole damage so far this year in the UK. With an estimated average repair bill of around £1,000, that comes to £4.2 million, or more than £1 million per month.
The AA said it has seen almost three times more pothole-related car insurance claims so far this year than it did over the same period in 2017, and the number of pothole claims made to the AA during the first four months of 2018 is more than for the whole of 2017.
On top of that, the number of breakdown call-outs for AA patrols to provide assistance following pothole damage has doubled.
Janet Connor, director of AA Insurance, commented: “In most cases the damage caused by a pothole, such as a ruined tyre or two and perhaps a wheel rim, doesn’t justify making an insurance claim, due to the policy excess and the potential loss of your no claims discount. So the claims we are seeing are clearly much worse than that.”
“Drivers are hitting potholes and ruining their suspension, steering, the underbody of the car or axles, and are occasionally being knocked off course and hitting other vehicles, kerbs or a lamp posts.”
“This year we’re seeing a growing number of pothole claims described as ‘car severely damaged and undriveable’, which didn’t happen at all last year.”
“The pothole epidemic has become nothing short of a national disgrace.”
To highlight the need to invest in reversing the deterioration of the UK’s roads, the AA has launched the #FlagitFunditFillit campaign.
Connor said: “Potholes can appear almost overnight and it’s really important to ‘flag it’ to the highway authority responsible so that they’re aware it exists. Councils have a statutory defence against paying out compensation for damaged cars if they’re not aware of a pothole. I would call on drivers to safely photograph the potholes they encounter and send them to the responsible highway authority and the Department for Transport by social media, to show them the extent of the pothole problem.”
“We’re also calling on the government to ‘fund it’ by ring-fencing 2p per litre of current fuel duty to create a £1 billion pothole fund, specifically for local councils so they can get on top of their pothole problem.”
“With that funding, councils can then ‘fill it’ and make their local roads safe for all road users, whether on four wheels, two, or on foot. That way compensation payments, which could otherwise be used to keep roads in good repair, should dramatically fall.”