Will Your City Pay Your Pothole Claim?

Driving on roads covered with potholes is never fun.  These pesky pits can cause extreme damage to your vehicle and also make for an uncomfortable ride.  Cities in the northeast and midwest are especially susceptible to potholes because of their intense weather.  You may not know it, but potholes actually form when moisture gets into the pavement and then freezes and expands, causing the pavement to crack.  Because of this, if you drive around cities like New York or Boston, you won’t be in for a smooth ride.

Cities That Pay Pothole Claims

For some lucky citizens, their city or state government might actually cover damage from potholes.   Common claims from pothole damage include blown tires, flat tires, bent rims, lost hubcaps, and alignment issues.  If you experience damage caused by a pothole, you can submit a damage claim to the government agency responsible for fixing transportation issues in your area.  The bad news, however, is that many of these claims go ignored.pothole claims

In Chicago, for example, 1,100 claims were recently submitted to repair damage from potholes.  This number is not only a record high, but it is actually increasing.  Luckily for residents of the Windy City, the city is allowed to process claims for up to $2,000 in damage.  For residents to submit these claims, they need to send in a complete police accident report and either a paid bill, or two estimates from repair shops.  The payments from the city can take up to six months to process and are not always for the full amount.  The city thinks that they are not 100% responsible for the damage. After all, it wasn’t the city’s fault that you drove into a pothole.  Nevertheless, Chicagoans can still expect to be compensated for around 50% of the damage.

In the state of Virginia, there are many factors that come into play when getting your claim payed for by the local government.  These include, but are not limited to:  was the pothole previously reported; was the transportation agency aware that it needed to be filled; did the repair crew have enough time to repair it?  The commonwealth of Virginia’s department of transportation (VDOT), is responsible for repairing potholes on 58,000 miles of public road in the state.  To file a claim, you can apply for reimbursement online through VDOT, and you will get paid as long as you can prove the state is at fault.  Unfortunately, this process can take months of waiting and delays.

Getting The Government To Pay Your Claim Isn’t Easy!

Other municipalities aren’t so accommodating.  Colorado Springs will refuse to pay your claim if it hasn’t received prior warning that said pothole does, in fact, exist.  Even if they did have warning, they will only pay your claim if they had ample time to repair it, yet still did not.  A local TV station in Colorado Springs found out that the city rejected pothole-related claims at a rate of 98%.

Often times your insurance company will pay your claim for you and then go after the local government to get their money back.  Attorney David Tompkins of Bethesda, Maryland says that if you can show the pothole damaged your tire and you file a claim with your insurance company, “your insurance carrier will go through a process of making that governmental claim for you to get their money back. If they do…you’ll get your deductible back from your insurance carrier.”

Your Insurance Might Cover Pothole Damage

The sad truth is that pothole related claims are rejected more often than not.  It’s best to go through your insurance company and let them handle the damage.  The pothole damage will be covered if your insurance policy is equipped with collision coverage.  Collision coverage, which covers damage to your vehicle in the event of an accident, will protect you when your car hits another vehicle or object.  If you drive in a city that is notorious for potholes, you might want to talk to your insurance agent about buying collision coverage.


  Comments: 8

  1. Christopher polk Polk

    Hit a pothole in bend my rim blow my tire

  2. I hit a pothole a recked my $200 rim and tire

  3. I hit two big potholes on Watt Ave in Sacramento, CA. and cost me $500 for two tires and to have my rim fixed. Who do I need to talk to about getting reimbursed?

  4. Last night I was driving in 90 expressway.
    Around addison st area It was dark I could not see pothole. As soon as I passed pothole, I heard loud sound. But too late in gage I saw tire pressure picture three tires 43 but only right back tire 2 right away. I was so scared. Very slowly I parked in right side shoulder and then called 911,
    They sent to me city tow truck. I told repairman
    This problem is pothole. He said No.
    One body shop charge to change new tire $389.00+tax, other shop still looking for .

  5. Clyde Cunningham

    I was on a major highway in Texas (59) and hit a pot hole & it bent my rim! I pulled over & 6 people hit the same hole & had the same damage what help can I get with this issue 😥

    • I just hit one in Austin off of Parmer ln and it bent both my front and rear passenger wheels. Just wheels are 3k. Does anyone know what to do about this in TX??

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