Will Your City Pay Your Pothole Claim?

It's not always easy to get your city to pay your pothole claim, but it's not impossible. Certain cities are allowed to process a certain amount of pothole insurance claims, including Chicago. Read more to learn more about cities that pay pothole claims.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2022

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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.

If you do happen to live in a city or state where you can file a claim for pothole damage to your tires or car, you’re very fortunate. Every local city or region has specific rules and regulations for issues like this. To file a pothole claim, you may need to file a police report and include receipts from the repair shop with your pothole claim form. 

Cities That Pay Pothole Claims

For some lucky citizens, their city or state government might cover the cost of damage from potholes.   Common claims from pothole damage include tire damage, 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.

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 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, many factors come into play when getting your claim paid 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.

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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 a prior warning that said pothole does, in fact, exist.  Even if they did have notice, they would 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, 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 caused damage to 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.  Whether it’s caused minor damage, like a flat tire, or more serious damage to your vehicle, 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.

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