Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • Collision coverage will typically cover pothole damage
  • It is important to properly maintain your car’s tires to avoid damage
  • Insurance carriers will determine liability based on each claim

Every city all across the United States has difficulties in keeping up with road maintenance. Roads get worn down over time, and the weather can be brutal, as can basic wear and tear that vehicles cause to roads.

What happens, though, when your car is the victim of a damaged roadway? If you strike a pothole, is that something that is going to be covered by your car insurance?

There are often a lot of questions that consumers have regarding what their insurance is going to cover.

People wonder, “If I strike a pothole, will my insurance pay for any damage to my vehicle?” This is a good question, and it is important to dig deeper before you are hit with an unfortunate accident.

If you are concerned for your car’s welfare in case of a pothole incident, compare at least three to four policies today to find the best rates for you! Enter your ZIP code above to get started!

Collision and Comprehensive Coverages

Every state requires minimum amounts of liability coverage for car insurance. Liability insurance protects other drivers in the event of an accident that is your fault, and it also protects you from having to pay for damages that you cause.

There are two types of coverage that you may add to your auto insurance policy; these are collision and comprehensive. These two basic coverages are going to have deductibles tied to them, along with limits.

As long as you have a covered cause of loss under one of these two types of coverage, you will pay the deductible and then have the ability to be covered up to the limits stated on the declarations page of your insurance policy.

Collision coverage is going to protect you if, while the car is in motion, you strike another object such as:

  • Another car
  • A tree
  • A light pole
  • A pothole

Collision coverage is what you are likely going to be filing a claim under if you hit a pothole and suffer from damage.

Comprehensive coverage is going to be coverage for damage to your vehicle due to an “act of God,” while the car is stationary, including things such as a sinkhole appearing while the car is parked, theft, fire, and earthquakes.

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Wear and Tear

It is important for you as the owner of a vehicle to keep up with maintenance needs of your car.

If you strike a pothole and it is determined that your tires are months beyond when they needed to be repaired, you may not get the full reimbursement, due to the lack of keeping up with your car’s needs.

Your insurance carrier may determine that, if you had adequate tires, the pothole would not have popped them. Thus the damage would have never occurred.

The Ability to Avoid

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While driving, could you have avoided hitting the pothole? A factor in whether or not you can recover from pothole damage is dependent on if it was truly an accident and that you had no ability to avoid it.

You may be driving an older car and see a pothole and aim for it, with the intent of damaging your vehicle so you can recover funds in exchange or get a new vehicle.

This type of behavior is insurance fraud, and you won’t be able to gain from the pothole incident as it will be determined you were at fault.

For you to be able to recover under a collision claim, it needs to be usually determined that you were not at fault for the accident.

If you had the ability to avoid the pothole, were not distracted from texting, or something of that nature, it is expected that you avoid it and not suffer the damage as a result.

Avoid Pothole Claims, When Possible

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You want to do all that you can to avoid pothole claims, whenever possible. Check the pressure of your tires routinely, so that they are properly inflated.

The thread of the tires is also pivotal. When having your car tuned up, make sure that you have shocks and struts that are in good condition.

If you are going to hit a pothole, try just rolling through it. Studies on cars have shown that damage can be lessened when you go through and potentially over a pothole, instead of trying to slam on the breaks.

If you do see a pothole, be sure to report it as well to authorities so it can be addressed. Consumers need to understand what will be covered by their car insurance policy.

Inquire with your carrier as to what your coverages are and what would happen, should you ever do strike a pothole. When shopping for car insurance, ask these questions, make sure the coverage is appropriate for your needs, and the premium being paid in exchange seems reasonable.

Start comparison shopping today for better auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below!