AAA reports that pothole damage accounts for around $3 billion a year in damages, accounting around 500,000 insurance claims per year,
Potholes happen mostly during the freeze/thaw winter months as water seeps into small cracks in the road and freezes. The cracks expand and contract, combined with heavy traffic, pavement age, vehicle weights, and snow plows, cracks become potholes.
Who’s Responsible for Pothole Damage?
Unfortunately, the responsibility for avoiding a pothole usually falls on the driver and in Massachusetts, it’s almost impossible to get the state or town to pay up for your pothole damage.
That’s because according to Massachusetts law MGL c.81, s.18 – Defects in Highway, Liability (State Roads) and MGL c.84, s.15 – Personal injuries or property damage from defective ways (City or Town Roads), you’ll need to prove that the state and/or town was negligent in repairing and maintaining road conditions.
And it’s going to be nearly impossible to prove that anyone knew about a pothole and failed to do anything about it.
While claims to the state are usually denied, some towns and cities will reimburse drivers for vehicle damage caused by potholes.
If you have a pothole “encounter”, make sure you take a picture of the pothole and damage to your vehicle, then determine who is responsible for the road (town/city/state). Go online and find the procedures to file a claim. Remember to get estimates from local auto repair shops before submitting your claim for approval.
Invest some time and you could get reimbursed without paying an insurance deductible.
Check out the City of Boston’s pothole claim procedure.
Is Pothole Damage Covered by Insurance?
If you bought a road-hazard protection plan on your tires and/or wheels that’s great! Hop, skip, and jump back to where you bought it!
If not, your car insurance will usually recognize an immediate damage claim, but you’ll probably pay a deductible and watch your renewal increase.
Much of the damage caused by potholes is wear and tear, with no specific incident to blame. If your car doesn’t feel right, get it checked out by tire and alignment professional with your best interests in mind.
Good luck! And don’t hesitate to call (508) 583-5031 or contact us with any of your concerns or questions about your car.