How to report a pothole and how to claim for damage

Nov 29, 2023

How to report a pothole and how to claim for damage

Potholes and road defects pose an increasing challenge on the roads in the UK, causing damage to vehicles and potential safety risks for both four-wheel and two-wheel users.

These concerns persist for motorists, bikers, and cyclists, and while it is the responsibility of highways authorities to address these issues, you can contribute by reporting any potholes you encounter. Reporting is a straightforward and free process on this website. To assist drivers, we've assembled a comprehensive guide on potholes, covering the reporting process and providing information on claiming damages.

How to Report a Pothole:

We've partnered with FixMyStreet to simplify the reporting of potholes and other street problems, such as malfunctioning street or traffic lights, obstructions, and damaged pavements. Upon clicking the reporting link, you'll be redirected to FixMyStreet, where you can submit your report and track its status.

For motorways or major A-roads in England, contact National Highways at 0300 123 5000 or visit Highways England Reporting. In Scotland, report road defects on the MyGov website, and in Northern Ireland, use NIDirect.

Making a Pothole Claim:

If your vehicle incurs damage from a pothole, you may be eligible for compensation. Success in claiming compensation often depends on whether the pothole has been reported previously.

Ensure you send your claim to the correct authority. Contact the appropriate entity based on the location of the pothole, and provide all necessary details. Attach evidence, including estimates or invoices for repairs, a current MOT certificate, and photos of the damage.

Remember: Trespassing on a motorway is a criminal offense, so avoid visiting or photographing the location where your vehicle was damaged.

Pothole Damage Process:

If your vehicle is damaged due to a pothole, follow these steps:

  1. Take detailed notes and make a sketch of the pothole.
  2. Collect witness details if possible.
  3. Obtain repair quotes and keep all documentation.
  4. Weigh the pros and cons of making a claim.
  5. Make your claim using the provided guidelines.
  6. Be prepared for rejection and review the authority's defense.
  7. Research thoroughly before further discussions.
  8. Be open to negotiation if an offer is made.
  9. Consider the small claims court if necessary.
  10. Maintain a calm and professional demeanor in correspondence.

How Potholes Form:

Potholes result from moisture entering road cracks, expanding when frozen, and damaging the road structure with vehicle traffic. Adverse weather and inadequate road maintenance contribute to the issue.

Damage Caused by Potholes:

Potholes can lead to various wheel and tire problems, including buckled wheels, cracks, and tracking issues. A third of recorded vehicle damage is attributed to potholes, with severe cases potentially causing accidents.

Tips for Drivers:

  • Maintain distance and stay alert for potholes.
  • Drive cautiously, especially in wet weather.
  • Watch speed, avoid unnecessary braking, and drive over potholes with care.
  • Hold the steering wheel properly.
  • Inspect any damage in a safe location.
  • Recover lost parts safely.
  • Get your car checked for potential damage.

Claiming for Pothole Damage:

Yes, you can claim for pothole-induced vehicle damage. Contact the responsible local council or organisation, providing details and photographic evidence of the pothole.

Claim Requirements:

There must be an imperfection in the road exceeding 1 inch (40mm), but specific criteria may vary. Collect photographic evidence and relevant details when submitting a claim.