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Does Auto Insurance Cover Pothole Damage?

There’s nothing worse than driving along and bam! You hit a pothole.

Potholes can occur in any climate but happen frequently in the first few months of the year in regions of the country that experience snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. When water freezes, it expands, causing the pavement to expand and crack. When temperatures warm up and ice melts, the pavement begins to weaken and crumble, leaving a pothole.

According to AAA, 1 in 10 drivers in 2022 sustained significant vehicle damage that needed repairs after hitting a pothole. The average cost of that damage was almost $600 per repair, totaling $26.5 billion for the year.

How to avoid potholes and damage

An obvious way to avoid potholes is to keep your eyes on the road and to avoid driving into any you see. AAA also recommends:

  • Avoid standing water or puddles as potholes may be hiding underneath. You also never know how deep that puddle or the pothole may be.
  • Reduce your speed and do not brake abruptly if you can’t avoid a pothole. Hitting a pothole at full speed not only causes damage to your tires and wheels, but also to your suspension.
  • Frequently check your tires to make sure they are properly inflated and that they are not worn.
  • Have your struts, shock absorbers and other suspension parts periodically inspected by a certified mechanic.

What to do if you hit a pothole

If you hit a pothole and suspect something is off with your vehicle, get a qualified mechanic to do an inspection immediately. Hitting a pothole can damage a tire or wheel and knock your wheels out of alignment, impact your steering, dislodge wheel weights, or break suspension parts.

Signs that something is off with your vehicle could include your car pulling to one side and unusual noises or vibrations.

Does auto insurance cover pothole damage?

When you have your vehicle insured with MAPFRE, Collision insurance helps cover damage to the insured’s car as a result of a collision. If contact with a pothole causes you to collide with another motorist, this type of coverage may help cover the cost of repairs.

MAPFRE Insurance will not pay for damage to your auto which is due solely to ordinary wear and tear, freezing, mechanical or electrical failure, or for ordinary road damage to tires.

In places like Massachusetts, there is no recovery for property damage, only personal injury, for what are deemed “defects” in the road (potholes, bumps, ruts, car parts, debris, etc.). Should you receive damage while traveling in an active construction zone, your claim will be forwarded to the contractor in charge of the project. Other states, like Rhode Island, do allow you to file a claim for damage that may have been caused by a pothole on state-maintained roads. You should check your state’s Department of Transportation website for more information about pothole claims.

We hope these tips have you and your car ready for your next driving adventure! And if you’re not a MAPFRE customer yet, contact an Independent Agent in your state or if you live in Massachusetts, you can get a fast, free quote today to see how much you could save on your auto insurance.

Please Note:This content is not intended to describe any specific coverage offered by MAPFRE Insurance. No coverage is provided, bound or guaranteed by this article. Available coverages, credits and discounts vary from state to state and are subject to eligibility criteria and policy terms/conditions, which will control in the event of conflict between this article and your insurance policy. For information about your policy, please review your individual policy contract and speak with your insurance representative.

MAPFRE Insurance® is a brand and service mark of MAPFRE U.S.A. Corp. and its affiliates, American Commerce Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 4928-8); Citation Insurance CompanySM; The Commerce Insurance CompanySM; Commerce West Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 1372-2); and MAPFRE Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 3039-5). Not all products available in all states.

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