Spring Road Hazards: Dealing with Pothole Damage

Thursday June 14, 2018

Construction season is in full swing across the province. But, even with the construction spree, there are still much needed repairs on the roads. Until repairs are complete, damaged roads can be a headache for Ontario drivers. If you commute, you have probably made a mental note of every pothole that has yet to be repaired along the way.

While the city takes care of major repairs through the early spring, potholes can still pop up as spring showers hit the roads. Even potholes that have been patched over can reappear.

If your vehicle is damaged by a pothole, you could end up facing a steep bill from your mechanic. Potholes can cause major damage to a vehicle. Damage from a pothole can cause flat tires, dented rims, body damage and can even cause your steering to fall out of alignment. Worse yet, damage from a pothole can compromise your vehicle’s suspension.

What To Do If Your Vehicle has Pothole Damage:

If the incident causes an injury or results in damage in excess of $2,000, call 911 immediately. In the event of a minor incident resulting in vehicle damaged, follow the steps below:

  1. When it is safe to do so, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road, away from traffic.
  2. Request contact info from any available witnesses
  3. Document as much information as possible, including:
    • The exact municipal address where the event took place
    • Exact location of the pothole
    • The details of the event that led to the damage
    • Take photographs of the pothole, surrounding area and any visible damage.

If Possible, Avoid Making a Claim Against Your Policy

In most cases, making a claim against your insurance policy for the costs of these repairs will only end up costing you more. Pothole damage is typically considered an at fault collision by insurers. As a result, your claim would be subject to your collision deductible. Therefore, Easyway recommends covering the repairs yourself when possible. However, you can still make a claim to the city if they have failed to meet their minimum standard of maintenance.

According to an article in the Toronto Star, over 900 claims regarding pothole damage were filed before spring had even sprung in 2018. And, encouragingly, approximately 50% of those claims were successful. On average, drivers were awarded over $500 per claim.

The key to obtaining reimbursement from your city is in documenting the claim in detail. Be sure to include all the collected details such as photos, timelines, details of the damage and documented invoices from your mechanic for repairs. Each city has its own process for submitting a claim. Check your municipality’s website for details.

Pothole Damage Claims Departments by City/Municipality:

Don’t Wait To Make Repairs

Reimbursement from the city can take as many as 90 days. And, the process can be delayed in the event of extreme weather events. Even if you plan to make a claim against the city, it’s important not to wait to make repairs to your vehicle. Your car is a complete system and when one component breaks down, it can affect the overall performance and safety of your vehicle. Don’t compromise your safety, make repairs as soon as they are needed.

Learn how to choose the right mechanic in our article, “ Tips for Choosing a Great Mechanic ”.

Report Potholes and other Hazards

In addition to making your claim, be sure to report the hazard to the city. Don’t wait until you are ready to submit your claim. Reporting potholes and other damaged roadways can help keep other drivers safe while your claim is assessed.

Ask Your Broker

If you have a questions about pothole claims, contact your Easyway broker today.

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