Drivers and insurers are spending £1m a month on repairing car damage caused by potholes.

The AA claims that a ‘pothole epidemic’ cost insurers £4.2 million in the first four months of 2018.

That’s more than was spent in all of 2017.

The motorists’ organisation labelled the situation a “national embarrassment”.

The Department for Transport claims that it is spending £23bn on England’s roads to improve journeys.

But an editorial published in the MEN today suggests that the reason has reached boiling point in Manchester and could have caused the Tories to lose control of Trafford Council.

The Council passed local contracts like pothole repair to the private company Amey to cut costs. But the strategy may have backfired as Tory councillors were unseated at the local elections.


Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance, said spending cuts meant roads were not being properly maintained.

“Local council budgets have been squeezed to the extent that competing priorities mean they don’t have the resources to keep their roads up to scratch,” she said.

The average repair bill from damage caused by potholes was £1,000 according to the AA. From callout data, they estimated that 4,200 people suffered pothole damage but suggested they could be underestimating the true cost of the damage.

Ms Connor said the £1m a month figure was not the whole story: “In most cases the damage caused by a pothole – a ruined tyre or even two tyres and perhaps a wheel rim – doesn’t justify making an insurance claim given that it is likely to lead to the loss of your excess and no-claim bonus. So the claims we are seeing are clearly much worse than that.”

Earlier this year, Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, announced £100m for councils to spend on road repairs, He announced that not enough had been spent since the 1980s.

Car pothole damage

Ever hit a pothole and heard a deep clunking sound? It’s not pretty.

Potholes lead to problems including:

  • Buckled wheels
  • Cracked alloys
  • Popped tyres
  • Tyre lumps
  • Imbalances in tracking and wheel balancing
  • Suspension problems

If you think that a pothole may have damaged your car you should pull over straight away. Pothole damage may have made your car unsafe to drive. Checking damage early may also help you claim money from the council for pothole damage.

Some damage may not be immediately obvious, but you should be aware of any slight changes in the driving – including unusual vibrations and tracking issues.

If you notice anything that’s wrong then bring it in to the garage, we might be able to help you claim for the damage.


If the offending pothole is on a local road then you may be able to claim money back from the council.

But councils can only be held accountable for damages if they have been informed about the pothole.

You can report potholes with the council or use a third-party website like Fix My Street.

To claim against the council for pothole damage, you need to make sure you collect information on the pothole. Take a photo of it and see if you can get anyone to verify that you did hit it.

To be ‘claim-worthy’ a pothole needs to be at least 40mm deep – that’s the equivalent of two 20p pieces.

Get your car repaired by a trustworthy garage and make sure you keep all the invoices and quotes.