Personal Insurance Blog

27-Feb-2014 Sue Bird collision

It's Pothole Season!

Potholes in our roads are a frustrating fact of life. But you can limit the damage to your car by...

Protect your car from pothole damage andrew g gordon inc

  • Slowing down as much as possible.

  • DO NOT BRAKE as you bump across any hole. This will only make the damage worse.

  • Get a grip on the wheel and hold your course.

  • If you feel something or hear different in your driving, pull over, get towed home, and have your car assessed for damage. Driving with a broken undercarriage is like continuing to dig when you’re in a hole. OK, that’s a bad analogy, but you get my meaning.

A pothole on a state road will only compensate you for injuries caused. The town in which your pothole lives takes no responsibility for state roads.

Pothole damage is paid under the collision coverage in your auto policy subject first to your deductible.  The threshold for a surchargeable accident has recently been changed to $1000.  Therefore, if your company pays out over $1000 after the deductible has been paid, a surcharge will be assessed on your driving record and will affect your policy premium going forward.

There are 2 possible routes to getting this money back; 1)You can appeal to your insurer. This will work if you can prove that you are less than half at fault? For example; if you couldn’t see the pothole in the dark and rain. 2) You can claim from the City or town. This route is a real paper chase and you’re up against a 30 day clock from the day you struck your hole. Only a few towns, like Boston and Worcester, have a form to fill in, others may direct you to their Department of Public Works. Either way you’ll need copies of every detail, estimate and bill. Color photos of the offending hole and surroundings are a must.

DPWs will only pay out in cases where they knew of your pothole. We should all do our civic duty and report potholes when we see them. DPWs give themselves some time to repair potholes. Unfortunately, if you hit one inside this window of repair, the town hall won’t pay out. Even if the town knew about it and if they’ve been slow to repair. They may still take their own photos and go over your estimates to see if a loan car was reasonable.

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