Imagine this: you’re driving down the road listening to your favorite driving music; it’s a beautiful day, nobody is on the road. You’re driving the speed limit, so not too fast, but not necessarily slow either. All of the sudden you feel a huge jump in your car, as your car bounces down and then up. You just hit a huge pothole. You pull your car to the side, to inspect the damage. You can feel your neck tensing up a bit and your heart skips a beat when you see the damage. How much is this going to cost me? Do I have to pay? “It’s not my fault this city has no warnings for the huge hole in the ground,” you think to yourself. You don’t have to panic, well at least not yet.
The topic of having a city pay for your pothole damage is a hot one right now. In Chicago, more than 1,100 pothole-related claims were filed during a month’s time. In Chicago, their clerk office processes damage claims of up to $2,000 however not every claim is accepted. On average the annual pothole damage is nearly $6.4 billion for the United States. Over the life of a car, insurance agents claim that a driver can pay up to $2,000 or more in repair. While that may seem unfair, it’s important to discuss the damage that potholes can cause, how Alaska deals with the situation, and what to do if you have an accident as a result of a pothole.
Now You Hit a Pothole
If you hit a pothole stay calm. Make sure that you’re okay. Pull over so that you know where the pothole is and can take notes to report the pothole and have a strong argument for the claim. Take notes on where you were, the direction of travel, the location of the pothole, size and depth of the pothole, and also contact any witnesses. If you have a camera accessible, take photos to use in your report.
From there, it is important to get quotes before submitting the claim. If you’re not sure if damage was done, it’s typically better to be safe rather than sorry. However, some obvious signs that damage has been done include having flat tires, bent rims, altered driving, undercarriage damage, and noises. The tires are the most likely to be damaged since that is the part of the car that hit the pothole.
The damage that can result from a pothole varies under multiple causes. For instance, the speed in which you’re driving plays a major factor. The way that you hit the pothole could also determine the extent of damage. Another huge factor is the depth of the pothole itself. The deeper the pothole, the deeper into your wallet you’ll be going.
While the damage the pothole causes may be insignificant, it can also cause substantial damage to your car. The damage can range from tire puncture to wheel rim damage to engine damage and more. It’s important to get your car checked out because even if the damage may not seem noticeable it may have lasting effects on your car.
If you’re wondering if your auto insurance covers damage caused by potholes the answer is typically yes. However, it is important to note this is only the case given that you have collision coverage. Collision coverage is an optional portion of the standard automobile insurance coverage. This is an additional coverage for damage that occurs as a result of hitting an object, such as a pothole, lamp, etc.
The likelihood of pothole damage is especially common as the snow melts and spring storms begin. In Anchorage alone there are 1,400 miles of road, therefore a lot of room for pothole damage. If you do see a pothole, it is important to report it to the mayor’s office so they can get the damage fixed and drivers can be safe on the road. Once a pothole is reported it is the city’s goal to have the pothole repaired in 24 hours. However, with that many miles of road, not every pothole will be fixed.
The Alaska Dispatch News gives tips so that you can avoid hitting a pothole during this season. One tip is to watch the vehicle ahead for clues. This is extremely important. While you should not be tailgating the car in front of you by watching if they swerve or look like they hit a pothole, this could be a great indicator for you to watch out.
If you’re going to hit the pothole, there are some things to keep in mind. For example, don’t break. When you break suddenly, it actually may cause the damage to be more severe. If your tires are inflated, this can lead to more damage also. If you have tall tires, your pothole damage is not as likely to be severe, but you should still take caution.
Hitting a pothole is not a pleasant experience, however it does happen. The city of Anchorage has resources so that you can see which roads are kept maintained.
Our team is here to help you through the process of an insurance claim. We want to make sure that you get the best care possible. We don’t want you to worry; we want you safe and happy on the roads of Anchorage.
Please reach out so that we can talk about what is going on and we can continue to make Anchorage the safest place possible.
Photo Credit: chrismeller via Compfight cc
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