When traveling down older or damaged roads, potholes are an ever-present danger to your car. While driving over a dip in the pavement might not seem like a big deal, nothing could be further from the truth. Potholes can damage or destroy tires, misalign steering, wreck rims and suspension and more. Depending on the road and traffic conditions, they can also be hard to avoid. The next time you find yourself and your car on the receiving end of pothole damage, the following tips will help you decide what to do next.
Knowing the damage
If you encounter a pothole and are unable to avoid hitting it, it’s important to know which parts of your car are most likely to receive damage. Since your tires are the surface hitting the pothole, they are the most susceptible to serious harm. A bad pothole hit can cause cracks in your tires and can even cause a blowout in the right circumstances, according to Rod O’Connor of Geico. He also reports that your steering and alignment systems are also easily damaged by potholes. If you notice your vehicle pulling in one direction or have difficulty controlling your driving, serious damage is likely. Potholes can also hurt your vehicle’s suspension and rims, the Car Care Council reports, and even a minor hit can hurt the pressure in your tires. Be sure to inspect your car for odd bulges in the sidewalls, dents in the tire rims and damage to the tires themselves.
Check your insurance
If your car has received damage from a pothole collision, the team at Allstate suggests that you review your insurance policy carefully. While some insurance companies don’t cover such collisions, other companies consider hitting a pothole as a single-vehicle accident. If you have collision coverage, you may be able to make an insurance claim. Depending on where you live, you may also be eligible for limited compensation for pothole damage. Cities like New York and Chicago offer this compensation, allowing you to save more money on repairs. Be sure to discuss any questions and possibilities with your insurance agent.
Know the numbers
Even if your car’s pothole damage is covered by your insurance, it’s important to know all of your options before deciding how to proceed with repairs. Collision coverage might help pay for fixing damages, but Allstate points out that you need to meet your deductible before your claim is covered. This deductible can sometimes get pricy and might cost you more than simply paying for repairs out of your own pocket. Before settling on filing an insurance claim, be sure to get estimates for repairs. If paying for it yourself saves you money when compared to going with your insurance, avoiding that deductible is the financially wise choice. If out-of-pocket costs outweigh the insurance costs, make sure to double-check that your policy includes collision coverage. If you’re leasing or financing your vehicle, you may already have this coverage, as many lenders require collision coverage to be a part of your policy.
Even if your car is seriously damaged in a collision with a pothole, there are plenty of ways you can get the repairs you need without overspending. With the right insurance and proactive inspection of potential damage on your part, you’ll be back on the road in no time.