The bane of many drivers is the dreaded pothole that is lurking beneath the surface of a dusting of new snow. Before you have a time to react, you have hit the pothole hard and heard the bang of the wheel rim hitting the edge of the hole.
If you have hit a pothole hard, you may have damage to your vehicle that you cannot see. You may have damaged the wheel rim so much that the vehicle now wobbles down the road or the shocks are severely damaged to the point the car refuses to stay steady while driving. You might even find yourself with a flat tire.
Continued driving of a vehicle with damaged rims, shocks or alignment problems can cause a lot more harm.
The trick to being reimbursed by the government for the damage lies in several factors.
First, the municipality must have been made aware of the pothole and neglected to repair or mark the hole in order to be liable for your damages. If the hole was reported and not taken care of, you may be able to get your money back from the municipality.
Second, the incident must be documented. If you took your vehicle in to be repaired, you must present the repair bill to the responsible department. You must document the entire incident, including getting photos of the pothole at the time of the accident along with the time and date. Most people have a cellphone with camera capabilities, so this type of documentation is much more common now.
Lastly, you must determine who is responsible for the road surface. It may be county, state, local or any other type of road maintenance division. Some states will automatically accept responsibility and issue you a refund of expenses.
You can use your insurance; you will be covered under your comprehensive policy. This covers acts of nature and damages to your vehicle from circumstances other than accidents. You must have a comprehensive policy in force in order to be covered by your insurance.
Filing a claim with your car insurance may or may not cause your rates to rise. It will not hurt to call them and ask your current car insurance company how to handle the damage claim. If you find that they will be raising your insurance rates, you can always compare auto insurance quotes with other companies.