If you’ve ever hit a bad pothole—and who hasn’t?—you’ve probably wondered if any damage to your car would be covered by your auto insurance policy. Turns out, you might be able to use your collision coverage to pay for that damage…but you might not want to.
First, understand that most policies will only cover pothole damage to the vehicle itself—such as the wheel, bumper or fender—and not damage just to the tires. You also need to consider how the amount of the damage compares to the deductible you would have to pay under collision coverage, which typically ranges from $250 to $1,000. If the damage to your car is less than your deductible, you might want to just pay for the damage yourself and avoid the claim process altogether.
SafeAuto or your own insurance company is prepared to help you make those decisions and work with you if you do decide to file a claim.
Am I at fault if I hit a pothole I couldn’t avoid?
For collision coverage, fault plays no role in determining whether damage is covered. However, if you strike a pothole that you could or should have otherwise avoided, you might have a claim made against you if someone is injured or property is damaged as a result. That’s why you have liability coverage, which pays claims for injury or property damage that are made against you. (Most states require that drivers carry liability coverage at certain minimum limits.)
What is collision coverage?
Collision coverage is designed to cover damage to your car that is caused by colliding with some inanimate object. It is usually accompanied by comprehensive coverage, which covers your car for damage resulting from more random events, such as fire, vandalism, contact with an animal, or hail. These two coverages are often called physical damage coverage and combine with your liability coverage to provide what many refer to as “full coverage.” (For the math inclined: liability coverage + collision coverage + comprehensive coverage = “full coverage”)
Always check your policy.
Don’t take our word for it. Coverage can vary considerably between policy types, insurance companies, and states. It’s always a good idea to read your policy carefully, and, if in doubt, ask your insurance company or agent about coverage for pothole damages.