Potholes… sometimes there’s just no getting around them!

Potholes make their unwelcome appearance on streets and roadways in Ontario every year. Toronto City News recently posted that in Toronto alone, the annual budget for repairing potholes is $4 million to $5 million. 

Potholes typically arrive uninvited during the winter and early spring months. Changes in temperature, from extreme cold to mild, cause the expansion and contraction of ground water under the pavement. This, in turn, expands the cracks in the road to different sizes and depths, from a small cavity to what feels like a crater if you drive over it. A pothole is a tricky road hazard, as you may not see it, especially at night. In addition to losing a tire, it can damage your steering, suspension and alignment systems. The repair cost could be steep.

According to the City of Toronto, you can make a claim against the city or province in which the pothole damage occurs. For the damage to be considered, you need to prove that the city knew, or should have known, about the pothole, and failed to repair it within a specified time period. On higher speed roads and high-volume roads, city policy is that a pothole must be repaired within four days of having been reported. On a side street, the city has 30 days to repair potholes.

Unfortunately, most complaints don’t get very far. Then there’s private insurance coverage…

Do insurance companies cover pothole damage?

 Yes. Depending on your insurance policy, you can claim pothole damage as a single car accident, as it comes under collision. Insurance providers consider the damage caused by hitting a pothole as an at-fault accident.   

Check your insurance policy to see if you have collision coverage for this type of damage, and whether or not the cost of repair is more than the deductible on your policy.

Sometimes the pothole damage may turn out to be quite costly to repair, therefore worth filing a claim. In order to decide, it’s important to gather all the information you can. Use a licensed mechanic to assess the extent of the damage. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the pothole and damage to the car that you can use as proof. Those photos could help your claim, and you may, in fact, be required to submit them when filing the claim.

How can pothole damage affect my car insurance rate in Ontario?

Filing an at-fault collision claim based on pothole damage to your vehicle may increase your rates.  Is it worth making a claim? Here’s what Pete Karageorgos, a manager of consumer and industry relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, has to say: “… Your deductible applies, so if you do have $500, $1000 collision deductible and a few hundred dollars’ worth of damage then it doesn’t make any sense to make a claim.”

Talk to us about car insurance

We’re here to help! One of our insurance brokers will be happy to speak to you about the best car insurance policy for your needs regarding protection against pothole damage. 

If damage has already occurred, contact us as soon as possible. We can advise you on whether it makes more sense to pay for the damage out of pocket, or to file a claim with your car insurance company. We look out for you and your car!