Pothole season: Things to know
Spring is not all sunshine and songbirds – it’s also when potholes bloom. Depending on where you live, potholes can number into the hundreds of thousands and are a source of stress to road users and road repair crews alike.
While municipalities have certain responsibilities when it comes to keeping roads safe and in good repair, it’s common to see potholes left unfilled for a while, especially when temperatures fluctuate.
Depending on its size, and how fast you are driving, striking a pothole can result in damage to your vehicle, such asbent hubcaps, cracked wheels, punctured tires, damaged suspension and wheel misalignment. Such damage can compromise the safety, performance and handling of your vehicle, sometimes to the point that it is not drivable and needs to be towed right away. Repairs can get pricey quickly.
So, what are your options?
If you purchased collision coverage on your auto insurance policy, you may be able to make a claim with your insurance provider. Call your insurance broker if you wish to find out more.
You may also be able to make a claim with the municipality. Generally, it is a good idea to do the following quickly:
- Take a photo of the pothole and any visible damage to your car.
- If there are witnesses, get their contact information.
- Obtain at least two quotes from a certified mechanic with an itemized list of repairs required.
- Keep invoices and receipts for the repairs you’ve made as proof of payment.
The length of time you have to submit your claim varies greatly by municipality, so if you want to maximize your chances of getting reimbursed, don’t delay and call ahead to find out how much time you have.
Prevention is key. To reduce the chances of striking a pothole, it’s good to practice the following:
- Keep your eyes on the road.
- Avoid puddles, shoulders and slush.
- Check your tire pressure regularly and ensure they’re inflated to your car’s specification.
- If a pothole is unavoidable, reduce your speed, but only if it’s safe to do so, and without slamming on the brakes. Sudden braking pulls the weight of the vehicle forward and can actually cause more damage than going over the pothole at a steady speed.
- Report potholes to your municipality as you see them. Several cities offer easy ways to submit reports online or through dedicated phone numbers.
The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks of Aviva plc. and are used under licence by Aviva Canada Inc. and its subsidiary companies.