Many people don't know whether their auto insurance policies cover pothole damage. Pothole damage may or may not be covered, depending on the following factors.

Your Policy

The first factor is the type of coverage you have. Three common forms of coverage can help you with your pothole damage. You will probably be out of luck if you don't have any of these forms of coverage.

The first one is collision coverage, which covers damages arising out of collisions with other cars or objects (in this case, the pothole is considered another object). The second is roadside assistance, which comes to your rescue if your car breaks down far from an auto repair shop.

However, roadside assistance will not reimburse you for the cost of repairing the damage. Roadside assistance will just help you replace a damaged tire or tow your car to the nearest auto repair shop.  The last one is tire and rim coverage, which is an optional coverage or add-on you can buy to protect you from tire and rim damage.

The Extent of the Damage

The extent of the damage, which determines the cost of fixing it, also determines whether you can get compensation for your claim. Generally, you shouldn't expect any compensation if the damage is limited to the tire or rim. Tire damage, in particular, is likely to be explained by the insurer as wear-related damage, and insurance doesn't pay for wear and tear. However, you have a strong claim if the damage is extended to other parts of the car (such as the axle).


Most of the coverage that applies to pothole damage has deductibles. The deductible is the portion of the damage that you have to pay when your car is damaged, and then the insurance carrier tops up the rest. Fortunately or unfortunately, it depends on how you view the situation, pothole damage tends to be relatively inexpensive to repair. Thus, you might find that the deductible alone covers the damage, in which case, there is no point in filing a claim.

Government May be Liable

Lastly, you should know that your auto insurance carrier might not be the only party responsible for your pothole damage. In some jurisdictions, the local governments compensate motorists whose vehicles sustain pothole damage. The rationale is that road maintenance is under the local government, and a pothole is a result of local government negligence.

Hopefully, you won't be dealing with pothole damage frequently. However, you need to confirm you have the right coverage in case you ever do. To learn more about personal auto insurance, contact an insurance agent in your area.