shutterstock_61395181We’re at that time of the year when potholes start turning up left and right. This year the roads are filled with them, and we find ourselves swerving all over the road trying to avoid them.  However, avoiding every pothole is easier said than done and many of them have the potential to cause serious damage to your car.

Often times we don’t see one, or it’s filled with water disguising itself as a puddle and we don’t have time to avoid it.

If you hit a pothole that causes damage to your car, are you supposed to pay for that? 

If you pay out of pocket to fix the damages caused by the pothole, you could be reimbursed for up to $300 to cover the cost of repairs. Depending on which road, whether it was a state or city road, you can file a claim with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), or the city and receive reimbursement, if your claim is approved.

To ensure proper reimbursement, you must follow these steps when filing a claim with RIDOT:

1. Within 7-days of the incident, the registered vehicle owner must submit a letter to RIDOT stating the exact time, date, and location of the incident.

  • The letter must be post marked or received within 7-calendar-days of the incident.

2. You have up to 60-days to provide the following:

  • A copy of a police report, a tow receipt or an auto club report verifying the incident
  • A copy of the valid RI registration for the vehicle
  • Copies of itemized, paid receipts with a proof of payment provided; the current odometer reading must be on the repair bill

If the damage occurred on an Interstate highway, and your car was not disabled or you do not have a tow receipt or auto club report, often times the State Police is the correct agency from which motorists should seek a pothole incident report form.

There are no guarantees with any claim made to RIDOT, and the pothole claim law only applies to cars registered in Rhode Island. The pothole law is only effective for non-residents if their vehicle is registered in a state that has a reciprocal pothole law (such a state would afford similar protections to Rhode Island-registered vehicles in its state).

If you choose to file a claim with your auto insurance company, you should know the damages would only be covered if you have collision insurance and that your deductible would apply. Make sure you take pictures of the damage right away, and if it is safe you should take a picture of the pothole as well to help process the claim.

For more information on pothole damage reimbursement and for help when filing a claim call OceanPoint Insurance at 401-847-5200.