By Lauren Howells

Potholes on our roads are costing drivers and their insurers at least £1 million per month due to “massive car repair bills”, according to estimates by the AA.

The UK’s largest motoring organisation says that it has seen more pothole-related claims during the first 4 months of this year, than it did for the whole of 2017 and estimates that there have been more than 4,200 claims for damage caused by potholes in the UK so far this year.  

With an estimated average repair bill sitting at around the £1,000 mark, that works out as over £1 million per month.

AA says breakdown call-outs because of pothole damage have doubled

The AA also says that call-outs from people requiring assistance, after damage caused by a pothole, have doubled. 

Director of AA Insurance, Janet Connor, pointed out that in most cases, minor damage such as a ruined tyre caused by a pothole, would not justify making an insurance claim, due to the policy excess and the fear of losing a no claims discount. She said that the claims that the AA are seeing are “clearly much worse” than that, with drivers hitting potholes and damaging their suspension, steering and sometimes even hitting other vehicles or lamp posts, as a result of being “knocked off course” by a pothole. 

Connor added:

“This year we’re seeing a growing number of pothole claims described as ‘car severely damaged and undriveable’, which didn’t happen at all last year.

“The pothole epidemic has become nothing short of a national disgrace”.

Britain’s roads “crumbling”

Earlier this month, the AA released results from its study which showed that 9 out of 10 drivers felt that the roads were worse now, compared to 10 years ago.

Perhaps most shockingly, 1 in 10 drivers in the North East described their motorways as being “riddled with potholes”.

Overall, 42% of drivers asked this year rated residential streets in the UK as poor, compared to 34% only 12 months earlier.

In Scotland, over half (51%) of the motorists surveyed, felt that their residential streets were in a poor condition, compared to 36% just 12 months previously. 

Funding for road repairs “nowhere near enough”

Pothole epidemic a “national disgrace”, says AA

In March, Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, admitted that not enough had been spent on the country’s roads since the 1980s and announced that there was to be an extra £100 million funding made available for road repairs. 

The Director of AA Insurance said that this was “nowhere near enough”.

“Local council budgets have been squeezed to the extent that competing priorities mean they don’t have the resources to keep their roads up to scratch. Hence the £9bn that is estimated to be needed as a one-off investment to restore roads in England and Wales.

“Our highways have become a national embarrassment,” Connor added.

The AA is encouraging drivers to inform the relevant highway authority of any potholes they come across.

Councils have a statutory defence against paying out compensation for damaged cars if they are not aware that a pothole exists.

It is also calling on drivers to safely photograph potholes and send them to both the Department for Transport and the responsible highway authority, via social media.

To find out more about the AA’s #FlagitFunditFillit campaign, head to its website.