Pot Hole Vehicle Damage Repair
What to do if your vehicle suffers damage from pot holes?
Bam! One pot hole is all it takes to ruin your whole day. Right now in Chicagoland we’ve got plenty of them and plenty of cars riding around on skinny compact spare tires. Slowing down and trying to avoid the big ones is your best bet, but, inevitably, even the most-attentive driver falls victim at some point.
If you happen to be one of the unlucky ones that suffer some sort of vehicle damage due to pot holes, there are a few things to know about getting your vehicle repaired and searching for some sort of compensation.
First off, you need to get your vehicle repaired. Though this seems obvious, there are degrees of repair. Click here to find a repair center for your vehicle, or follow the links at the bottom of this page.
If your tire is flat you can simply swap the wheel out for the spare tire. But you should not drive long distances or at high speeds with a temporary spare – which is by its nature intended for short-term use only. Also, you will want get your alignment checked. Why? You have already replaced one tire; improper alignment could lead to replacing the other three. Most new-car dealers will do basic inspections for free.
Bent Rim or Broken Wheel
If your wheel was damaged, you’ll want to get the proper replacement. The local new-car dealership that sells your brand of vehicle is the best place to get that replacement wheel. Not only will it be able to order the right one ASAP, but the dealership will be able to install the wheel and make sure that your tire-pressure monitoring system is operating correctly.
Broken Suspension or Skewed Steering Wheel
If you damaged your suspension, there’s no option other than to visit your dealership. Many local repair shops don’t have the advanced electronic-alignment equipment necessary to make the correct repairs when replacing suspension parts.
Can you get reimbursed? In most cases yes, but...
The easiest way to receive some reimbursement for vehicle damage due to a pot hole is to file a claim with your insurance. This isn’t always the best option for a couple of reasons:
- Not everyone has Collision Coverage. It’s not required by the state and pot hole damage is classified as an "At Fault" loss under your Collision Coverage.
- Your Collision Deductible might be higher than the cost of the repair. Most Collision Deductibles fall between $250 and $1000.
- If you file too many “At Fault” losses with your insurance company, you could see higher premiums, an increase in your deductible or even a cancellation of coverage.
File a Claim with the State or Municipality
This is often difficult and isn’t always possible, but worth a try if you face a significant repair bill. Most municipalities, counties, the Illinois/Indiana Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway have mechanisms that allow drivers to make claims for damage to their vehicle due to pot holes. (Almost all start with filing a police report, so if you didn’t do that, you are out of luck.) Also, you need to determine what entity maintains the road where the damage occurred: State, county, city or tollway and file the claim with the appropriate agency. You will need to file your claim with that entity even though your police report will be handled by your local municipality.
Click on the links below to get more details on how to file a claim for reimbursement.
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