If you drive around your car in Canada, you have probably faced it: landed on a huge pothole right in the middle of the road. So, what happens when you hit a big pothole and that damages the car? Does the car insurance cover the damages and can you hold the city liable? Before you check Edmonton car insurance quotes, read this.
What Makes Potholes So Common In Canada?
Now, given the climate of Canada, potholes have become a permanent issue. For instance, the City of Windsor has to spend at least one million dollars every year only to fix thousands of potholes. They occur when frost gets deep into the ground to make all the moisture already present there expand as ice.
And the next thing you see is a part of the road caves and cracks. The heaved parts are easily caught by tires of vehicles or snowplows. Thus, the pieces pop out and what you have is a pothole. The same condition persists in spring at the time when the roads start thawing out.
Thus, the roads in Canada are perennially at the risk of developing potholes, and the unsuspecting drives keep hitting them.
How Can Hitting Potholes Damage A Car?
Potholes can damage your car in more ways than one. The gaping potholes on the road tend to damage your car’s alignment, suspension, and steering systems. Furthermore, going over the potholes might damage the rims and tires of the vehicle.
Other signs of pothole-based damage might include uneven tire damage, decreasing tire pressure, pulling in a direction, losing control of the vehicle, dents in the tire rims, bulges on the sidewalls, and so on.
Pothole Damage And Car Insurance In Canada
There have been several incidents in the country, where multiple cars were damaged after hitting huge potholes on the expressway. Though there were no reports of injuries in many of these cases, the vehicles got damaged so badly that they could not be driven and needed to be towed.
Optional car insurance policies cover pothole damage and you can hold the municipality liable. But the problem is that it might be hard to taste success when you make a pothole damage insurance claim against your city. You might get some statutory accident benefits if there is an incident of personal injury.
Of course, drivers can choose to pay for all the damage if it is less than the deductible. Optional all-perils or collision coverage is available for damages from potholes.
The Need To Prove Your Insurance Claim
An insurer or vehicle owner can choose to go to the city to collect the amount for the claim, but it is important to prove the case.
The key is to gather the information before you go ahead and make the claim. When your vehicle is damaged, it helps to get a licensed mechanic for assessing and documenting the extent of that damage. Click a few pictures of that pothole safely. You also need to notify the municipality immediately about the location of the pothole.
One of the concerns that hits you right away is the damage to your tires. It can directly lead to uneven wear and tear and tire damages. If the blow is massive enough, you will find a bent rim. Depending on the impact of the incident, you might even have broken or bent suspension parts. All in all, the point is that the repairs tend to add up.
You can hold the city liable but it is not easy to be successful in those claims made against the city for damages caused by the potholes. In fact, even the top car insurance lawyers would tell you that it’s better not to expect insurance companies to make claims against a city as it is really difficult to recover.
The Legalese For Potholes And Car Insurance
In Ontario, potholes come under the Ontario Regulation 239/02: Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways under the Municipal Act. In this act, Section 6.1 mentions that only those potholes that exceed both the depth and surface area in their mentioned table have to be repaired if notified accordingly.
You might think whatever you like about this law, but a pothole is considered acceptable, i.e., in a state of repair, when it has a depth or surface area that is equal to or less than that mentioned by the authorities. Though the law differs slightly from one city of Canada to another, the general idea remains mostly the same.
The Time Taken To Repair The Pothole
Even when the potholes are too deep or big, the municipality has a particular time within which it needs to repair the area. But that’s not all! There is still a catch: this time limit to repair a specific pothole only begins running after the city has been notified about its existence. Thus, if there is nobody reporting a pothole, the time to get it fixed will never even start.
Furthermore, the size of what is considered a big pothole is based on the nature of the street that it is in, the average daily traffic, and the speed limit on the street.
The Municipal Act outlines the age and size that the potholes need to be before you can hold the city liable for the damages it has left on a motor vehicle. It clearly explains the reason why nearly all claims that you make against the city for damages left by potholes are largely unsuccessful.
The Bottom Line
So, the fact is that your car insurance probably covers pothole damage. However, you need to talk to your insurance broker beforehand to know whether you get the optional coverage for repairing the damages in case your car hits a pothole. Though insurance coverage is available in most cases, it is difficult to hold the city responsible due to the multiple legal boundaries that have been laid out. Regardless of that, you should definitely take the necessary steps if your car has faced pothole damages. As such, don’t get stuck without the right car insurance for your lifestyle, and contact your insurance provider today.