a car drives around a pothole on the road.

This time of year, many car owners in Pennsylvania are considering finally getting some pothole damage repaired, before the winter weather and snow hits again. Now is the time to get informed about pothole damage, how you can get your car fixed, and how to file a claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to cover vehicle repairs.

The Pothole Problem in Pennsylvania

In places like Pennsylvania, where temperatures vary greatly throughout the seasons, and even day to day, potholes pose a big problem. Fluctuating temperatures create a freeze/thaw cycle which affects local roadways. Potholes form first when water freezes in the ground, the pavement above is pushed up, creating cracks. Then, between cars continually driving over the cracks and moisture freezing and expanding inside them, the street begins to show heavy signs of wear. This is how Pennsylvania winters with high amounts of precipitation and cold temperatures contribute to the formation of holes in the road.

In 2016, PennDOT invested more than $35 million and poured about 53,000 tons of fresh asphalt to fix potholes. Yet, because of unusually heavy snow, sleet, and rain fall combined with extreme changing temperatures, the problem worsened during this past 2018-2019 winter.

Watch this video about how the local department of transportation is working to address the Pennsylvania pothole problem.

Last spring, the local government launched the “Resurface PA” project aimed at fixing potholes across the state. This initiative set aside nearly $30 million towards pavement repairs across Pennsylvania which are already being carried out by roadcrews. You’ve probably seen that roadwork is going on during this period in your area. This is because permanent pothole patches can only be made in the spring, summer and fall, when temperatures stay above freezing.

How to Get Pothole Damage Repaired

But what if your car got scratched, dented, or otherwise damaged because of potholes in the road? They can wreak havoc on the tires, rims, wheel alignment, shocks, and undercarriage. But vehicles that ride low and closer to the road can also suffer paint and body damage. Bumpers, fenders and the auto body can be scratched and dented by driving over a pothole.

The first step is always to get an estimate or two for the needed repair work. With an estimate in hand, you can decide if you will pay for it out of pocket, file a claim with the local department of transportation, or have it covered by insurance.

Reimbursement for Pothole Damage Repairs

Car owners have a lot of questions when it comes for paying to get pothole damage fixed. Here are some answers to help you find the best way to cover repairs.

Is the City or State Responsible for Damage Caused by Potholes?

In Pennsylvania, the state government is considered responsible for maintaining safe roadways. If your car has been damaged by a pothole, you can submit a claim to PennDOT for vehicle repair reimbursement.

You will likely need to provide proof of the incident. We recommend taking dated pictures of the street conditions and the damaged incurred to your car. This will help ensure that the state reimburses you fairly and in a timely manner.

How to File a Claim for Pothole Damage in PA

You can submit a claim to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania for reimbursement. The Bureau of Finance and Risk Management (FARM) will review your claim and decide if a payout is due.

Go here to get more information on pothole damage claims in your county.

Is Pothole Damage Covered by Insurance?

Repairing pothole damage should be covered under your collision insurance policy. Hitting a pothole is considered a collision. Before submitting a claim to the insurance company, however, you will want to get a detailed estimate for the repairs. Then, compare this to your deductible rates and renewal hikes in insurance premiums related to the eventual claim. For small repairs, it may be cheaper to pay out of pocket.

Report Potholes in Your Neighborhood

The PennDOT team encourages local citizens to report dangerous pothole damage. If you see something about the roadway that should be fixed to keep drivers and their cars safe, follow the guide on how to “Submit Roadway Feedback.”

Get helpful tips on how to Drive in Unsafe Road Conditions and Protect Car Paint During the Winter.

Your Local Auto Body & Collision Repair Center

Badell’s Collision is proud member of the Pennsylvania community. For more than 16 years, we have provided top-quality dent repair, car painting and auto body repair services. We will get your vehicle back on the road quickly and safely. Stop into one of our locations in Aston or Malvern, or use our easy online estimate form.

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