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How to Prevent Pothole Damage to Your Car

By February 20, 2015February 23rd, 2021Personal Auto Insurance, Personal Insurance

If you’ve driven in New Jersey after our harsh winter, chances are that you’ve encountered a pothole…or many and the potholes are still out there. You’re not alone. Here are some tips to help you safely avoid pothole damage to your car and information about filing a claim if damage is unavoidable:

Avoid the Pothole: If there are no vehicles in adjacent lanes, the preferred action is to safely maneuver around the pothole. This also applies to puddles that may be hiding potholes beneath the surface of the water.

Practice Proper Spacing: Leaving extra space behind the vehicle in front will allow time to identify and avoid potholes. In general, slower speeds are advisable in known pothole areas.

Keep Tires Properly Inflated: Too little air pressure will allow the tire to bottom out quickly into the rim, which will cause a rigid impact to the front suspension system and increase the possibility of damage. Too much air pressure will result in a rigid impact, as the tire is much harder when overinflated.

Take It Slow at Night: Potholes can be more difficult to spot and avoid at night, especially if it is raining. Reduce speed, especially on unfamiliar roads, to allow time to spot and react to potholes that aren’t visible until spotted in your headlights. Keep in mind that where there’s one pothole, there’s likely more.

Check the Vehicle after Impact: A professional inspection can identify issues that could present safety issues in the future. Potholes should also be reported to the local township.


Through Rue Insurance: If you have collision coverage, please call us as soon as possible at 800-272-4RUE.

Through New Jersey: If your car was damaged by a pothole on a state road, you have 90 days to seek reimbursement from the New Jersey Department of the Treasury by submitting their claim form available at:

Through Pennsylvania: I am sorry to say if you are driving in PA the Penn Dot website clearly states:

“Any individual, who believes they have sustained damages as a result of the negligence of the Commonwealth, may file a claim for recovery. The law, however, prohibits the payment of property damage (tires, rims, etc.) as a result of a pothole. Because of this, no reimbursement has ever been made for a claim of this type. Although we regret your misfortune in this incident, we are strictly limited by the provisions of the law”.

Scott Harrigan

About Scott Harrigan

Scott started his career in insurance in 1988 and joined Rue Insurance in 2004 as a Marketing Specialist focusing on creating effective risk financing and risk transfer programs for companies and non-profit organizations. In addition to this he is a member of the Rue Insurance educational team that provides ongoing professional development in critical insurance concepts and programs to Rue employees. About Scott | More Posts by Scott