Typically, damage to your vehicle resulting from hitting a pothole would be covered by your physical damage insurance coverage — in particular your collision insurance.

Key Highlights
  • Your physical damage insurance, specifically your collision insurance, would pay for damage to your car caused by hitting a pothole. 
  • If the rims are custom, you should check with your motor insurance provider to determine if your specific policy covers them. 
  • You won’t be able to file an auto insurance claim for your damaged rims if your vehicle simply has liability coverage. 

Collision coverage covers your vehicle when you collide with another vehicle or object. The object you hit may be construction debris, a guardrail or even a pothole. Comprehensive coverage is the other physical damage coverage; it covers theft, fire, glass breakage, striking an animal and damages related to natural occurrences — such as hail or wind. (See “‘Acts of God’ and your car insurance“)

While damages to your car should be covered by collision coverage, aftermarket parts added to a vehicle aren’t always covered. You need to check with your auto insurance company to see if your specific policy will cover the rims, especially if they are custom.

If you have custom rims, you should tell the insurance company about them at the inception of your policy, or when you place them on the vehicle, so that your insurer will know the worth of the rims. Your auto insurance provider would be able to tell you if the rims are properly covered under your current car insurance policy or if you’d need custom parts and equipment coverage for your rims to be covered.

If you have only liability insurance on your car, then you’re out of luck with making an auto insurance claim for your bent rims.  Liability coverage in no way covers your vehicle.

If you are unable to make a claim, you may want to look into what other avenues are available to you for compensation.

If the pothole had been there for a long period of time, it may possible be able to make a claim against the state or local agency that is responsible for the roadway where your accident took place.

We’ve been told us that to claim against the department that oversees the roadway, you may need to prove that the pothole had been there for a while and should have been fixed.  If the pothole appeared the day before your accident, then there really wasn’t time for the transportation department to fix it, and likely can’t be held negligent.

Some readers have told us about roadway agencies that have been receptive to claims; however, you may find that to have them pay for your damages you’ll need to file a lawsuit. Try contacting your state’s department of motor vehicles for more information.