Pothole Plague: Which Councils Actually Pay Claims?

It’s a good question, as the deliberate neglect of the UK road network puts the lives of cyclists, e-scooter riders and motorcyclists in particular at risk. Car drivers can also suffer serious accidents hitting deep holes over 30mph, or serious suspension, steering, or wheel/tyre damage. All of those problems can lead to an accident some time after the incident, as steering linkages snap, brakes malfunction or parts like suspension arms fracture, tyres deflate on dented rims etc.

Insurance Revolution has done some FOI research and it is useful. Many councils simply refuse to pay out on pothole claims and throw vast legal resources at fighting every single claim, no matter how damming the evidence. Others are more reasonable and occasionally pay out, but the amounts vary.

IR also asked about other claims relating to other incidents, like overhanging tree branches, oil or mud on the road, missing signage etc.  Here’s the word;


Manchester settled 181 claims between April 2021-22, worth around £1 million. Manchester also denied 269 claims. It’s a similar story at Birmingham where 96 claims were paid out, but the value was only £54,000-ish. In fact no other council in the UK has paid out over 50K in compo on potholes except Brent in East London.

Stoke on Trent, Nottingham, Bristol or Swindon might be places where you have a chance of getting something, as they paid out on 20  claims or more. But that’s the very limited good news for car and van owners. In most cases, councils fight claims all the way, trying to blame the driver, frost, normal wear and tear on the roads etc.


There were five locations that had a total of zero successful claims in this time period. These included; Islington, Sunderland, Birkenhead, Reading and Newport. So if you hit some type of trench and your alloy wheel is bent out of shape, forget it. Claim on your insurance, take the hit and move on – the council ain’t interested.


Northampton topped the list with the lowest amount paid. Hard to believe that just one driver suffered damage in Northampton so what happened to the rest of the claims? The council paid a measly £158.49 to one successful claimant. Plymouth only paid out £180.

Meanwhile Crawley paid a total of £822.72 to three successful claimants, in another example of facepalm claims processing.

Glasgow had over 1200 claims made against them, but settled just 14. Yep fourteen. The only good news for Glasgow drivers is that according to Glasgow Live the council settled 37 claims in 2022, so the trend is upwards, even if the claims submitted at 1213 is about the same as the previous year.

About alastair walker 11377 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.