Driving during the winter stinks, but hitting the road in the springtime can be even worse for your car, thanks to the damage the cold weather left behind. 

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We’ve all been there. You’re driving along on a sunny Spring day without a care in the world. Then suddenly, you spot it coming up on the road ahead - a huge, deep, annoying pothole. You try your best to maneuver around it, but thanks to where it’s located or the traffic around you, it’s impossible to avoid.

You grit your teeth, white-knuckle the steering wheel, and brace yourself for impact, hoping it won’t be too terrible… but then you hear and feel it.


It’s one of the worst feelings as a driver and affects thousands of motorists during springtime in New York State.

The Damage Potholes Can Cause

Potholes can wreak havoc on your vehicle if you hit one the wrong way. Have any of these happened to you after you had an unfortunate run-in with a pothole?

  • Car pulls to the left or the right when you steer? The pothole probably damaged your wheel alignment.
  • Your steering wheel starts vibrating or shaking, or you hear weird noises that weren’t there before? It could be your suspension.
  • Suddenly find yourself with a flat tire? You’ll probably need it patched or replaced.

According to AAA, the average repair bill for pothole-related damage to your car costs over $300. It's not only an unforeseen expense to your bank account, but pothole damage can be a huge inconvenience if you have to wait days or weeks for your ride to be repaired. 

If you spot a pothole along your commute, you can report it to the New York State Department of Transportation before it wrecks your car or someone else’s by calling 1-800-POTHOLE (1-800-768-4693).

But if it’s too late and the damage has already been done, there’s a way you can get your money back for the repairs that lousy pothole caused.

New York State Will Reimburse You For Pothole Damage

Many drivers don’t realize that you can file a claim to have New York State pay you back for up to $5,000 of expenses toward vehicle repairs due to pothole damage. Specifically, according to their website, “property damages…where the damages are found upon investigation to have been caused by the negligence of the Department or one of its employees.

However, they don’t make it easy. You’ll have to print out a small claims form here and mail it to your local DOT office, where a representative will investigate your claim before it’s approved. There isn’t an option to fill out the form electronically. 

You’ll also only have 90 days after the damage occurred to submit your claim to the DOT.

An Easier Way To Get Refunded For Pothole Damage

Many New York State drivers avoid the hassle of this system by filing a claim for the pothole damage through their insurance company instead.

Keep in mind, though, that your coverage might not include repairs due to hitting a pothole, so you’ll have to look into it.

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