In Canada potholes can be a nuisance. In many cases, potholes form from the expansion and contraction of water beneath the road surface, often due to freeze and thaw cycles. But potholes can be a problem in warmer climates as well where cracks in the road surface due to heat allow water to penetrate the roadway and deteriorate the road from below. Science aside, when you hit a pothole, the experience can range from an unpleasant jolt to expensive damage to your vehicle. Are potholes covered by auto insurance? Here‘s how your coverage works.

It may seem strange because potholes are beneath your car, but hitting a pothole is considered a collision. This means that for any damage to your car to be covered, you would need to have collision coverage before you hit a pothole. Unless you have a loan or a lease, collision coverage is optional; some people may not have coverage.

If you have collision coverage, your policy can help — but there may be other considerations. Primarily, you‘ll want to consider the deductible. Depending on the amount of damage you have from the pothole, your insurance policy may not be able to assist you because the amount of damage may fall below the deductible. A deductible is the amount you pay toward a covered loss and the deductible for auto insurance is set per occurrence and for each type of coverage. If you chose a $500 collision deductible and a pothole incident results in a $300 bent rim, your insurer won‘t pay on the claim because the amount falls below the deductible.

However, there may be cases where the damage is more extensive. Maybe the pothole caused a bent rim, damaged tire, and a broken axle. Now you have damage that could exceed your deductible and it may make sense to make a claim. In some cases, the lower body of the car may collide with the road — at speed — causing more damage or even causing a larger accident.

If a pothole impact leads to a larger accident, other coverages on your policy or other insurance policies can come into play. Your medical coverage can help cover injuries to you while your auto liability coverage can help cover losses to others, including property damage and bodily injury. If you have an umbrella policy, your liability limits can be extended in cases where the financial losses to others are high.

The most common things at risk from potholes are your tires, wheels, suspension, exhaust, and your vehicle‘s body. However, potholes, like any road hazard, can cause a loss of control and can lead to larger accidents and larger losses.

If you haven‘t reviewed your coverage with your broker lately, just reach out to schedule a review. Your broker can help you build your policy in a way that provides the best protection against potholes and many of life‘s other surprises.