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Car Hire Is Just One Expense Caused By Slack Local Authorities

Jan 10, 2008
The old image of road maintenance workers leaning on shovels and smoking cigarettes is one we often assume to be correct given that there are so many poorly maintained roads across Britain.

Given that a good proportion of our council tax is attributable to highway maintenance, should our roads not be in better condition? In the UK, 10,000 pounds of taxpayer's money is spent on road maintenance per mile of carriageway every year. But is this enough?

Surely not, if the authorities claim to have a 1 billion pounds backlog of repairs and are facing a formidable peak in compensation for vehicle damage caused by the lack of repairs.

It is estimated that half of all vehicle axle, suspension and steering repairs are blamed on poor road quality. Stories abound on the internet of car parts being ripped off, cracked sumps and the most common wheel and tyre damages caused by potholes in our roads.

Heartily sick of this problem, a road user in Huddersfield went through his home town, circling all potholes with yellow spray paint. He did this to highlight the problem and to warn other road users. The un-amused council officials were adamant that it would not influence their road works schedule and accused the man of graffiti.

A whole website has even been set up dedicated entirely to the problems faced by pothole victims. It is hoped that a collective voice will carry more weight than each individual.

In the worst reported incident, a motorcyclist hit a pothole, throwing him into the central reservation and killing him.

However, local authorities do not seem to listen to the complaints of the public and often pass the buck onto others. Manhole covers are deemed the responsibility of other companies, such as the water authority, so if you damage your car on one of these, despite it being on a council owned road, compensation is unlikely.

Many have tried to claim compensation from the council with car insurance companies being quite unhelpful in this regard. It seems no one wants to take on the bigger authorities and personal complaints and requests for re-imbursement are largely ignored.

The cost to car drivers of pothole damage is estimated to be around 2.8 billion pounds a year just in repairs. Many people have only third party, fire and theft insurance cover and will have to foot this bill themselves. Add to this the cost of car hire and the expense increases even further.

Car hire is a normal fall back for driver's whose vehicles are off the road for repair. Comprehensive insurance will cover this expense, otherwise add it to the list of extras to pay out for in the event of pothole damage to your car.

Insurance on a hired car would cover the cost of any damage done to one of their own cars in this respect and fully comprehensive insurance to pothole damaged vehicles is ever increasing. This begs the question as to whether or not insurance companies could be putting a louder voice to the issue instead of passing on the increase in claims to the premiums of their customers.
About the Author
Highways expert Catherine Harvey looks at road damage as a cause of car hire in the UK. To find out more please visit http://www.car-hire-uk.com/
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