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New Jersey Drivers Report Spike in Pothole Claims Following Harsh Winter

Plymouth Rock Assurance Claim Data Reveals Increased Number of Car Insurance Claims due to Damage Caused by Potholes during 2013-2014 Winter; Company Offers Tips to Avoid Pothole Damage

Red Bank, NJ - (June 17, 2014) – New Jersey car insurance group Plymouth Rock Assurance is reporting a sharp increase in the number of pothole related claims received over the last year. From the winter of 2012-2013 to the winter of 2013-2014, Plymouth Rock’s ratio of pothole-related claims relative to all collision claims increased by 62 percent.

In terms of volume, the number of claims received as a result of pothole damage increased by 72 percent. Plymouth Rock’s Claims Team attributes the spike to the frequency and severity of snow and icy conditions in New Jersey this past winter.

“If you’ve experienced the unsettling shock of driving over a pothole in New Jersey following our unusually active snow season, you’re certainly not alone,” said Richard Adam, Chief Claims Officer at Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey. “Irregular temperatures and relentless plowing have caused the highest number of potholes we’ve seen in years.”

Plymouth Rock encourages New Jersey drivers to follow these tips to avoid blowouts and other pothole damage:

  • Avoid the Pothole: If there are no vehicles in adjacent lanes, the preferred action is to safely maneuver around the pothole. This also applies to puddles that may be hiding potholes beneath the surface of the water.
  • Practice Proper Spacing: Leaving extra space behind the vehicle in front will allow time to identify and avoid potholes. In general, slower speeds are advisable in known pothole areas.
  • Keep Tires Properly Inflated: Too little air pressure will allow the tire to bottom out quickly onto the rim, which will cause a rigid impact to the front suspension system and increase the possibility of damage. Too much air pressure will result in a rigid impact, as the tire is much harder when overinflated.
  • Take It Slow at Night: Potholes can be more difficult to spot and avoid at night. Reduce speed, especially on unfamiliar roads, to allow time to spot and react to potholes that aren’t visible until spotted by your headlights. Keep in mind that where there’s one pothole, there’s likely more.
  • Don’t Brake Hard: If a collision with a pothole is unavoidable, slamming on the brakes can increase downforce and the possibility of damage. A gradual reduction in speed is preferable. Keeping two hands on the wheel throughout impact is important to maintain control.
  • Check the Vehicle after Impact: A professional inspection can identify issues that could present safety issues in the future. Potholes should also be reported to the local township.


“Although sometimes inescapable, potholes can be avoided in many cases with proper precaution and awareness behind the wheel,” added Adam. “It’s important to be vigilant even on familiar roadways, where potholes can form quickly.”

Drivers whose cars have been damaged as a result of a pothole on a state road may be eligible to file a pothole damage claim with the New Jersey Department of the Treasury. Applicants have 90 days following the accident to seek reimbursement. The claim form can be downloaded here. Questions can be directed to the Treasury Department at 609-292-4347.

About Plymouth Rock Assurance

Plymouth Rock Assurance is a marketing name used by a group of separate companies that write and manage property and casualty insurance in multiple states. Insurance in New Jersey is offered by Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey on behalf of Palisades Insurance Company, Palisades Safety and Insurance Association, High Point Property and Casualty Insurance Company, and their affiliates. Each company is financially responsible only for its own insurance products. Actual coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued by each company.

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