Successful claims for unfair vehicle damage

It’s frustrating enough when you cause damage to your vehicle, leaving you with costly consequences. However, when damage is dealt to your car and it’s out of your hands, it feels unjust to have to pay to return the vehicle back to its natural state.

This is especially true at a time of increased cost of living and higher premiums on car insurance where, at the moment, every penny counts more than ever. At Insurance Revolution, they understand the importance of saving money on your insurance, even more so during a cost-of-living crisis.

From damage due to a dodgy pothole-plagued road or by overgrown nature impeding on drivers safety, there are several ways damage can be caused to a car which is completely out of the driver’s control.


To explore this further, Insurance Revolution sent FOI (Freedom of Information) requests to the councils of the 50 largest UK cities by population.

It requested information such as the number of successful and unsuccessful claims made throughout the past financial year (April 2021-April 2022), and also requested the total amount paid out to successful claimants throughout this time period.

The guys at Insurance Revolution explored any damage that was caused by; overgrown plants that haven’t been trimmed, failure to maintain missing or damaged traffic signals, or other traffic signs, uncorrected potholes, excessive oil or gravel, and faded paint markings such as the centre or road edge line markings.

What are your rights when claiming unjust damage?

As it’s an aspect of driving that remains fairly unknown to some drivers, we’d like to remind you of your rights if any damage is caused to your vehicle outside of your control.

Drivers can claim directly from their council if they feel their vehicle has been damaged by the conditions of the road.

Claimants will have to get in touch with their council to report the damage caused, how it was caused and why they think the council is responsible, provided alongside information such as the date, time and location of the incident.

However, drivers should keep in mind that any damage caused by the debris of another car is not eligible for compensation from the council. Information regarding how you can get into contact with your council and further details can be found on the Government website.

Successful claims

If a claim is successful, you can expect a payout from the council compensating you for any damage caused to your vehicle unjustly. Claims may vary depending on the damage dealt to the vehicle.

By sending FOIs to councils, Insurance Revolution were able to retrieve data regarding the number of successful claims made for damage caused to a vehicle.

The ten cities with the highest number of successful claims made against their council were:

CitySuccessful Claims
Swindon 34

The data collected found that Manchester is ahead by some distance, with 181 successful claims made in the last financial year. This is a staggering statistic in comparison to other UK cities, with Manchester being the only city to have over 100 successful claims.

There were also five locations that had a total of zero successful claims in this time period. These cities included; Islington, Sunderland, Birkenhead, Reading and Newport.

The ten cities with the lowest amount of successful claims made for damage were:

CitySuccessful Claims
Northampton 1
Milton Keynes2

Of the ten cities listed with the lowest number of successful claims, Plymouth City Council and West Northamptonshire Council were two of four councils subject to only one successful claim across the past financial year.

It’s also important to note that some councils do not record and keep the data on successful claims, therefore any data from Leeds City Council, London Borough of Bexley Council and Mansfield District Council has not been included in this analysis.

Unsuccessful claims

If a claim is unsuccessful, you will be alerted and no further action will be taken, therefore no compensation will be awarded.

By submitting an FOI we were able to retrieve data regarding the number of unsuccessful claims made across the 50 largest UK cities.

The ten cities with the highest amount of unsuccessful claims made against their council were:

CityUnsuccessful Claims
Birmingham 179
Southampton 89
Northampton 87
Swindon 81
Leicester / Aberdeen74

Manchester, which ranked first for the highest amount of successful claims, also ranked second in unsuccessful claims with 269.

The data collected found that, shockingly, Glasgow leads the way by over 1000 claims with a total of 1240 claims throughout the past financial year. Manchester, which ranked first for the highest amount of successful claims, also ranked second with 181 unsuccessful claims.

The ten cities with the lowest amount of unsuccessful claims made were:

CityUnsuccessful Claims
Islington 10

Birkenhead and Newport topped the list with the lowest number of unsuccessful claims (2). Birkenhead received no successful claims, meaning they weren’t required to pay out any money for unjust damage caused to vehicles.

Sutton had a total of 15 unsuccessful claims and 5 successful, meaning there was a 75% chance of having a claim rejected across the past financial year. Not included in this ranking is Sunderland, who had a total of 60 unsuccessful claims and 0 successful claims.

Amount paid out to claimants

As we’ve analysed the cities with the highest and lowest number of successful and unsuccessful claims, it’s intriguing to also explore the total amount paid out to claimants as a result of damage caused to vehicles that weren’t the driver’s fault.

Again, it’s important to note that the amount awarded to claimants may vary depending on the total damage done to the vehicle.

The five cities with the largest amount of money paid out to claimants were:

CityTotal amount paid to claimants

The information gained from the FOI requests revealed that Manchester City Council paid over £1 million to successful claimants between April 2021 – April 2022, twenty times more than Birmingham, which ranked second with over £53,000 paid out to claimants.

The councils that paid nothing as a result of having no successful claimants were; Sunderland City Council, Wirral Borough Council (Birkenhead) and Reading Borough Council.

The five cities that paid out the least to successful claimants were:

CityTotal amount paid to claimants

Northampton topped the list with the lowest amount paid. The council paid £158.49 to one successful claimant, whilst Crawley paid a total of £822.72 to three successful claimants, highlighting how the amount paid out can vary from claim to claim.

Overall, the analysis of data sourced through requesting FOIs regarding successful and unsuccessful claims has been an eye-opening insight into the number of claims made in different parts of the UK. It also showcased the staggering amount paid out in cities such as Manchester and Glasgow.

It’s important to be reminded of your rights as a driver if you’re on the receiving end of damage from potholes, faded paint, or overgrown plants, and how a claim against the damage can be made.

If you’re looking to purchase a car and require insurance, look no further than Insurance Revolution. Its specialists are on hand to provide you with any needed advice to ensure you get the best deal on your insurance.

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