Potholes are costing drivers and their insurers at least £1 million a month due to massive car repair bills, according to the AA.

The motoring firm estimates there have been more than 4,200 claims for pothole damage in the UK so far this year, and with an average repair bill of around £1,000, it claims the damage could have cost £4.2 million in the first four months of the year.

The AA, which provides insurance as well as breakdown and other services, says the number of pothole claims it's received during the first four months of 2018 is more than the number received during the entirety of 2017.

See our Pothole Claims guide for information about getting cash back if your vehicle is damaged.

My motor has been damaged by a pothole – how do I claim?

If your vehicle is damaged by a pothole and the authority responsible for maintaining the road failed to do so properly, it is possible to successfully claim for repairs in full without going via your insurer.

If you need to make a claim, follow these steps:

  1. Take photos at the scene – According to many councils, to count as a pothole, a hole must be at least 40mm deep. If the one you hit wasn't that deep you can still claim, but it could be tougher.
  2. Take notes and gather evidence – If safe to do so, take photos at the scene, including close-up shots, road signs, and the pothole's position in the road. Also make a note of its position and if anyone saw you hit it, see if they will give you a written statement for evidence.
  3. Keep evidence of the specific damage to your vehicle – Keep copies of your bills, and ask the mechanic who fixes your car to provide written evidence that the damage was likely caused by a pothole.

It is also possible to claim on your insurance, but you need to factor in the cost of the damage, your excess and the effect on any no-claims bonus you have.

Even if you don't claim on your insurance, insurers have told MSE that drivers should notify them of pothole damage immediately, regardless of whether they intend to claim. You'll then usually have around five or six months before you have to file an insurance claim, which gives you time to see if a claim to the responsible authority will work first.

Be aware if you do notify your insurer, there might be a risk in some cases of your premium being affected for the following year, even if you don't actually claim. This is impossible to quantify (plus big insurers have told us claiming WON'T affect next year's premium), but it's something you should consider.

For full information, see Pothole Claims: How to claim.

'The pothole epidemic is a national disgrace'

Janet Connor, director of AA Insurance, said: "In most cases the damage caused by a pothole, such as a ruined tyre or two and perhaps a wheel rim, doesn't justify making an insurance claim, due to the policy excess and the potential loss of your no claims discount. So the claims we are seeing are clearly much worse than that.

"Drivers are hitting potholes and ruining their suspension, steering, the underbody of the car or axles, and are occasionally being knocked off course and hitting other vehicles, kerbs or a lamp posts.

"This year we're seeing a growing number of pothole claims described as 'car severely damaged and undriveable', which didn't happen at all last year. The pothole epidemic has become nothing short of a national disgrace"