Making a highways insurance claim

How to make a claim if you think a highway defect has caused injury or damage, what you need to prove before you make a claim and how we manage claims.

Incidents happen on the public highway network which can result in damage or injury. Sometimes these are caused by a highway fault and you may want to claim for compensation.

A defect on the highway does not automatically make us liable for the cost of damages or injury. 

We are only liable to pay compensation if you can provide evidence that shows we have been negligible in the inspection, maintenance or repair of the highway network for which we are responsible.  We rely on a legal defence under Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 for the majority of highway claims we receive, and typically only around 15% of claims are paid, in part or full.

Before we will pay a claim, you will need to prove negligence by us and that at the time of the incident:

  • a hazardous defect existed on a highway maintained by us
  • the highway in question has not been categorised and maintained appropriately in accordance with our Highway Maintenance Operational Plan (HMOP);
  • this was the direct cause of the incident or injury; and
  • you have suffered a loss

Contact Customer Services on 0345 606 6171 who'll take details of the defect then send you a leaflet telling you:

  • information about our responsibilities to maintain the highway and things you should know before making a claim;
  • what you will need to do if you decide to make a claim and the evidence you will need to provide;
  • supporting information you will need to provide such as copies of vehicle insurance certificate and proof of road tax valid at the date of the incident; and
  • how your claim will be assessed.

Our Customer Services team will also provide you with a reference number for your defect report and a separate reference for your claim (which will be used in any future correspondence between us).

If you decide to make a claim, to enable us to carry out an investigation into the incident, you'll need to complete a highway incident report form and provide us with supporting evidence.

Once we receive the completed form and all the required information as detailed in the relevant sections, we will:

  1. Check that the claim relates to something we are responsible for (for example that the incident happened on a road which is maintained by us) – if it is not, we will return the form to you so you can choose whether or not to pursue the claim with someone else
  2. Check that all relevant information and evidence has been provided by you to enable us to investigate your claim – if it has not, we will return the form to you.
  3. If all the required information has been provided, we will acknowledge receipt of your claim
  4. We'll then carry out an investigation into the incident and produce sufficient evidence to refute the claim, or alternatively, accept the claim

We are unable to comment on whether or not your claim is likely to be settled until our investigations are complete. 

Our claims handlers will contact you within 90 days to inform you if your claim has been accepted or not but during and following periods of severe weather it might take us longer to respond to your claim.

Contact Customer Service quickly and easily by webchat

  • Your questions will be answered quicker on webchat.
  • Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4.30pm (excluding bank holidays)

Click the webchat button in the right hand corner of your screen.