Sometimes, the most dangerous thing on the roads isn't a car being driven recklessly by another driver - it's the roads themselves. Cracked, broken, rough or pitted, often the road surface and condition can contribute greatly to a motor vehicle accident, even in the absence of a second vehicle. This can mean that an insurance claim may be filed even if no second car was involved, and the only culprit was a large and unfilled pothole. A call to your insurance provider may be necessary, especially if the damage is substantial. In many states, your insurance provider will even require a police report if the damage is over a certain amount - regardless of if it was only you versus the pothole.
But what does this type of claim mean for your car insurance coverage? Who was at fault if the culprit was a poorly maintained city street? Does your premium go up? The answers depend on your insurance company.
All policies are different, and any up-front car insurance quote will reflect this. Some include "accident forgiveness" for one at-fault accident with no premium increase, some have a no deductible for glass option, and some are simply the basic, stripped down model. The key is to ask your insurance company before starting the term of a policy exactly what kind of coverage you are receiving. In the case of the pothole, how your insurance will be affected is largely dependant on how your provider views that accident. If the company takes the stance that it is a no-fault accident, then you will be required to pay your premium and they will cover the rest of the damage cost. If they determine that it was at-fault because you should have avoided the pothole, they may or may not cover any of the repair costs, depending on your arrangement with them. In either case, there is the possibility that your rates will increase, as an accident exists on your record, and regardless of fault, it has required your insurance company to pay out. Because of that, they may consider you to be higher risk, even if the accident was unavoidable.
If such an accident occurs, call your insurance company and ask them what the policy is. Be clear about what happened and how, and ask if your rates will increase. Any responsible company should tell you what their policy is in regards to these types of accidents, and what you can expect both from them for service, and in terms of your premium. If they deem you are at fault regardless, and your premium skyrockets, it may be time to begin the hunt for better car insurance quotes.