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Drivers are concerned about paying for vehicle damages caused by potholes

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Due to recent winter weather conditions, drivers in Joplin are seeing a lot more potholes on the streets, which has some concerned about how they will pay for any damages this might cause to their vehicles.

"Even going slow at it, you can still pick up the wrong little sharp edge and pop a tire," Joplin resident Maria Perez said.

Joplin resident Lane Barlow says even small repairs on a vehicle can really drain your pocketbook.

"I actually just got new tires and a wheel aligned because I've hit a lot of potholes," Barlow said. "It's pretty costly."

Local State Farm agents say any damage caused to your vehicle from a pothole is generally covered under the collision portion of your auto insurance and is subject to the deductible.

State Farm agent Karen Rutledge says tires are not generally covered.

"Normally it won't cover just the tire," she said.  "Normally you are talking about damage to your rims, maybe even damage to the underneath part of your car."

Rutledge advises drivers to know their deductible because filing a claim with your insurance is not the only option.

"The other course of action might be against the government entity that actually owns the road," Rutledge said.  "So there's an option besides your insurance in case you do not have the coverage or if the damage was less than your deductible."

A 2011 State Farm study shows pothole damages on average range between $300- 700.

Rutledge says even when approaching a pothole is unavoidable, there are still some precautions you can take.

"The best thing to do would be to slow down and brake before you get to it." she said. "When you try to brake and hit the pothole, you're probably going to cause more damage."

Other advice includes sticking to roads that you are already familiar with.

State Farm also recommends that if you have damaged your vehicle from a pothole, it is best to have it looked at by a mechanic or body shop for an estimate.

The amount in damages can then be compared to your deductible to determine if it is worth filing a claim.

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