Can you claim for pothole damage? It turns out the government can foot the bill!


Jade Poole from I Write Words


Damage to cars and tyres is something many have experienced - here’s how to claim for it

Seeing at the government and municipalities are responsible for ensuring that the roads we drive on are in good conditions, this means you can claim from them if your car suffers from pothole damage.

Did you now that roughly 60% of our roads are potholed and in need of maintenance?

Further reports have found that in 80% of cases involving cars hitting potholes, it is the tyre rim and other critical items on the car that gets damaged in the event, not just the tyres.

So, can you claim for the damaged caused by potholes?

Yes, yes you can. As we said, the government has a duty to maintain our roads and make sure they are always in good shape. That being said, there are a few steps you will have to go through as you will have to provide sufficient evidence of the event, but in the end, it could save you a lot of money!

Of course, claiming from the authorities is a great option for those who don’t have car insurance or who don’t want to make a claim. In all honesty, vehicle insurance is something everyone with a car should have - can you imagine the cost of repairs from an accident if you don’t? We are talking THOUSANDS of rands, let alone hundreds of thousands.

The thing is…

Potholes are things out of our control. Bear in mind that you can only claim if you were driving on municipal or national roads. This means that if you hit a pothole on a private road (tar or dirt), then you will not be allowed to claim.

How does the claiming system work?

Claims for pothole damage on our national roads will be processed through SANRAL. And claims for pothole damage from a municipal road will be processed by the local municipality.

In both of these cases, you will need evidence that the damage was the result of a pothole.

National roads will start with the letter ‘N’ and then their route number, so for example, N1 and N2. Municipal roads with start with the letter ‘M’. A regional road with start with the letter ‘R’. All of these roads are managed by the government. This means you can claim from the government when hitting a pothole on these roads!

How to claim from the government for pothole damage

When you want to make a claim, you will need to “approach that specific municipal authority or department of public works and enquire from them which documentation to complete, and to whom to submit such a claim. This might, unfortunately, take more time and is also dependent on the efficiency of that municipal office," according to Arrive Alive.

Keep in mind that your claim will be scrutinised in order to prevent any fraud from taking place, this is why you need to give as much information as possible including where the pothole is located, the date the damage occurred and the condition of your car. 

Here are some of the documents you will need, of course, you need to find out from your specific municipal authority or department of public works to find out exactly what you need:

●     Police affidavit

●     Copy of your driver’s license as the person making the claim

●     The registration documents of your car

●     A copy of your ID

●     Photos of the damage to your vehicle

●     3 quotes or an invoice for the costs of the damage or proof of your payment

●     A letter from your insurer stating that you have not logged a claim to cover the damage through insurance or an affidavit if noninsurance (for those who do not have car insurance you will need to prove this with an affidavit.

Potholes are a reality for our South African roads, but it might set your mind at ease to know you can claim from the government, however, you need to make sure you have all your documents in order and have collected all evidence possible.

Of course, as a driver on our busy and dangerous roads, make sure you have car insurance that covers you for the unexpected. Car insurance with Oneplan (that’s us) lets you choose how much cover you want and for what price, we also don’t require any vehicle inspections or paperwork. We believe insurance should be simple.

Yours in uncomplicated car insurance,


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