CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) — If you’re a daily driver, you know that not all roads are smooth.
When that time of year comes when potholes are more common, hitting a pothole can cost you big bucks if you’re not careful.
Did you know that the Missouri Department of Transportation has a pothole reimbursement program?
You can make a claim on the MoDOT website in hopes of getting a refund.
“Here you are basically just being asked for information about what happened, where it happened, when it happened and what damage you have to your vehicle,” said Enos Criddle, MoDOT District Safety and Health Officer.
Ford Groves body shop manager Marvin Clyburn said he was familiar with pothole damage.
“A lot of damage that we find: suspension, tires, wheels. They have underbody shields, a lot of times those shields will break,” he said.
Clyburn said pothole damage can be expensive.
“You could be looking anywhere from $800 to $1,200 pretty easily,” he said.
But with the MoDOT reimbursement program, you might get some of that money back.
Criddle said MoDOT received 1,138 applications over the past 12 months and 326 of those applications were reimbursed. These cost the state about $295,000, but what about the other 812 claims?
“You will get a rejection letter,” he said.
They can be denied for reasons like: is it a valid claim or did the pothole really cause that damage to your car, but the primary reason could come from a state law.
“State Law 537.600 states that if we were unaware of the condition and corrected it before the incident occurred, we would not be liable for those damages,” Criddle said.
So if you’re the first person to file a claim for that pothole, you’re not entitled to a refund.
“It would be the same as if there were some incidents that were due to Mother Nature. Something that happened and we didn’t have time to rectify that situation,” he said.
Though only 28 percent of claims have been paid, MoDOT officials say it’s still worth a try, as your claim could result in smoother travel for everyone either way.
“As soon as we are aware of this, our workforces are out there to try and correct these conditions as quickly as possible,” Criddle said.
Missouri is not the only state offering this program. Illinois does this too, you can file a claim online hoping to get a check in the mail.
“You have to do something,” said Richard Morris, Cape Girardeau’s driving instructor.
He said it’s good to know we can take matters into our own hands.
“I mean people take breaks all the time to try to improve things and that’s a good idea. Do it,” he said.
Because much like a bump, no one wants to dive into savings for an unforeseen bill.
MoDOT officials encourage you to file a report if you see a pothole that needs filling. Criddle said you can call 1-800-ask-MODOT or visit the website.
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