Pothole Payback: How to file a claim with MoDOT’s reimbursement program

Alayna Chapie did some research and found a way that may help you get some money back from the state for damages to your car due to potholes
Updated: Nov. 17, 2022 at 9:50 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - If you are a daily driver, you know not all roads are smooth.

When it gets to that time of the year when potholes are more prevalent, if you’re not careful, hitting a pothole can cost you a lot of money.

Did you know the Missouri Department of Transportation has a pothole reimbursement program?

On the MoDOT website you can file a claim in hopes of getting a reimbursement.

“This is basically just going to ask you information related to what happened, where it happened, what time it happened, the damages you believe you have to your vehicle,” said Enos Criddle, MoDOT district safety and health manager.

Ford Groves body shop director, Marvin Clyburn, said he is familiar with pothole damage.

“A lot of damage we find: suspension, tires, wheels. You have underbody shields, often times it will bust those shields up,” he said.

Clyburn said damage from a pothole can get costly.

“You could be looking anywhere from 800 to 1,200 dollars pretty easy,” he said.

But with the MoDOT reimbursement program, you may get some of that money back.

Criddle said in the past 12 months MoDOT received 1,138 claims and 326 of those claims have been reimbursed. Those cost the state about $295,000, but what about the other 812 claims?

“They will be sent a letter of denial,” he said.

They may be denied for reasons like: is it a legitimate claim or did the pothole really cause that damage to your car, but the main reason could come from a state statute.

“State statute 537.600 indicates that we are not liable for those damages if we weren’t aware and corrected that condition before the incident would happen,” Criddle said.

So if you are the first person to submit a claim on that pothole, you would not be eligible for reimbursement.

“It would be the same as if there’s some incidents that would be due to Mother Nature. Something that has occurred and we will not had time to correct that condition,” he said.

While only 28 percent of claims were paid for, MoDOT officials say it’s still worth a shot because, either way, your claim could lead to smoother travels for everyone.

“As soon as we are aware of that, our workforces are out there to try to correct these conditions as quickly as possible,” said Criddle.

Missouri isn’t the only state that offers this program. Illinois does too, you can file a claim online in hopes of getting a check in the mail.

“You got to do something,” said Richard Morris, Cape Girardeau driving instructor.

He said it’s good to know we can take matters into our own hands.

“I mean, people pull out stops all the time to try to improve things and that’s a good idea. Go for it,” he said.

Because much like a bump in the road, no one wants to dip into savings for an unforeseen bill.

MoDOT officials encourage you to file a report if you see a pothole that needs to be filled. Criddle said you can call 1-800-ask-MODOT or visit the website.