Reimbursement for road damage to your vehicle

How to file a claim

TUCSON, Ariz - Hitting one of the potholes in the city or county with your vehicle is a common problem when heading out to work, to school or to shop. Many times the damage is so bad that wheels are broken or steel belts on tires are damaged to the point of making your travel unsafe.

Recently a driver struck a pothole while traveling through Saguaro National Park-West. He notified KGUN 9 On Your Side's Pothole Patrol and the holes were repaired the very next day.

Often when traveling on I-10 or I-19, there are "alligators" or big shards of tire tread that have uncoupled from the rest of a tire. Striking one can create a flat, cause undercarriage damage to your vehicle, or both.

9 On Your Side has compiled claims for reimbursement from Tucson, Pima County and State of Arizona. Depending on where the damage happened, there are different instructions to follow for submission.

First, find the jurisdiction.

You will need to be sure of which jurisdiction is responsible for the maintenance of the road that you were traveling when the damage to the car happened.

All interstates and most state routes are maintained by ADOT. Pima County DOT is responsible for maintenance of the roads in unincorporated Pima County, except those in wildcat subdivisions and other rural areas that have not been accepted into the county's maintenance program. All the rest of the developed roads are maintained by the city or town in which they are located.

For example, Grant Road is maintained by Tucson DOT. Much of Sahuarita Road is maintained by the town of Sahuarita. The same is the case for Ina Road in Marana or LaCanada Dr in Oro Valley. Some sections of Tangerine, depending on which municipality the road passes through, is maintained by Marana, Pima County or Oro Valley DOTs.

Next, file a police report.

This is usually required for a reimbursement claim.

Take photos.

In addition to filing a damage claim you need to include pictures. If it's safe, take several pictures of not only the damage to your vehicle, but the location and try to show what you hit.

Claim denied?

If the government denies your claim, your only other option is to file a claim with your insurance under your comprehensive coverage. Your claim will most likely not raise your insurance rate, because in most cases there is a deductible that comes out of your pocket before the insurance company picks up the rest of the tab. The damage cost should exceed that deductible.

However, many drivers carry a liability-only coverage on older vehicles. In that situation, you are responsible for the full cost of repair of damage the vehicle sustained.

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