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How to Claim for Pothole Damage in South Africa the Easy Way

Did you drive into a pothole you didn’t see and now your tire or car is damaged? You can claim for it from insurance or sometimes even the government! Here’s how to claim for pothole damage in South Africa.

1. Find Out Who to Claim from for Pothole Damage

Before beginning your claim process, consider who you want to claim from. You won’t be able to claim from more than one party for the same damage. Claims for damage that overlap like this can be considered fraud, a serious criminal offence.

1. South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL)

If you sustain damage to vehicles driving on national roads maintained by SANRAL, they may be liable. To claim from them, you will need to be able to prove that they were negligent in not repairing a pothole that has already been reported.

SANRAL will often hold the contractors they hired to fix the pothole responsible for the damages from potholes on their roads. The claims process can be a bit lengthy, and whether your claim gets paid out depends on how strong your case is (see point 2 below).

2. Local Municipality

Not all municipalities will pay for damage you sustain on a municipal road, but in South Africa you can claim from the following municipalities:

– City of Johannesburg

– City of Cape Town

– eThekwini Municipality (Durban)

Each municipality has its own processes, which we go into later in this article. If you want to claim from your municipality for damage, it’s important to follow their process and provide all the required information and documentation.

3. Insurance Company

Some insurance policies include cover for vehicle damage due to potholes. You may need to provide quotes for repair and photos of the damage and the pothole. Some insurers may even send out an expert to assess the damage.

The assessor will look at the visible damage, damage to tyres, rim damage, and other related subsequent damage that could occur due to a pothole. Thanks to their insider experience and knowledge, they can often identify fraudulent damage or damage that doesn’t line up with the events the claimant has reported.

2. Prove What Happened to Avoid Insurance Fraud

Vehicle owners need to be able to prove what damage occurred, when it occurred, and which pothole caused the damage. Since some road users may attempt to process a fraudulent claim for financial reasons, having evidence is essential.

We suggest stopping on the same stretch of road to take photos of the pothole and your car’s damage immediately. Thanks to advanced technology, smart mobile phone users can also take videos. Some municipalities or insurers may want an accurate location to assess the pothole itself.

You may also need to prove that the pothole has been reported if claiming from SANRAL or your local municipal authority. If a pothole has already been reported to the municipal office or SANRAL, they have been negligent in not repairing an obvious road hazard, according to Arrive Alive.

3. Use Contact Details or Claim Forms to Start the Process

Whether you need a mere tyre replacement or roadside assistance and steering alignment, it’s important to follow the process established by the party you are claiming from. Here are the details of how to claim from each mentioned above.

How to Claim from SANRAL for Pothole Damage

According to SANRAL, claims for pothole damage are processed in the same way that vehicle insurance claims would be. To start, you can contact SANRAL directly via Ms N Gouws on 041-398-3200 and have the following information at hand:

Your ID Quotes for Cost of Repair (x3)
Your Driver’s License A Damage Report from a Profession Assessor
Affidavit Describing What Happened If Already Repaired, an Invoice for the Costs
Affidavit About Not Having Insurance (Where Applicable) A declaration you’ve signed about the incident
Vehicle Registration Information Proof of what happened in the form of photos and video

How to Claim from City of Johannesburg for Pothole Damage

After a damaging incident on roads within Johannesburg, you can submit a public liability claim to the municipality. This applies not only to vehicle damage due to potholes, but also to property damage or personal injury due to damaged or defective roads.

You can claim from the Johannesburg Roads Agency by filling in a claims form and sending it to [email protected] along with the required information in the below table. You can also call them on 011-491-5734 or 011-298-5168.

A certified copy of your ID Quotes for Cost of Repair (x3)
Your Driver’s License A Damage Report from a Profession Assessor or Repair Shop
Affidavit Describing What Happened commissioned at the police station confirming the damage that has occurred. If Already Repaired, an Invoice for the Costs
Affidavit About Not Having Insurance (Where Applicable) A declaration you’ve signed about the incident
Vehicle Registration Certificate (a copy) Proof of what happened in the form of colour photos of the damage and the pothole, including the location on the road.
Motor Vehicle License Certificate (a copy) Towing invoice where relevant (if claiming for two or more tyres)
Keep the original damaged tyres for inspection if it becomes necessary Purchase invoice for the original tyres that sustained damage and need to be replaced (a copy)

How to Claim from City of Cape Town for Pothole Damage

The city of Cape Town will require similar evidence and documentation. In order for your claim to be successful, it needs to be a pothole that was already previously reported that the city neglected to repair. Their road engineers will investigate the pothole and condition of the road.

You can submit a claim by visiting their offices at the below address or by contacting the relevant department with the below details.

Civic Centre

12 Hertzog Boulevard

Cape Town

[email protected]


How to Claim from eThekwini Municipality (Durban) for Pothole Damage

The municipality of eThekwini requires that the driver reporting the incident provide an exact location of the pothole and describe the condition of the road surface. They also want photos. You should also provide your name and contact details.

To submit a claim, you can visit 6th Floor, Florence Mkhize Building, 251 Anton Lembede Street in Durban or send the relevant forms and info to [email protected]

How to Claim from my Insurance Company for Pothole Damage

First, make sure that your policy includes cover for pothole damage. It may also offer roadside assistance and other benefits like payment for a towing service. Many insurance companies provide an email for insurance claims and detail the process from claiming in your policy documents.

As with the above parties, they may require proof of the damage, proof of payment for repair if you have already repaired the damage, and proof of the cost of damages. Be sure to check claim time-periods, since some insurers will only process claims within a certain timeframe, for example, within a month of the incident. Some insurers also want to inspect the damage, so it should not be immediately repaired without first contacting them.