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Who's paying for your vehicle damage from Michigan potholes? Probably you.

POTHOLE CANTON
Posted at 8:02 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 20:02:16-05

(WXYZ) — If you’ve driven around metro Detroit, it's clear it's pothole season. And while most of us try to be on the look out for the craters in the road, every year thousands of people deal with damage to their cars.

Hitting a pothole in the state of Michigan is fairly common, but getting reimbursed for damages to your car, not as likely.

Zader Zahr, the VP of Dream Luxury Car Rentals in Southfield, said in the past month, they have spent nearly $40,000 in repairs from potholes.

"It's a lot of money out of pocket right now, it's really becoming a serious matter for us,” said Sam Zahr, the company’s director of operations. He says insurance will not cover the cost of damages without hiking up their monthly rates and despite submitting claims to local and state municipalities, the claims are denied.

"The roads are just deteriorating,” said April Dunn. She has to take Haggerty Road between Ecorse and Van Born to get to work and it's riddled with potholes. Last year, she hit one so hard, it caused more than $1,000 in damages to car. But when she submitted a claim, it was denied, too.

"I'm feeling very aggravated, because but I feel I should not have to make a claim and pay for something that is the Wayne County's responsibility,” she said.

“Unfortunately that’s the case the majority of the time,” Craig Bryson, the Oakland County Road Commission spokesperson. He says out of the hundreds of claims his department receives a year, less than a handful of people actually get reimbursed for damages. And there are a few reasons.

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First, Bryson says people need to know who to contact. According to an MDOT spokesperson, more than half of the claims they receive annually are for roads they are not responsible for. They only deal with roads starting with an M, I or US.

City and county roads are a little more challenging, the best way is to look up a jurisdiction map. Before you submit a claim, take a picture of the pothole, the damage to your car and an estimate for repairs. And document when you first alerted services, because legally the state has 30 days to address a problem before they have to reimburse someone for damages.

But Bryson says crews have been working overtime trying to patch up the roads.

Related: Oakland County road workers spending 60 to 80 hours a week patching potholes

"We don’t want they to have to pay to fix a tire or to have their car damaged and we want the potholes fixed as much as they do,” said Bryson.

To report a pothole problem, here's a list of resources:

For MDOT, reporting a pothole: https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9615_30883---,00.html

For MDOT, seeking reimbursement for damage: https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9615_30883_85656---,00.html

Report a pothole in Oakland County: https://www.rcocweb.org/184/How-to-Report-Potholes

File a claim in Oakland County: https://www.rcocweb.org/276/File-a-Damage-Claim

To report a pothole and file a damage claim in Wayne County: https://www.waynecounty.com/departments/publicservices/roads.aspx

In Macomb County, motorists can report a pothole here: https://roads.macombgov.org/Roads-Departments-Maintenance
And to try to get reimbursement: https://roads.macombgov.org/Roads-FAQs

In Detroit, start with the Improve Detroit app.