Car Fell into Sinkhole? Who Pays for the Damage?


Car Fell into Sinkhole? Who Pays for the Damage?

Malaysian roads are full of surprises. While the road you take to work and back home may be silky smooth today, there are chances for new potholes to appear in a matter of hours or even worse - a sinkhole, like what happened in Ampang a couple of weeks ago.

So, if your vehicle happens to fall into one, what do you do? Who pays for the damage?

It depends on a couple of things actually – where the sinkhole appeared, and what caused it?

If the sinkhole appeared on a highway, the responsible party would actually be the highway concessionaire – such as PLUS, KESAS, LITRAK just to name a few examples.

However, if the sinkhole is on a “Taman” road in a housing area, or in a township that falls under the jurisdiction of a local council like DBKL, MBSJ, MBSA, and so forth, then the local council will be responsible for the damage.

There are also roads that fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Works (Kementerian Kerja Raya, KKR). These are the roads that connect a highway to the B-road, trunk road, or short-cut, etc. 

And then, we have the million-dollar question of “what caused the sinkhole”. According to DBKL, the chances of the local council compensating for the damage caused by the sinkhole is actually very slim if it was caused by a natural disaster or something that is out of their control.

If the sinkhole is caused by a broken pipe or any underground pipe-related issues belonging to SYABAS, the local council will actually deal with them, which means that you will only be dealing with the local council.

However, regardless of where it happened and why it happened, it is best to ensure that you have signed up for natural disaster coverage under your vehicle’s insurance policy. Just make sure that the policy is comprehensive (first party) to be eligible to claim.

This is due to the fact that no claim can be made against the town council if the sinkhole is caused by natural disasters.

So, since prevention is better than cure, make sure that your vehicle’s insurance policy covers as much as possible, especially since natural disasters are a regular occurrence in our country.  

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