Owner of car ‘swallowed’ by caved-in road may have tough time making insurance claim

26 Nov 2019 / 11:48 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: It would have been a major shock, but for the woman who drove straight into a gaping sinkhole on Sunday night, all is not lost.

A quick check by theSun showed that while she would not be able to seek compensation for being scared out of her wits, she would at least be able to claim for repairs to her car.

The 42-year-old was driving along Jalan Maharajalela, on her way to Jalan Loke Yew, when she spotted the sinkhole.

However, she could not stop in time, and her car plunged into the 3m deep cavity in the 11.35pm incident. Half of the car was literally swallowed by the hole. Fortunately, she was not hurt.

However, claiming compensation for the damage to her car may not be easy.

For a start, it has to be ascertained which party was responsible for the mishap.

Jalan Maharajalela comes under the jurisdiction of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). However, in a statement issued yesterday afternoon, DBKL pointed out that the sinkhole had been caused by leaking underground water pipes, that belong to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas).

DBKL said it pulled the car out of the sinkhole with the help of the police, but it was Syabas that sent its contractors to repair the pipes.

“The situation returned to normal at noon on Monday,” DBKL Corporate Planning Department director Khairul Azmir Ahmad said in the statement.

When contacted, Syabas declined comment. In a text message to theSun, its corporate communications officer said the case was “under investigation”.

A senior insurance executive familiar with such claims said the car owner could seek compensation from the insurance agency or the company responsible for the maintenance of the road where the incident occurred. In this case, it could be either Syabas or DBKL.

“If the sinkhole was caused by a burst pipe as claimed by DBKL and Syabas is the party responsible for its maintenance, then she should seek compensation from the water supply company.”

However, he said it could be a lengthy process.

“If the vehicle owner has only basic or third-party coverage, she has no choice but to seek compensation through this option or pay for the repairs herself.”

If the claimant has a comprehensive insurance policy for the vehicle, a claim could be filed with the insurer but she would lose her no-claim bonus.

The incident occurred close to a Rapid KL transit station but the rail transport provider said they were not affected.

In another case, a video on social media showed a taxi stuck in a sinkhole that appeared near the KL Twin Towers yesterday, also as a result of burst pipes.

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