The state’s legislators are now getting behind efforts to stop rates from rising from pothole damage claims.
A long winter of extreme weather has now brought about a rather nasty pothole season in Michigan, and the state’s House of Representatives are now looking into a bill that has recently been introduced to help to control the impact that this will have on auto insurance premiums as claims from damage start pouring in.
The bill is meant to help to keep premiums from rising because a claim was made for pothole damage.
Rep. Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser) originally introduced H.B. 5456 on April 17, with the goal of stopping auto insurance companies from being able to change the premium, surcharge, or rating classification of policyholders based on having made a claim regarding pothole damage to a vehicle. What this means is that the bill, should it pass, would stop an insurer from raising premiums in the case that they are required to make a payment for a claim for pothole damage to a covered vehicle.
The auto insurance bill was inspired by a fellow House member who was heard discussing this type of rate rise.
Lane explained that she created the bill and introduced it after she heard a fellow member of the house talking about a rate increase that was applied to a policy following a pothole damage claim. This is what made her aware that the problem existed in the first place. The bill has now shown to be quite popular among the Michigan legislators, as 50 have already added their own signatures as co-sponsors.
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That said, the support for the insurance rate hike preventing bill is not without its controversy. The director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan, Pete Kuhnmeunch, has expressed that it doesn’t make a great deal of sense, as “Some insurance companies don’t charge for pothole claims and some do.” He also said that “Policyholders should check to see what their policy does and doesn’t cover.”
In Kuhnmeunch’s opinion, the auto insurance policies that do provide this protection are also frequently based on an opinion that the majority of pothole damage can be avoided by keeping a safe distance between vehicles so that potholes can be spotted before they are struck, and to drive more slowly so that the opportunity for damage isn’t as great. That said, he also acknowledges that avoidance isn’t always an option for drivers in every circumstance.