Bill would ban insurance hikes for pothole damage claims

Posted at 8:53 AM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 13:57:46-05

Mid-Michigan drivers are trying to dodge potholes these days. And if you hit a pothole and it damages your car, a state lawmaker doesn't think your insurance premium should go up.

With the recent warmer weather, the big holes are everywhere. And while drivers try to avoid them, many often don't see them until they hit it. Democrat Brian Elder of Bay City introduced a bill that would prevent insurance companies from hiking auto insurance rates if a driver submits a claim for damage from a pothole.

“As temperatures change quickly, and our roads are subjected to all manner of weather, we’ve once again entered pothole season in Michigan,” said Rep. Elder. “When the snow begins to melt, new, deeper and more problematic potholes are going to emerge — that’s just inevitable. What we can do, however, is ensure that Michigan drivers are not penalized for our state’s bad roads.”

Experts say for the most part, insurers think drivers are in control and should be able to avoid hitting a pothole. Drivers can file claims with the Michigan Department of Transportation, but few claims are ever paid out.

Rep. Patrick Green (D-Warren), a co-sponsor of the bill, praised Rep. Elder for taking initiative to protect motorist rights.

“The condition of roads in Michigan is indicative of a broader need to update our infrastructure statewide,” said Rep. Green. “The financial burden of damage caused by potholes should not fall on the consumer, especially when the state is not yet taking sufficient steps to solve this problem.”

“Hiking insurance rates after pothole damage is essentially punishing Michigan drivers for using our roads,” said Rep. Elder. “Those potholes are not the fault of the driver, and they are unavoidable unless you stay off the road altogether. That is just not an option for the hardworking men and women of our state, many of whom have to commute for work. Protecting our drivers has to be a priority.”

We'll will be following the story and let you know if the bill passes.