Michigan bill would forbid insurance hikes for pothole claims

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, July 11, 2014

A Michigan bill would protect drivers from insurance hikes for certain claims.

Rep. Marilyn Lane, D-Fraser, introduced a bill that would prevent insurance companies from raising vehicle insurance rates when a driver submits a claim for pothole damage. Specifically, the bill would prohibit vehicle insurance companies from setting a rate or premium surcharge based on a prior claim for damage caused by a pothole.

“It is certainly not the driver’s fault that potholes exist on our streets and roads, and it is absolutely not the driver’s fault that a pothole can’t be avoided and damages their (vehicle),” Lane said in a news release.

She also said that drivers shouldn’t face higher rates because the state’s roadways are “a mess after one of the worst winters in recent memory.”

Lane’s bill follows recent action at the statehouse to provide a shot in the arm for Michigan roads damaged during the winter weather. State lawmakers approved a mid-fiscal year 2014 budget supplemental that routes $215 million for pothole repairs.

Critics say that if insurance companies aren’t allowed to pass along the cost of pothole repairs to individual policyholders, the costs will be shifted to all policyholders.

Lane said “drivers shouldn’t be forced to pay higher premiums because of Lansing’s inability to fix roads.”

HB5456 is in the House Insurance Committee.

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