Elder Fights to Protect Wallets after Polar Vortex

Bill prohibits insurance penalties for pothole damage as roads thaw
Thursday, February 14, 2019

LANSING — After weeks of radical temperature changes, state Rep. Brian K. Elder (D-Bay City) reintroduced his legislation from last term to prevent insurance companies from raising auto insurance rates when a driver submits a claim from pothole damage to his or her vehicle.

“Within recent weeks, Michigan’s temperatures have shifted by up to 60 degrees throughout the state, inevitably causing even more potholes to emerge,” said Elder. “Michigan families deserve smooth roads for safe travel to work, school and doctor appointments; they do not deserve to have their insurance rates hiked due to pothole damage that is outside of their control. As the Legislature begins addressing real solutions to fix our roads to last, we must provide working families this economic relief as well.”

Amid heavy opposition, Republicans passed a roads plan in 2015 meant to address Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure through, among other things, an increase in gas taxes and registration fees. Despite the additional costs to Michigan drivers, numerous reports have indicated the state is still massively underfunding the necessary repairs, which continue to cost motorists $4 billion annually in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs, equaling nearly $562 a year per driver. Elder’s House Bill 4167 would prevent an automobile insurer from establishing a rate or premium surcharge based on a claim for vehicle damage caused by a pothole.

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