Poor road conditions have cost consumers and the insurance industry at least $27 billion over the last five years, according to a 2014 survey commissioned by Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.
The survey also reveals that half of car owners have experienced damage to their vehicles as a result of potholes.
“Snow, ice and freezing rain during the winter months can create conditions that lead to accidents which may impact insurance rates, as premiums are determined by past claims, accidents and driving violations,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Trusted Choice president and IIABA president & CEO. “Potholes and poor road conditions aren’t just an inconvenience, they are an expensive and dangerous result of harsh winters.”
The pothole survey also found that 31 percent of car owners who reported pothole damage to their vehicles filed a claim with their insurance company. A surprising 65 percent of respondents who needed repairs said they (or a third party) paid out of pocket for the vehicle to be fixed. Only about 3 percent said local authorities stepped in to foot the bill. For about 40 percent of respondents, that bill was more than $500.
“This survey highlights how widespread the pothole problem is on our roadways and that the costs are astronomical to both the insurance industry and to consumers,” says Madelyn Flannagan, IIABA vice president of agent development, research and education.
While motorists in the Midwest, Northeast and North Central regions of the country reported the most pothole damage, surprisingly the numbers were not that different even in the Southern and Western regions which typically experience milder winters.
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