The freezing and thawing cycle of Michigan winters are notorious for leaving roadways throughout the area ravaged by potholes. These potholes are often the culprit for vehicle damages including tires, rims, suspension – in some instances even damages to the body of your car.

A question that naturally arises when a motorist suffers the misfortune of striking a pothole or other debris in the roadway is whether their Michigan auto insurance policy covers this type of damage.

The good news is hitting a pothole or other debris in the roadway would be covered providing your auto policy includes collision coverage on the vehicle involved.

The bad news, according to his MLive article, is the majority of insurance companies consider these types of incidents at-fault accidents. This means your collision deductible would apply and filing a claim would affect your future rates and, potentially, your eligibility for insurance. Depending on the extent of damages it may not be in your best interest to turn in a claim in this situation.

Insurance companies that consider hitting a pothole or other debris in a roadway an at-fault accident reason a person driving safely and maintaining proper distance between vehicles should be able to see and avoid road hazards.

In my opinion, that reasoning is flawed: A person can be driving perfectly safely and still encounter a pothole or other hazard in the roadway that they are unable to avoid. In some instances a pothole filled with snow or water may not even be visibly discernible as a hazard before a driver encounters it.

Fortunately, some insurance companies differentiate themselves by providing a more common sense interpretation for these types of occurrences. Our premier company, Fremont Insurance, states: “We hold to the principle that if an insured strikes an object in the roadway that they wouldn’t reasonably expect to be in the road (excluding animals)* it is considered a not-at-fault collision loss.”

If you’ve received a disheartening response to a potential claim inquiry from your insurance company it may be worthwhile to reconsider whether your insurance policy is providing the best value for your premium dollars.

Click here to read an article that provides some additional questions to consider when comparing insurance companies and policies.

* Striking an animal in a roadway would be covered under the comprehensive coverage portion of an auto policy.

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