Hit a pothole in the next few weeks, and you could also be hit in the wallet for a few years to come.
That’s because while there are untold thousands of potholes littering Manitoba streets, there are only two possible outcomes to vehicle insurance claims submitted to Manitoba Public Insurance: being assessed at fault or not at fault.
And Brian Smiley, an Autopac spokesman, said that could hit you with extra insurance and driver’s licence costs in the future.
Smiley said on average, MPI receives about 1,000 claims annually for vehicles damaged by potholes.
Drivers are responsible for the deductible.
“The average case is $3,000,” Smiley said. “Typically, we see bent rims, blown-out tires, broken shocks and ball-joint damage. The damage caused by potholes is obvious.
“If the vehicle has a valid Autopac policy, we will pay out on that claim. If someone deliberately tries to do major damage to write it off, we will look at it further.”
But Smiley said just because MPI pays for the damage, it doesn’t mean there aren’t continuing financial ramifications for the vehicle owner.
Under the system MPI uses for determining insurance rates, called the driver safety rating (DSR), if your rating is 15 — the highest possible safety rating — your driver’s licence will cost $35 and you’ll receive a 33 per cent discount on your vehicle insurance.
» Winnipeg Free Press
He said just as in an accident, Autopac claims personnel will judge who is at fault.
“If it is obvious to the adjuster that the driver took no evasive action and they didn’t slow down, they will be found at fault,” Smiley said, adding it will cost the driver five demerits.
But drop five points — the penalty for being assessed responsible for a collision, including hitting a pothole — and your driver’s licence will now cost you $40 and you’ll only get a 26 per cent insurance discount.
“Not everyone is found at fault,” Smiley said. “Several hundred will be found at fault, but also hundreds are not found at fault. Every claim is reviewed on an individual basis. Our adjusters will use their knowledge to assess liability.”
Smiley said depending on the amount of damage, versus how much a vehicle owner’s deductible is (they range from $100 to $500), and the effect on the DSR, an owner may decide to pay for the cost of repairs himself.
» Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 24, 2014