Auto Insurance Companies May Receive ‘Crash-Tax’ Bills

Aftermath of auto accidentOut-of-town drivers going through Surf City beware — the city of Huntington Beach, Calif., will be levying fines on non-resident motorists who cause accidents that require the city’s emergency services. Huntington Beach City Council members voted earlier this week in favor of billing non-residents for use of their resources.

Expenses could run drivers thousands of dollars, depending on the services used. Motorists could be billed $405 an hour for each fire truck that responds to the scene, $750 for car fires and almost $2,000 if a person needs to be extracted from a vehicle.

The bill will be given to car insurance companies, and at-fault motorists without auto insurance coverage may receive the bill directly. However, Insurance Information Network’s Tully Lehman says that he doubts insurers will cover the fines.

“It’s not something that’s covered by the auto policy,” Lehman told the Orange County Register.

It has been estimated by the city that approximately 300 car accidents are caused by out-of-town drivers in Huntington Beach each year. While officials estimate that the new law will bring in $100,000 a year, Tully told the paper that most cities that have adopted such a policy have not seen as much revenue as they thought they would.

Several other communities in Orange County have begun charging motorists for emergency services, including Fullerton, Garden Grove, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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