Trenton, NJ – (WiredPRNews.com) New Jersey media sources are reporting that the small city of Salem’s city council has adopted an ordinance allowing its fire department to pass on to car insurance companies part of the cost of responding to accidents.
According to members of the fire department and city council, the bills will not end up being issued to residents. If a New Jersey auto insurance company does not recognize the fee as valid and it goes unpaid, there is no charge.
The maximum amount that could be charged for responding to a vehicle fire would be $750, and the city’s fire chief has said that the fees will not be levied in every instance of emergency response.
Salem is certainly not the first city to adopt this practice.
In fact, at least 10 states have already banned accident-response fees after they were implemented in cities within their borders.
Proponents of the fees say that they are necessary in light of ailing municipal budgets and that the bottom line is insurers are the ones who end up getting charged, not residents.
Opponents say that the fees amount to a double tax, since residents already pay for emergency municipal services through local taxes. They go on to say that even though insurers are the ones footing the bill, policyholders still ultimately get charged as a result of coverage providers’ raising rates to compensate for the extra losses.
In any event, the Salem bills may simply end up going unpaid. In a 2008 report delivered to the Florida Senate before legislators banned the practice, a member of the industry that handles billing for accident fees reported that, nationwide, only 56 percent of car insurance providers end up paying them.
To find out more about car insurance in New Jersey, readers can go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/new-jersey/ where visitors will find informative resource pages and a free quote-comparison generator that can be used to help find the lowest rates for a policy.
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