In an effort to help raise money for local municipalities, crash response fees are charged to individuals in car collisions to help recoup some of the money it takes for police, firefighters and emergency personnel to respond to an accident. Arizona is one of the many states that instituted the crash response fees to take advantage of the extra revenue potential.
These crash response fees have caused controversy for a couple of reasons. A big part of the lack of support for these fees comes from the fact that Arizona residents already pay taxes that are supposed to go towards these emergency response services. That means drivers are paying twice for the same service. Concerns over the fact that individuals in an accident may avoid calling for assistance because of the fees are also valid. Another effect of these crash response fees is that the fees get added to motorist’s auto insurance claims. This ultimately causes Arizona car insurance rates to rise as well.
However, in early 2010 the governor of Arizona implemented a law banning these crash response fees. While the crash response fees are not unprecedented in the United States, reversing the decision to utilize them is not as common. To be fair, not all of the crash response fees have been eliminated. Some of the charges for ambulance services, property damage, and extended services to outlying areas may still apply.
The benefits of reversing these fees have already begun. Since the ban in spring of 2010, auto insurance rates in Arizona have decreased. The Arizona Department of Insurance is reporting a decrease in policy premiums for 2010. The average policy went from $1,149 in 2009 to $1,081 by the end of 2010. This may not all be the result of the banning of crash response fees but it is certainly a significant factor.
With a poor economy, finding affordable car insurance is a priority for many drivers. Arizona has plenty of competing auto insurance companies. Therefore, motorists should be able to save money with many of the discounts these companies offer to encourage new customers to sign up. However, with bank and insurance fees increasing across the country, having Arizona car insurance decrease is a promising and hopeful trend. The crash response fees may have helped emergency personnel to keep up with their expenses, but the lack of fees directly improves the financial bottom line for Arizona drivers.