What are accident response fees?
  What you should know about accident response fees
Why communities are lured into these programs
  Collection fee companies:  Much to gain—everyone else loses
  In the news
  Does your community charge accident response fees?
  What you can do
  Comments from readers
  Other fee-related questions
  View our political cartoons
  Contact us

Bowing in part to public pressure, (Tampa FL) Mayor Pam Iorio killed a plan Tuesday that would have allowed the fire department to charge for responding to motor vehicle accidents.
"I just don't think it's worth it for what we're going to get from it," Iorio said. "And the ill will. The sentiment seemed to be, 'This is what we pay taxes for.'"

South Florida News Sentinel, June 20, 2007

Why communities are lured into these programs

It’s easy to see why local communities are attracted to such programs. Crash-strapped municipalities find revenue-generating proposals much more attractive alternatives to budget cutting or raising local taxes.  And collection companies paint a picture that’s hard to ignore.

  • Some billing fee companies help write the city ordinance that authorizes them, on behalf of your city police or fire department, to bill your insurance company. 

  • Some of these companies have the technology to bill your insurer without your knowledge.

  • Collection companies don’t usually charge your city directly for this service.  Instead, they take a percentage of the fees collected.

  • Since some of the companies don’t charge for this service, a public bidding process may not be necessary.  This means that you may not even be aware that your community or the one where you work (and to which you pay income tax) has an accident response fee ordinance in place.

  • Some billing companies cast insurance companies as an industry with “deep pockets” that cover just about anything.  False!  Auto insurance is based on risk and the cost associated with specific protection for you and your passengers, your car, and damages you cause to others.  You pay a premium based on this protection.  It is not the financial obligation of your insurance company to underwrite police and fire services.  These are provided by city government and funded by the taxes you pay.

  • Communities that use a billing company for such services have no financial obligation to them.  It’s the “If you build it they will come…” mindset; with the collection company saying, “If we bill them (insurance companies), they will pay!” 


Copyright © 2009 accidentresponsefees.cominfo@accidentresponsefees.com