Who Pays the Bill if a Snow Plow Knocks Down My Mailbox in Kalamazoo or Battle Creek?
Whose fault is it? Will the county you live in or the state of Michigan pay to have it replaced if your mailbox is demolished by a snowplow? That depends...
We experience the beauty of all four seasons in Michigan, and sometimes the brutality. Winter storms can dump a massive amount of snow and ice in a short time, with the complications lasting for days.
It was simple when I lived in an apartment. Sure, I would sometimes be up and out the door before the maintenance crews had plowed the parking lots, but by the time I got home from work, everything was cleaned up. As a homeowner, I not only have to clear my own driveway so I can get in and out, I have to be a good neighbor and shovel the snow off the sidewalk too.
The County Road Commission has a much bigger job. They maintain a fleet of snowplows to clear the roads for safe travel. When bad weather is forecasted, the crews are put on alert to be ready to head for the county garage and climb into the cab to make the rounds. How long the job lasts depends on the size and duration of the storm.
Eventually, roads are cleared, intersections are sanded or salted, but sometimes there is collateral damage. In the contest of plow truck vs mailbox, the plow always wins. But who pays? If you've lived through a brutal Michigan winter, you may have been faced with this question. If the snowplow knocks down my mailbox, who pays to replace it?
As a rule of thumb, the county road commission will only pay if your mailbox is struck directly by a passing plow. Many boxes are knocked over as a result of snow being pushed from the roadway. That is literally the driver's job, and they will not compensate you for damage. Kalamazoo County Road Commission explicitly states, "the Board will not assume responsibility for mailbox damage that may be caused by snow/ice that is being plowed from the roadway." Calhoun Country Raod Commission also emphasizes durability and recommends that "residents should prepare mailboxes for winter by tightening screws and ensuring the post and receptacle are secure enough to endure large amounts of thrown snow." So, unless you see a driver hit your mailbox directly and you have it on camera, you are going to end up footing the bill for replacing your mailbox.