Lawn mower owners are calling for the state to do more to prevent an outbreak of lawn mowing sickness in Pennsylvania, where more than 40 percent of households lack the right to purchase a new mower.
State lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill requiring new owners to obtain a certificate of insurance from a third party.
But the bill is being challenged in court by a group of lawnmowers owners and advocates who say it’s a backdoor way for the insurance companies to make insurance claims against homeowners.
The state has about 13,000 registered owners of lawn-mowing machines and another 2,400 owners who have no insurance.
The insurance companies would be able to sue homeowners who fail to renew their policies, they said.
“The worst part is the fact that these folks are going to lose their insurance, they’re going to get sued,” said Bob Jones, owner of Jones Hill in Fairhope, Pennsylvania, which has about 2,300 mower operators.
Jones Hill has been on the market for nearly 20 years and had about 6,500 mower customers at the end of March.
If the state’s insurance requirements are lifted, he said, “We’ll be looking at that for a while.”
In Pennsylvania, mower buyers can purchase the right-of-way at a rate of up to $50,000 for the first year.
Many of those customers buy a mower for their family members, who often own two or more vehicles, said Jessica Lauer, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner.
However, the state has an existing program for property owners who do not have insurance.
Under the program, insurance companies pay premiums to the homeowners’ insurance carriers, but if the insurance carriers do not renew the policy within 90 days, the insurers are allowed to sue for $25,000.