Uninsured in OK? You Can’t Sue

Posted & filed under Oklahoma Car Insurance, Uninsured Motorists.

The state of Oklahoma is trying to improve the number of drivers in the state who carry mandatory liability insurance. Since a state law requiring such coverage is apparently not enough, a committee of the state’s House of Representatives has voted to prohibit uninsured drivers from being allowed to sue for vague “pain and suffering” damages after they’re in an accident.

Speaking about this issue, state Representative George Faught (R – Muskogee) said, “There have to be greater consequences for uninsured drivers. If you or I are hit by an uninsured driver, there’s no insurance company to pay our actual losses, let alone ‘pain and suffering’ claims. Why should those same uninsured drivers be treated better than law-abiding citizens in a court of law?”

Under Faught’s new bill, House Bill 1045, the “maximum amount” an uninsured driver would be allowed to receive in a post-accident lawsuit would be limited to the “…amount of medical costs, property damage, and lost income.”

The bill would prevent uninsured motorists from suing for non-specific “pain and suffering” awards that so often result in huge settlements, though there are exemptions for uninsured drivers being hit by drunk drivers, or for when they’re passengers in someone else’s car during a wreck. It is felt that this prohibition could reduce the cost of auto insurance in Oklahoma.

Several official estimates over recent years have pointed to Oklahoma as having one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the United States.

Faught addressed this, saying, “We currently require drivers to carry liability insurance so they can pay for any damages they cause in an accident, but the law has no teeth. As a result, uninsured drivers get to bypass premiums, avoid liability, and still collect large awards if they are in an accident.” He added, “It’s time we made the system favor law-abiding citizens more than people who break the law.”

House Bill 1045 now moves to the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives for debate, amendments and a vote.

Ratewatch: Median Rates Go DOWN in California

Posted & filed under California Car Insurance, Rate Watch.

The Sacramento Bee is reporting today that California’s median six-month auto insurance rate has decreased by roughly 3 percent over the last year, to reach $809. Over the same period, the national median has also declined. The national median is now $675, or about 5.5% lower.

Quoting InsWeb, the Bee said that California men pay higher premiums than women with six-month medians of $836 and $772, respectively.

As well, the story says, drivers aged nineteen and under pay a median of $2,141 for a six month car insurance policy, while those just a bit older, in the 20-24 segment pay about a thousand dollars less, with their median cost being $1,154.

The lowest median rate in California goes to the 50-59-year-old drivers, who pay $654.

A three percent shift in the cost of auto insurance is considered relatively minor. The Bee also notes that California hasn’t had any major auto-insurance-related legislation that affected rates in the past year. Instead, rates are affected most by the average value of vehicles and the annual new-car sales in the Golden state. In the last year, the latter number decreased from roughly 1.6 million sales to about a million. The current trend among drivers is to retain older cars, or buy used vehicles, both of which generally come with cheaper insurance.

YouTube Tuesday

Posted & filed under DUI, YouTube Tuesday.

Many states are now requiring Ignition Interlock devices for people with repeat DUI convictions. Some states are even requiring them for first-time DUIs. But how do they really function? Here’s a video from a person who actually has to use one.

Washington State Refines PAYD Bill

Posted & filed under Pay-as-you-Drive Insurance, Washington Car Insurance.

The Senate Committee on Financial Institutions, Housing, & Insurance in Washington state has refined a proposal to allow the use of PAYD (pay as you drive) methods to be the primary method of determining drivers’ insurance rates. The PAYD bill, also known as Senate Bill 5730, would allow insurers to offer lower rates to those drivers with lower mileage, while, in turn, motorists would be encouraged to drive less in order to save money on insurance, gas, and vehicle maintenance. That would, in turn, reduce accidents, congestion and pollution, say the bill’s supporters.

According to Kenton Brine, the assistant vice president for the Northwest region for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, there’s nothing in place that actually prevents insurance companies from offering PAYD programs in Washington.

“What is stopping [more] insurers from offering PAYD in Washington, is that once they file an underwriting and rating plan, it becomes available for public inspection,” Brine explained. PCIs western region public affairs director Nicole Mahrt added that insurance companies generally want their proprietary trade information kept private.

The substitute bill that passed out of the Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance committee, however, now includes language provided by the insurance industry, which says that rating plans and models are protected as trade secrets, and the language in the original PAYD bill that would have required insurance companies to give discounts for all motor vehicle liability policies for vehicles with fewer than 5,000 miles driven per year was also removed.

Brine added, “If that legislation [with the revised language] passes, there will be, I’m certain, more insurance companies that will come into the state writing that PAYD product.”