A new bill which recently passed the Senate, could provide much needed relief to West Virginia drivers who for the longest time have been paying one of the highest auto insurance premiums in the country. In fact, the average auto coverage fee in the state is double that of most states. With the new bill, police officers would be required to equip their patrol vehicles with online devices that have access to active insurance policies in the state. If an uninsured driver gets caught by police, his registration would be nullified in addition to paying hefty fines. Supporters of the bill hope that in the long run, uninsured people moved by the fear of being apprehended and having to pay large sums of money for penalties would get coverage.
One of the major reasons why the state suffers from high insurance fees is that there’s a low number of laws against uninsured drivers, which gives insurers a valid reason to hike rates. This prompted some sectors and legislators to take action.
By law, all motorists are required to have a proof of insurance in their vehicles. However, some clever drivers get insurance for the benefit of having their cars registered and then later on cancel their coverage. What’s making this practice convenient for many individuals is that they are issued cards by their insurance companies that would indicate the timeframe by which their insurance would remain valid — which on average a policy is good for six months — when they get approved for coverage. So even if they cancel their policies, their cards would still show that their insurance is still active, which would not present a problem if they get apprehended by police.
With the computerized verification system in place, police would be able to find out if drivers have active policies or not; and issue citations for those found to be uninsured. Lawmakers are hopeful that the bill would not only lessen the number of uninsured drivers but most importantly bring the cost of auto insurance down in West Virginia.
Some sectors are questioning the legality of the proposed legislation as it appears that it may violate privacy laws. However, these fears seem to be unfounded as police only have access to information about insurance policies of drivers and would not require or view other personal information.
Auto insurance companies so far appear disinterested to support the bill, since they are making more money with the current system. Should the bill pass Congress and becomes a full-fledged law, experts predict that insurers’ profits would take a hit, as they would be compelled to lower their premiums.