Lawmakers Pass Idaho’s Insurance Verification Bill, Kill Mississippi’s

A proposal to set up a database that would allow police and other state officials to more accurately determine whether drivers have proper car insurance coverage in place got the final OK from the Idaho Legislature last week, while a similar proposal in Mississippi died before getting any more than a committee vote.

While only a small portion of drivers in Idaho are believed to be on the roads without proper coverage, the new database could entice the remaining few thousand to generate some online auto insurance quotes to find a policy and get covered quickly.

The database will work by matching up policy data submitted by insurers with car registration data compiled by the state. When a car appears to be registered but has no matching policy information, chances are it’s uninsured and the owner is breaking the law.

Lawmakers expect that the database should be up and running by January 2014.

There’s a $75 fine the first time an Idaho resident is caught driving without coverage, and any further offenses within five years could mean fines of up to $1,000.

But in Idaho only a relatively small portion of the driving public is on the road without coverage. According to projections made by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), only 8 percent of the state’s 1.06 million licensed drivers was uninsured in 2009.

That’s compared with a national average of 13.8 percent.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in the state with what has been estimated to be the worst uninsured motorist problem in the country recently let a bill that would have set up a database there die.

That state is Mississippi, where the IRC estimates 28 percent of motorists lacked coverage in 2009.

This is the second year in a row that the Magnolia State has seen an insurance verification bill die during the legislative process.

Last year, a bill that was nearly identical to the one submitted this session got approval from both houses of the Legislature and made it all the way to then-Gov. Haley Barbour’s desk.

Gov. Barbour ultimately vetoed the measure. He said it was due to cost concerns and worries that the proposal would put too much of a burden on the Department of Public Safety.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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