Several Insurance-Related Laws Go into Effect on July 1

July will bring changes for motorists in several states with a number of already-approved laws kicking in on the first day of the month.

Idaho to See New Electronic Proof, Texting Laws

In Idaho, SB 1319 will go into effect on July 1, permitting drivers to use their mobile phones to show digital copies of their insurance card or policy documents to authorities as proof that they have coverage.

Trade groups applauded the measure, which received strong support from the Legislature before it was approved by the governor there in March.

Another piece of legislation from the state Senate, SB 1274, goes into effect on July 1, prohibiting texting behind the wheel and defining penalties for the infraction. The new law institutes an $85 fine for violators and makes the infraction a primary offense, meaning police can pull over any suspected offenders and cite them for that violation alone.

Language in the law specifically states that such violations cannot be considered moving violations that insurers could use as a reason to raise rates on a policyholder.

In Tennessee, Police Granted Wider Arrest Powers at Crashes

HB 2466 in Tennessee requires that drivers involved in serious crashes provide proof of insurance and their driver’s license or be arrested at the scene.

The legislation was introduced as the “Ricky Otts Act,” named after a 59-year-old crash victim killed in 2010 by a motorist who did not have proof of Tennessee car insurance or a driver’s license at the time of the crash. In April, House representatives unanimously voted for the bill while senators supported it in a 21-10 vote.

Legislators said they were seeking harsher consequences for motorists who are involved in severe collisions but break the law because they are on the road without proper driving documents.

Michigan Drivers to See Fee Increase

Also beginning July 1, drivers in Michigan will start paying a little more to support the state entity funding the no-fault coverage system there.

The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) oversees the fund that reimburses insurers for claims exceeding $500,000. Claims in the state can run relatively higher than most states because of no-fault laws there that allow policyholders lifetime medical coverage for crash-related expenses, a one-of-a-kind system used by no other state in the U.S.

The MCCA fee is charged per-vehicle to insurers, but policyholders generally pay for that in the form of higher premiums.

The MCCA fee will increase $30, from $145 to $175. It was $143 in 2010, $125 in 2009, and $104 in 2008

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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