‘No Pay, No Play’ Car Insurance Bill Approved by Kansas Legislature

[For an update on recent action taken related to this bill, read the article "Kansas ‘No Pay, No Play’ and ‘Crash Tax’ Bills Signed into Law"]

Both houses of the Kansas Legislature have given the OK to a bill that would stop motorists from recovering non-economic damages after an accident if they were uninsured or driving under the influence when the crash happened.

This type of law — often referred to as “no pay, no play” — has already been put in place in a handful of states with the intention that it will further discourage motorists from driving uninsured. About 1-in-10 motorists in Kansas lacked basic auto insurance in 2009, according to a recent estimate from the Insurance Research Council.

Under the current “no pay, no play” proposal, uninsured motorists involved in serious crashes would still be eligible to have medical and repair bills covered by the other party’s insurance. But they could not successfully sue for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, humiliation or emotional distress.

The ‘no pay, no play’ bill was passed with overwhelming majorities in the legislature. The vote in the house was 111-13, and the vote in the senate was 39-0. It now awaits approval from the governor.

Kansas lawmakers tried to institute similar “no pay, no play” measures in 2006 and 2008. The 2006 bill was nearly identical to the one currently being debated. The bill introduced in 2008, HB 2378, would have barred uninsured motorists from collecting on property damage claims, regardless of fault. Both ultimately failed.

Similar legislation is currently being debated by lawmakers in Minnesota, Tennessee, Montana and Oklahoma.

In Montana, state representatives passed ‘no pay, no play’ legislation. But the governor, saying that it established a punishment that did not fit the crime, ultimately vetoed the proposal.

The Oklahoma bill awaits a vote from the second house, and the Minnesota and Tennessee bills have yet to make it out of committee.

Opponents of “no pay, no play” laws often say that uninsured motorists lack policies not because they don’t want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in premiums every year but because they are unable to.

Supporters of “no pay, no play” say motorists breaking the law by driving uninsured should not be able to benefit from others’ being in compliance with the law. They also note that any measure that tempers claims costs and discourages motorists from driving uninsured ultimately could help maintain consumers’ access to low cost auto insurance.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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