Mo. Bill Mandates Insurance for Emissions, Inspection Stations

A Missouri bill that would require inspection stations to carry liability coverage that covers damages to patrons’ cars when they are checked has moved through two state House committees in recent weeks.

The legislation, backed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, was spurred by a constituent who lost a car door at an inspection station, according to Sen. Robin Wright-Jones (D-St. Louis), the bill’s sponsor.

When one of her constituents took her car in for an inspection, “the gentleman at this inspection station lost control, ripped off one of the doors to her car, and he didn’t have insurance to fix her vehicle,” Wright-Jones said in a statement, adding that the woman had to dip into her own liability policy to cover the damages.

SB 504 was passed by the state House Transportation Committee on May 2 and Rules Committee on May 10. It was sent out of the state Senate by a 25-8 vote in late March.

Sen.Wright-Jones said the stations should have liability coverage as a “prudent business practice.”

The legislation would fix what Wright-Jones said is an unfair situation for drivers who are required to both have liability coverage on their cars and have those cars checked at emissions and safety inspection stations that aren’t required to carry the same liability coverage.

“Since we are required to have insurance on our vehicles, anyone who is required by law to perform these certain inspections should be covered as well,” Wright-Jones said in a statement.

Without an inspection having liability coverage, consumers who get cheap auto insurance by dropping things like comprehensive and collision coverage, which cover the insured car’s own damages, actually could have to pay for repairs sustained at an inspection station themselves.

Government entities will not be affected financially by SB 504, according to a state fiscal analysis of the legislation, although “small-business inspection stations” without liability coverage would have to purchase policies if the measure is enacted.

Missouri legislators have considered similar measures before sponsored by Wright-Jones, who authored SB 45 in 2011, SB 687 in 2010 and HB 2588 in 2008, according to Stephen Witte, a staff attorney with the state Senate.

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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