Missouri Governor Rejects ‘No Pay, No Play’ Car Insurance Bill

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon rejected a bill that would have instated “no pay, no play” auto insurance laws affecting uninsured motorists in the state, citing vagueness in the piece of legislation that he said would lead to court battles over who receives crash-related compensation.

The proposal would have barred motorists that lack insurance coverage from receiving compensation for “noneconomic damages” like pain and suffering after a car crash. The reasoning behind such laws is that drivers who break the law by getting behind the wheel without insurance should be prohibited from getting compensation through other drivers’ coverage after a crash.

“It is riddled with ambiguity that will generate excessive litigation over how and to whom its provisions would apply,” the governor said about the bill in his veto message, issued July 3.

Missouri lawmakers had passed HB 339 in May.

Gov. Nixon said that the bill’s unclear provisions included an inadequate definition of “uninsured motorist.”

According to the governor, the bill offered no definition of “uninsured” while defining instances in which an uninsured driver faces prohibitions under the no pay, no play proposal.

“Given the magnitude of barring an individual’s access to the courts, it is unacceptable to leave this key term open to interpretation,” he said, calling the term uninsured motorist “the very crux of the bill.”

HB 339 was also unclear in whether it limited an uninsured motorist’s recovery of certain damages or barred them from “a cause of action in its entirety,” according to the governor.

Other States Enforce ‘No Pay, No Play’

A total of 10 states currently enforce such laws:
–New Jersey
–North Dakota

Oklahoma enacted “no pay, no play” provisions in November 2011, the last state to do so. Oklahoma lawmakers sought to harden the law this year with senators approving SB 691, which would bar uninsured motorists from seeking any kind of award in court after a crash. The bill has not seen any action since being recommended out of a House committee in April.

States with no pay, no play laws can cut both premium costs and the number of motorists without coverage, according to a study from the Insurance Research Council released last December.

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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