The law, nicknamed “no pay, no play,” prohibits uninsured motorists from collecting money for pain and suffering claims from the responsible driver after an accident, with certain provisions. Uninsured motorists can still collect claims if the responsible party was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, or if the uninsured driver’s policy lapsed fewer than six months before the accident. Uninsured motorists can also still collect compensation for things like hospital bills and property repairs.
The law was vetoed earlier this summer by the governor, but the Legislature successfully overrode the veto in a last minute vote last week. It was supported by insurance groups that argued the law will help push uninsured motorists into seeking auto insurance policies.
Missouri Association of Insurance Agents were one of the principal groups supporting the “no pay, no play” bill. Executive vice president Larry Case said he was “very happy” the Legislature overrode the veto.
“It was commonsense legislation,” said Case. “We were very pleased to see the Legislature override the veto. It’s an issue of fairness. It’s an issue of someone choosing not to play within the system, then trying to access rights they already rejected.”
According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), other states that have implemented similar laws saw new policies increase by 1.6 percent. In Missouri, the IRC estimates 13.7 percent of drivers are uninsured, while Case said his group estimates between 12.5 to 14% of motorists are uninsured. Case said even if this new law prompts only 1% of currently uninsured drivers to purchase new auto insurance policies, it would be a “significant” increase that would lessen costs for all policyholders.
“Anything that improves the number of insured folks is a positive,” said Case. “If we have 14% of people without health insurance, it’s called a ‘crisis.’ Auto insurance is a mandatory thing, and people are required to have insurance, we’re just looking for ways to make sure the law is followed.”
When Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoed the legislation, he stated it was “riddled with ambiguity.” Nixon also said he believed the bill would bring more litigation to the state, as the proposed law did not define what “uninsured motorist” meant exactly.
But Case called that veto message “nonsense,” and added that everyone understands what an uninsured motorist is.
“I didn’t see anything that’s vague,” Case said. “I think that’s just politics.”
Other states with “no pay, no play laws” include:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota