Getting caught driving without insurance in the Green Mountain State is soon to become more costly.
When a bill recently signed into law by the governor takes effect, the fines for driving uninsured will jump from a maximum of $100 to between $250 and $500.
Vermont has been estimated to have one of the lowest rates of uninsured drivers. According to the most recent report from the Insurance Research Council, only about 7 percent of the state’s motorists lacked a policy in 2009.
Vermont had the fifth lowest rate. States like Tennessee, New Mexico and Mississippi have uninsured rates that are estimated to be three or four times as high as Vermont’s.
Lawmakers have introduced at least two other coverage-related bills this session, but neither has seen much action.
One of the bills (HB 326) would adjust the state-set minimums for liability coverage to account for inflation.
The other (HB 297) would lay the groundwork to make usage-based or pay-as-you-drive insurance policies more widely available in the state.
Vermonters already have access to the Snapshot discount auto insurance program from Progressive that gives price breaks for driving fewer miles and having safe driving habits, but the bill would prime the pump for additional usage-based programs to be introduced.
The legislation would call for state regulators to craft regulations for usage-based programs in the state and require insurers to offer policies featuring usage-based rates.
Both of those bills are still in the House Transportation Committee.