Mandatory Auto Insurance – Ha

Alabama instituted mandatory auto insurance in 1999.  A lot of good that did.  What good is mandatory insurance if it is not properly enforced.  What many have done is apply and obtain insurance only to let it lapse after they get their tag.

The Insurance Research Council has reported that twenty-five percent (25%) of Alabama drivers lacked insurance between 1999-2004.  According to the study, the percentage hasn’t changed from 1998, and Alabama is now tied for second in the country with California for the most uninsured drivers.  Thank you once again Mississippi (number 1).

The problem is in the statute’s penalty.  If someone’s license is suspended, they continue to drive, and their penalty if they are caught without insurance is a monetary fine.  They don’t pay the fine, and what happens?  Nothing. 

So, what do we do?  Begin monitoring the habitual offenders and begin making the penalty more severe.  People are injured in this State every day by uninsured motorists, and they need help financially as a result of their injuries.  We must do something to lower these uninsured figures, and while we are at it, we could increase the minimum limits from $20,000.00 to the $25,000.00 the legislature approved this year which Governor Riley vetoed.


2 Responses to “Mandatory Auto Insurance – Ha”

  1. Don Birkholz Says:

    There are three studies that I know of on the effects of mandatory auto insurance and the poor. I have done two of these and they can be found at
    The first study lists some of the food stamp skyrockets linked to mandatory auto insurance laws.
    The second is a survey done in Billings, MT thru the Montana DPHHS which shows that 12 of the 96 food stamp applicants listed auto insurance as a reason for needing food stamps (that equals 30,000 over the last 20 years in Montana)
    The third study was done by Dr Robert Maril, head of the sociology dept at Eastern Carolina University. It showed that 44% of the respondents said they could not buy food or pay their rent due to mandatory auto insurance. Type the following into the yahoo search engine: “The Impact of Mandatory Auto Insurance Upon Low Income Americans”

    Type the following into the yahoo search engine for some of the insurance opposition “715 Insurers Quietly Oppose Mandatory Auto Insurance.

  2. jonlewis Says:

    Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, it is a two-edged sword. This is one reason, I believe, that John Edwards has made poverty a central issue in his campaign for President. While I understand it is difficult for people to afford insurance, it is also difficult for those who are injured by uninsured motorists. Maybe we should look at the other issue: premiums charged. The insurance casualty companies have made record profits even in the face of Katrina, and yet, no one discusses these issues so the public knows about it.

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