One in 3 Mississippians drives though word — in defilement of state law — forcing motorists who do have word to compensate many aloft rates.
“We need to possibly make a law or change a law and do something different,” pronounced Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.
Mississippi leads a republic in uninsured drivers with 28 percent, according to a Insurance Research Council, though Chaney believes a genuine series in Mississippi is as high as 35 percent.
Under state law, Mississippians can be fined for pushing though guilt insurance.
If drivers destroy to uncover explanation of insurance, they get tickets. The fine, that until new years was $1,000, is now $500. Last year, 36,421 were ticketed for this offense.
But a loophole in that law enables those ticketed drivers to buy word after a fact and equivocate profitable all though $100 of a fine.
Chaney pronounced thousands of Mississippi drivers take advantage of this loophole, shopping word for a month or so to equivocate such a excellent before canceling a policy.
Mississippi judges discharged tickets in scarcely a fifth of all cases in 2011.
In a remaining four-fifths, where drivers were found guilty, they paid an normal of $240 — distant reduction than a imperative $1,000 fine.
As a outcome of uninsured drivers, those who do buy automobile word in a U.S. compensate some-more than $11 billion additional a year, according to inhabitant information analyzed by Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
Alex Hageli, executive of a association’s automobile word policy, pronounced Mississippi’s loophole “undercuts a whole idea of enforcing.”
The organisation recommends a state have fines that can’t be reduced.
Loophole That Enables Uninsured Drivers in Mississippi
Under Mississippi law, drivers are compulsory to lift guilt word coverage to cover others: $25,000 per chairman for corporeal injury, $50,000 per collision for corporeal repairs when some-more than one chairman is hurt, and $25,000 per collision for skill damage.
Although not required, many drivers lift collision insurance, that covers repairs finished to their possess vehicles.
Ridgeland counsel Jared Kobs sees several people a week whose cars have been strike by uninsured drivers. “It’s a great shame,” he said.
Many of them, he said, have unsuccessful to squeeze word that would cover accidents where uninsured drivers strike them.
Not usually does such word compensate for a wreck, though a pile-up doesn’t count as an at-fault collision opposite a policyholder.
Kobs recommends to his clients they squeeze such insurance. (In Mississippi, this runs an normal of $73 some-more a year, compared to $45 in Arkansas.)
Chaney pronounced if families or companies have some-more than one vehicle, a policies can be combined adult together, famous as “stacking.”
While that is good for those lonesome by insurance, it also creates word some-more dear to Mississippi drivers, he said.
The cost that Mississippians contingency compensate for word to cover uninsured drivers is many aloft than adjacent states, contributing to a altogether cost of insurance, Chaney said.
In 2010 (the many new year accessible from a National Association of Insurance Commissioners), Mississippi businesses paid $168 million for uninsured drivers — distant some-more than a $112 million spent in Arkansas.
With some-more than a fifth of Mississippians vital next a misery line, “it’s tough for people to make ends accommodate when they’re vital on a edge, and they have to make a choice between shopping groceries, profitable a light bill, profitable a word check on a house” or profitable for automobile insurance, he said.
To revoke their series of uninsured drivers, about half a states have taxation collectors need explanation of word before arising automobile tags.
Chaney pronounced some taxation collectors in Mississippi don’t wish a shortcoming of enforcing such a law.
Some states have adopted “no pay, no play” laws that bar uninsured drivers from suing for pain and suffering, with certain exceptions.
A check has already been sealed into law in Mississippi that would emanate a real-time database that would concede troopers to check either a motorist has insurance.
Those found though word would accept letters. Those who do have word could yield explanation of that insurance. Those that don’t have word would get fined.
“What a Mississippi module is perplexing to do is have a real-time complement only like when people travel into a gas hire and appropriate their cards,” Hageli said. “It relates that concept.”
The executive for a project, that would accept about $600,000 a year, estimated Mississippi would collect some-more than $150 million a year in fines — a figure that Chaney questioned, observant that a loophole still exists. (Currently, those tickets move in reduction than $10 million a year.)
Officials had creatively designed to move a database online in 2013. Then 2014. Now 2015.
Warren Strain, a orator for a Mississippi Highway Patrol, pronounced one problem is removing a program to work with a patrol’s stream system.
Chaney worries about promulgation “big tickets to a lowest of a poor,” he said.
“We have to be really clever about who we punish,” he said, “but we’re a regulatory agency, and we’ll work with whatever a Legislature does.”
He believes one approach to conflict a problem is obscure a cost of word to cover uninsured drivers — as Tennessee has done.
The problem is a formidable one, he said. “There’s no easy china bullet for what we should do.”
Unfortunately, many approaches breeze adult costing taxpayers some-more money, Hageli said.
Contact Jerry Mitchell (601) 961-7064 or jmitchell@jackson. gannett.com. Follow @jmitchellnews on Twitter.
South Carolina: 11
West Virginia: 11
Lowest States (%)
New York: 5
Source: Insurance Research Council