January 15, 2010

Why Is It That The Government Requires Auto Insurance

The U.S. government has very good reasons for requiring that all drivers in the country carry the right amount of auto insurance. Perhaps one of the most fundamental and compelling reasons that auto insurance policies are required is that cars have the potential to kill or maim people and cause significant property damage. Because a vehicle is a piece of machinery, drivers – no matter how good they are behind the wheel – can’t always control how the vehicle will react in certain situations. Although no one sets out in the morning deliberately planning to have an accident, it happens. And it happens for any number of reasons, such as inattention, inexperience or distraction. We haven’t even gotten to the less forgivable reasons like alcohol or road rage. Auto insurance ensures that regardless of the accident’s cause or who is at fault, the damage will be paid for.

If the government didn’t mandate auto insurance, it would be up to the drivers to their losses from an accident. Damages that occur in accidents can be very extensive, and the associated costs can quickly add up. Victims in auto accidents could suffer serious personal injury. They could also be rendered unable to work. Worst, they could suffer permanent and lasting disability. It is unlikely anyone could afford to pay these costs unexpectedly out of pocket. Insurance is the means by which such pain and suffering and loss of earnings is compensated. After all, a fundamental premise of a developed nation’s legal system is to ensure that victims will be made whole for their losses.

When you obtain an auto insurance quote, one of the coverages you are required to purchase through state law is no-fault insurance. No-fault insurance, or personal injury protection as it is sometimes called, makes the reimbursement of medical expenses automatic rather than based upon fault. By doing this, no-fault coverage frees the dockets of a nation’s courts over lawsuits arising from what, in some cases, are minor medical bills

Then a social issue runs beyond the mere legalities of auto insurance coverage. Imagine the inequities that could arise if people of means could inflict damage to others and then aggressively defend lawsuits arising from their wrongs. Or, in the converse, what if the person of means wasn’t actually damaged, but because of their resources, had the power to bring frivolous lawsuits against another driver to coerce a settlement. In that vein, mandated auto insurance is an equalizer.

For these reasons, it becomes clear that there are very sound reasons for making auto insurance mandatory, from a legal standpoint and from a social justice standpoint.