Auto Insurance Consumers Discount May Hurt Other Drivers

A ballot initiative in California that is seeking to bring back a provision of an old law and let insurance companies charge auto insurance consumers based on their history on having an auto insurance policy has now been a hot issue between consumer advocates and a billionaire insurance executive.

California Proposition 33 is seeking to allow consumers who have a history of five years having an auto insurance policy without a 90-day payments lapse to maintain a “continuous coverage discount” even if these consumers would change their insurers. However, the said proposition is being assaulted by consumer advocates who argued that it has a provision that make auto insurance consumers who have dropped their coverage in the past to have higher auto insurance premiums.

The said proposition accordingly will benefit 85 percent of the drivers who already have car insurance, this according to George Joseph, chairman of Mercury General Corporation. But consumer advocates say the proposition would hurt a lot of drivers including those students, those people who are still recovering from financial difficulties brought upon by illnesses, those people who have experienced unemployment for a long time, and those drivers who have dropped their policies for other valid reasons. Harvey Rosenfield, an advocate and founder of Consumer Watchdog, says that this initiative may result to more motorists to be uninsured drivers as this would make them more incapable of paying their monthly premiums as they would be charged with higher rates.

Joseph’s Mercury according to Rosenfield has been on a campaign to “surcharge the public for not having insurance in the past.” Rosenfield even said that the campaign have been in existence for almost 3 decades now.

In the status quo, auto insurers set their rates based only on three main factors, the driver’s driving experience, safety record, and the vehicle’s miles traveled per year.

If voters would vote for Proposition 33, insurers can have the option to charge higher rates for those uninsured drivers but should not exceed Proposition 103’s prohibition set against excessive rates.