One driver, one vehicle, one liability coverage

Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Some would say insurance is a necessary evil. I would be one of those! We do need the service but I question some of the practices. It is refreshing to see a bipartisan bill to eliminate the use of credit scoring to rate auto insurance. The whole concept of credit scoring is questionable. I support the idea of eliminating the use of credit scoring by the insurance industry against Alaskans. It is just not right.

Consider those folks with poor, low or no credit score. They may be seniors that came from an era when the use, or the over-use, of credit was thought to be evil and only used as a last resort. Maybe they are renters. Maybe these folks live within their means and use only cash. How about the teenagers? We know they are less experienced at driving and are in one of the highest risk groups. Can we fairly use a credit score on them? Are they even established? Then there is the rest of us. The list of life's contributing financial quirks is entirely too long to list here. But it could include a medical bankruptcy, disease, accident or low income.

Granted there are those that do practice poor judgment when handling their financial affairs. But what does that have to do with rating their insurance? Are people with low credit scores more reckless behind the wheel? I think not! The point is a credit score really says nothing about our personal liability.

Since the state has mandated liability insurance for every car being driven, here's another point to ponder. How many cars do you own? And how many drivers are in your family? Do you have insured cars sitting in your garage? Are you or anyone else in your family able to drive more than one car at a time?

At my house we have three vehicles: the wife's mini-van, my work car and my old work truck. We must have liability coverage on all three vehicles even though my wife and I can each drive only one vehicle at a time.

Each individual driver should be required to purchase liability insurance in order to acquire and maintain a driver's license. The insurance would cover him or her for any car he or she drives. The rate could be determined by the person's driving record. After all, is it not the driver the insurance industry is credit scoring? The insurance agents with whom I've spoken about requiring individuals to carry insurance on several vehicles respond that the policy holder is given a multi-car discount in such cases. This discount is no more than a pittance compared to the full premium on each vehicle.

Does it really matter what vehicle you are driving should you be involved in an accident?

I say let's do away with the questionable practice of credit scoring and the insurance industry's requirement of separate liability policies for every vehicle a person owns whether or not it's being driven.

Thom Buzard


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