Tuesday, March 30, 2010

But States Mandate Car Insurance

I've heard the state mandate for car insurance trotted out so much as a justification or a precedent for the mandate of coverage that it makes me groan.  However, like most talking points, both sides are missing a big issue.

Yes, it's a state mandate vs a federal mandate.
Yes, it's for the priviledge of owning a car and if you don't want to pay for insurance you don't have to buy a car.

The one they are missing is that you only have to carry liability insurance.  The mandate is to carry coverage for injury you may do, not to yourself, but to somebody else.  You can totally take the risk of crashing your car, doing injury to yourself and losing the value of your vehicle with no safety net.  The states haven't mandated that you cover those situations.  The mandate is to ensure that if I hit you with my car, I can pay your medical bills and you don't go bankrupt from the medical bills incurred by my actions.  That mandate is all about responsibility and accountability for what you do to somebody else, not for the government to tell you how to take care of yourself.

For me, the comparison between the auto insurance mandate and the health insurance mandate are no comparison at all for that reason.

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