Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 20, 2020

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Things to Remember...

  • However, most opponents do not understand that the ability to drive is not a right, it’s a privilege
  • The state wants you to know that if you are driving, they expect you to take fiscal responsibility for any damages you cause should you be responsible for an accident. Anyone who has been hit by an uninsured driver will appreciate this
  • As of 2011, New Hampshire, following its “Live free or die” motto, is the only state that does not mandate auto insurance
  • The thing is, auto insurance doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; it can be affordable. However, there are certain requirements for getting lower rates, such as having a good driving record, and maintaining a decent credit score

There are several reasons why some people say mandatory auto insurance is unconstitutional. One of the major reasons is that these people claim that the government is forcing them to purchase a product, which is unconstitutional.

In addition, many people feel that mandatory auto insurance is unconstitutional because it promotes discrimination. Many of the poorer people in the United States can’t afford car insurance.

As a result, they aren’t allowed to register their vehicles, their driver’s licenses are suspended and so on. If they drive without insurance they can face steep fines and even jail time.

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Does that mean that auto insurance really is unconstitutional?

No, legally, that just isn’t the case at this point. The truth is that this is a hot button topic. Many people feel that being forced to pay for auto insurance should be illegal as it allows insurance companies to have the power over the drivers.

However, most opponents do not understand that the ability to drive is not a right, it’s a privilege. Every state has requirements in place that you have to meet in order to drive a vehicle; auto insurance is one of them.

Think about it this way. If you are applying for a job at a company, they are able to require you to take a mandatory drug test. This is a requirement for working at their company. The same thing applies here.

The U.S. Constitution is set up to guide state laws so that they can function without interference from the federal government. The U.S. Constitution is different from your state constitution and your state can legislate driving requirements; which is why insurance laws vary by state.

The bottom line is that driving is not a requirement. The state wants you to know that if you are driving, they expect you to take fiscal responsibility for any damages you cause should you be responsible for an accident. Anyone who has been hit by an uninsured driver will appreciate this.

Most states only require liability insurance and those requirements are minimal. In fact, if you have a serious car accident, it is unlikely that the minimum insurance you are required to carry by your state will cover all of the damages.

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If I have enough money to pay for damages, why should I have to pay for auto insurance?

Believe it or not, one state has made allowances for people and companies who have the means to pay for their own costs should they cause an accident.

As of 2011, New Hampshire, following its “Live free or die” motto, is the only state that does not mandate auto insurance.

Wisconsin changed their laws in June of 2010 and now required liability coverage.

If you are driving uninsured and cause an accident in New Hampshire, the state may suspend your license until you pay for the damages that you cause.

If you carry uninsured motorist coverage and are hit by an uninsured driver, then your insurance company will help pay for damages.

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If auto insurance isn’t unconstitutional, does that mean mandatory health insurance is constitutional?

Unfortunately, mandatory health insurance is not the same as mandatory auto insurance. The biggest difference is that you don’t have to drive, you can simply choose other modes of transportation; however, everybody alive is, well, alive.

You don’t have a reasonable option of opting out of life itself.

Another reason that mandatory health insurance is more commonly considered unconstitutional is that the federal government would mandate it. Again, this remains a very hot topic of debate.

In addition, the federal government is looking for ways so that businesses, taxes, and funds can pay for mandatory health insurance for a certain percentage of the population.

Auto insurance doesn’t have any of those resources and, unfortunately, those that can’t afford have to suffer the consequences.

Shouldn’t poor people get a break from their auto insurance requirements?

That is a tough question to answer. The truth is that if anyone needs liability insurance, it is the poor. These are the people who are least likely able to pay any associated costs from an auto accident.

The thing is, auto insurance doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; it can be affordable. However, there are certain requirements for getting lower rates, such as having a good driving record, and maintaining a decent credit score.

Of course, you can’t forget to shop around either. You can get free auto insurance quotes right now by entering your zip code below!

References:

  1. https://www.geico.com/claims/after-an-accident/
  2. https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/financial-responsibility/insurance.htm
  3. https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/car-insurance/liability-car-insurance-cover.aspx
  4. https://oci.wi.gov/Documents/Consumers/PI-233.pdf
  5. https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/