Mississippi lawmakers are trying once again to get an online car insurance verification system set up in their state after Gov. Haley Barbour vetoed a similar proposal last session, Online Auto Insurance News reports.
It might be a while before we see whether Gov. Barbour finds the tweaks made by the bill’s authors to be satisfactory. But if the legislation does get signed into law this time around, it may have some uninsured motorists scrambling to find a cheap down payment auto insurance policy.
Having a verification system set up in the state would make it much easier for police and Department of Revenue employees to find out the coverage status of particular drivers. That means uninsured motorists would be that much more likely to get caught and slapped with fines and other penalties.
The verification system would work by aggregating policy information from insurers on all the cars registered in the state. If a registered auto shows up as having no matching insurance policy, state officials would be able to suspend the license or registration and hit the driver with a $300-$500 fine.
Police would also be able to access the database. If an officer were to pull a driver over for a separate infraction and find that there was no matching policy in the database for the car, the motorist could be cited.
A third point at which uninsured motorists could be caught is when they go to register their cars. If the bill’s signed into law, car owners would need to have a valid policy already in place before registering the vehicle.
In each of these scenarios, the information contained in the database would supersede the information on any proof of insurance cards furnished by the driver.
Last session, Barbour vetoed the legislation because of a lack of cost projections and a concern that the Department of Public Safety should not have to worry about catching the owners of uninsured vehicles.
The new bill splits the responsibilities between the Public Safety and Revenue departments, but there does not appear to be much change on the cost side.
Mississippi state law requires that all drivers have liability insurance and keep their insurance card in their vehicles at all times to prove that they are covered. In Mississippi, the minimum liability requirements are $25,000 per person for a single accident, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage. You may also see this referred to as 25/50/25.