Strong bipartisan support for Bailey car insurance legislation

State Senator Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, has introduced legislation with strong bipartisan support that would help ensure compliance with the state’s car insurance laws.

Senate Bill 5924 would require proof of auto insurance coverage to be shown at the time of vehicle registration or renewal. State law currently requires motorists to have a minimum-level vehicle liability policy, but a method of verifying that coverage doesn’t exist. Bailey’s bill would help ensure that drivers are covered.

“There is a real cost to drivers and the state by having uninsured motorists on the road,” said Bailey. “This bill creates a mechanism by which the state can actually verify that people using the public’s roadways are following the law.”

Most recent data from the Insurance Research Council estimates that 13 percent of drivers are uninsured, with Washington state being the seventh-highest uninsured rate in the nation as of 2017, with over 17 percent of drivers being uninsured.

“Uninsured motorists are not only risking their own financial livelihood, the costs are passed along to the general public with added costs to insurance to cover uninsured motorists,” said Bailey. “I understand that there are financial barriers for many to obtain coverage, but those pale in comparison to the costs of having no coverage at all.”

Bailey’s bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee Monday, Feb. 25 at 1:30 p.m.