Uninsured motorists are a burden on any state. The majority of the country’s states now require drivers to have a certain amount of car insurance for any vehicle they register. This stems from the fact that uninsured motorists cost the state, the insurance companies and drivers millions of dollars each year. In Mississippi, there is an estimated amount of 28% of drivers that do not carry the required auto insurance limits. If this amount is correct, Mississippi would have the second highest amount of uninsured drivers in the United States. Uninsured drivers are a burden to the state, to car insurance companies, and to all legally insured drivers in Mississippi.
Mississippi car insurance law has a certain amount of auto liability insurance that each driver must obtain. The state of Mississippi does not require drivers to add uninsured motorist coverage to their policies, although it is highly encouraged.
The minimums in the state of Mississippi for car insurance are $25,000 in bodily injury per person for each accident, $50,000 in bodily injury for each accident and at least $25,000 in property damage coverage. The Mississippi Insurance Department does allow residents to post a financial responsibility bond or make a cash deposit to put away in case a driver is listed at fault in an accident and needs to cover the damages. Drivers can select being financially responsible over purchasing insurance if they have enough money to cover the bond or deposit.
In Spring 2011, Mississippi attempted to fight the number of uninsured drivers by implemented an insurance verification system. This system would be a database of uninsured or underinsured drivers run by the state. The bill was easily passed with huge numbers. It was a unanimous vote in the Senate and only 7 of 115 voted against in the House of Representatives.
However, even with the new law’s popularity, the governor vetoed the bill. Governor Haley Barbour was concerned over the cost of maintaining the database, as well as the additional work that would be required for the Department of Public Safety. At the time, Barbour suggested a special session to discuss resolutions to the issues he had with the bill.
No word since the veto on whether or not the State of Mississippi will continue to pursue the auto verification system. Other states have also been looking into options to reduce the amount of drivers without the necessary car insurance in their areas.