Just this month the State of Washington looked into passed two bite of legislation that would affect auto insurance. Washington auto insurance may be making changes to the way the area looks at car sharing and usage based programs and the implications it will have on auto insurance coverage. The Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner enforces auto insurance laws passed through state legislation.

Car Sharing & Insurance

In this economy and with the recent inflation of gas prices still on the minds of motorists, many individuals have considering loaning out their vehicles during times they are stilling idle to make some extra income. This type of car rental process could help get individuals out of debt or from losing their home due to a lack of income. Plenty of employees have been taking pay cuts, losing overtime, or losing their jobs altogether. This is an inventive way to make up for some of these losses.

Unfortunately, car insurance companies see this as a commercial enterprise. Unless the car’s owner is insured with a commercial license, the insurance would be completely invalid during the times the car is loaned out. This could be a pricey risk for those looking to earn extra income since it is likely they will not be able to afford property or medical expense costs.

A new bill, similar to legislation efforts in other West Coast states like California and Oregon, wants to eliminate the negative aspects of car sharing. HB 2384 works by doing a temporary transfer concerning liability from the car owner to the service that is monitoring the car sharing. This way the car sharing service would be responsible for covering any damages under their insurance policy. Of course, this would only apply only for those going through a car sharing service to loan out their vehicle.

Usage Based Insurance

A case can be made for drivers who have registered vehicles that they do not use very often. Many car owners have vehicles they use only for recreation or they might work from home or many other situations where they will own a car that is not used often. Many states required that all registered vehicles also carry insurance meaning that a car that sits in the driveway will need coverage just like the one used for a daily commute.

New, usage-based car insurance programs allow drivers to pay less for their car insurance if they can prove the vehicle is not used often. Car insurance companies install devices to monitor how often the vehicle is used, where the vehicle goes at what time of day, and how hard the car brakes. HB 2361 would put limitations on how this collected data is used and ensure that it not be used without the driver’s consent.

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