California Looks to Lower Auto Insurance Rates if the State’s Proposition 33 Measure Passes this Fall
California”s unique approach to election season allows for both state legislators and ordinary citizens to call for ballot referendums on any number of issues. The state has famously debated same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana through these ballot measures, and now it looks to take on a far more traditional niche: car insurance. Originally announced by auto insurance agents as the 2012 Automobile Insurance Discount Act, Proposition 33 was announced by the state”s Attorney General in July and will be up for a public vote this November.
California”s Proposition 33 presents one of the biggest changes in state history in terms of auto insurance reform. The measure is primarily concerned with the use of car insurance discounts, aiming to make them more portable and fairly assigned between the state”s wealthier and more impoverished populations. The measure also looks to benefit members of California”s large and still-growing active military population.
Proposition 33: Four Basic Tenets to Ensure Discount Equality and Portability
Under current state legislation, auto insurance companies are free to offer discounts to any new or existing policyholder whose vehicles they cover. Currently, however, those discounts accrue over time as a customer maintains their loyalty to just one company. If that customer decides that they”re no longer satisfied with their coverage at that company, they have the right to switch. Their discounts, however, do not enjoy the same right. Loyalty discounts and benefits start over at the same time a customer switches their policy.
To remedy this and other disparities when looking for better or more affordable car insurance, Proposition 33 looks to make four crucial changes to the shopping and buying process. Those four changes include:
1. Ensuring that car insurance company discounts can be passed down from parents to their children when they reach driving age. Currently, discounts only apply to the primary driver assigned to an insurance policy in California. Making this discount universal would significantly lower bills.
2. Allowing military members to maintain their loyalty discounts even if they have to cancel their auto insurance policy during an overseas deployment. Currently, cancelled policies and their discounts are reset upon returning home from battle.
3. Permitting workers who have been laid off or furloughed to keep their loyalty discounts with a car insurance company for up to 18 months, even if they are unable to pay their premiums and must leave the company as a result.
4. Protecting impoverished California residents who must, for whatever reason, cease paying their car insurance premiums for a maximum of ninety days.
All four of these major changes are exclusively designed to benefit average consumers, especially those who have been hardest hit by challenging economic states in the nation”s most populous state. That”s especially remarkable given the measure”s origination within the car insurance industry itself.
Oh You, Old Friend: Proposition 33 is a Return to Better Times for Car Insurance Buyers
The tenets laid out in Proposition 33 might seem unique or cutting-edge, but they”re actually a bit old fashioned, as far as California votes are concerned. From 1996 through 2002, California residents were actually in control of their car insurance discounts in many of the same ways that Proposition 33 would enable. Those rights were overturned and eliminated in a similar kind of ballot initiative during the 2002 electoral cycle, by a narrow majority.
Since then, California”s car insurance premiums have gone nowhere but up — in many cases far faster than inflation. Combined with the state”s recently high unemployment rate and relatively high cost of living, affording car insurance has become a tricky proposition for many of the state”s residents. This measure is designed to combat those issues of affordability, promoting fairness when discounting policies and working with some of the state”s most disenfranchised groups.
An Innovative Way to Lower California Insurance Premiums
Many states actually forbid the so-called “portability” of loyalty discounts and reward programs. California”s potential elimination of these restrictions for a second time shows its commitment to highway safety and good insurance coverage for all of its citizens. And, because the measure is largely beneficial to everyday voters, it is currently expected to pass with at least a narrow majority on election day this November.