Insurance: Pay As You Drive

Tom Marcinko @ 12-08-2008

flying-carA fact of life underused in sf is vehicle insurance. Your characters will thank you if you insure them on a pay-as-you-go basis, which should provide a disincentive to rack up the mileage. Good for the environment, good for safety. (Your characters are rational economic actors, aren’t they?)

[“The Future?” by Randy Read; updated to add story tip: Atrios]

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3 Responses to “Insurance: Pay As You Drive”

  1. cromulent says:

    I have a few issues with this idea:

    1) I don’t entirely buy the notion that driving more miles puts you at greater risk of being in an accident. The article says people pay the same whether they drive 500 miles or 50,000. I think that’s a good thing; someone who only drives 500 miles may only encounter 1% of the traffic that someone driving 50,000 miles encounters, but they also only get 1% of the practice in dealing with that traffic, making them much less adept at reacting to it.

    2) I don’t have a problem with using government policy to influence individual behavior (either by rewarding desirable behavior or discouraging undesirable behavior), and I’m not opposed to using such policy to reduce gas consumption or greenhouse emissions. What I *do* have a problem with is making private corporations the agents for promoting those policies. I don’t really mind the government charging me a tax on every gallon of gas I buy, because that money goes to things like road and bridge maintenance. But I *do* object to having private for-profit insurance companies charging me for every mile I drive, with the money going simply to line the pockets of CEOs and shareholders.

  2. Tom Marcinko says:

    A thoughtful (even cromulent) response. Mileage is probably just one factor of many. As for the corporations, I love the insurance industry almost as much as the airline industry. There’s gotta be a better way.

  3. Eva Whitley says:

    My sister was a plaintiff in a lawsuit some 20-odd years ago, arguing that car insurance rates were discrimination based on sex, because women were charged less than men. Her suggested relief was pay at the pump, or pay as you go. I don’t know where the suit went but I admire her for suing for something that would cost her, rather than benefit her.