Imagine if state law made it difficult for pizza joints to sell by the slice. You’d have to buy—and eat—a lot of pizza when you got a hankering. Either that, or you’d have to give up on pizza entirely. By-the-slice pizza lets light eaters save money without giving up pie entirely.
The car insurance market is like a no-slices pizza world. You have to buy a lot of insurance, even if you only drive a little. Or you have to give up driving—or drive illegally without insurance.
The equivalent of by-the-slice pizza is by-the-mile auto insurance. It gives families a new way to save money, by driving less. It also lets low-income drivers buy just a little insurance at a time. So promising is this idea that public agencies have been contributing to a pilot project in Washington.
Today, state senator Phil Rockefeller introduced a bill in the Washington legislature to, in the bill’s words, “eliminate existing regulatory barriers to mileage-based automobile insurance policies, to expressly authorize the insurance commissioner to approve the offering of such policies, and to ensure that insurers, at a minimum, offer a discount for low-mileage drivers.”
Insurance regulation is a thicket, and this bill intends to clear a path to new savings opportunities. Existing state insurance law doesn’t outright ban mileage-based insurance anywhere in Cascadia, but it does throw obstacles in the way of would-be by-the-mile insurers. Rockefeller’s bill would change that, ending legal discrimination against by-the-slice eating—er, driving.