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We Americans all enjoy our affordable health insurance. Car insurance should surely follow the same system. Suppose getting car insurance in America was like buying health insurance.
You would probably not buy your car insurance on your own; instead, if you are like the majority of working Americans, you would have car insurance through your employer. The premium that you pay would seem very small or non-existent, as your employer would simply pay for most of it out of your paycheck. Your insurance premium would effectively be the same as your coworker in the next cubicle, regardless of whether you drive a Pinto or a Lexus.
You would probably be eligible for a number of amazing benefits not covered by your current auto plan, including tune-ups, oil changes, stereo upgrades and gasoline. These would probably have some limits as per your policy, but the costs of all of them would enable you to get from A to B without any messy out-of-pocket costs.
Of course, if you lost your job, you would lose your policy as well, and getting a new one would not be nearly as fun. Continuing your existing policy would cost hundreds, or perhaps over a thousand dollars per month if your car was particularly extravagant (and given that saving on your car insurance would have likely not been a factor in the purchase of your car in the first place, it’s far more likely that it would be.) You would opt to save money on a simpler plan that covers only the basic coverage that your car insurer is legally allowed to provide: bodily injury liability, personal property protection, personal injury protection, tune ups, emergency roadside assistance and oil changes (of which your insurer would require a 20% copay after a $1,000 deductible). You would need to select a primary care mechanic to consult before tune-ups, oil changes, or damage repair, who would have to abide by strict CMO regulations.
If you are dissatisfied with the options available in your state (especially likely in certain states like Alabama, where one car insurer controls 90% of the market), you would be in a tough bind, because buying out-of-state car insurance would be illegal.
Luckily for you, if you still cannot afford the aptly-named “Cadillac-standard” car insurance, other options would be available; Autocaid is an excellent public program that covers 40% of the poor with their car insurance. And you are always free to take the bus just like everyone else. Or the well-sponsored Affordable Health Insurance Car.