When I bought my scooter a couple of months ago, I was paranoid about riding it home.
“What if a cop stops me?”, I thought to myself, “I don’t have proof of insurance yet”.
When I got back to my nerd cave, I immediately jumped on the computer and pulled up my insurer’s website to get quotes. As I was scrolling through the pages, I was shocked by just how cheap my coverage options were. Especially given my inner-city zip code (perhaps the most crowded zip code this side of San Francisco). After adding everything up, I realized I could get full coverage on my scooter for about 1/2 what it cost in other states for the lowest level of simple liability insurance.
Given the cost, I pretty much maxed out my coverage while congratulating myself for being such a stellar negotiator.
When I was finished, I printed out my card, shoved it in my wallet, then proceeded to forget about the entire experience.
Today, I learned something new.
Today, I learned something interesting.
Today, I learned why my scooter coverage was so incredibly cheap.
Today … I learned that The State of Washington does not require motorcycle or scooter riders to have insurance.
That’s right, none.
As soon as I took delivery of my scooter, I didn’t have to concern myself with insuring it as fast as possible. I didn’t have to insure it at all. I could have legally ridden it to my heart’s content right that very moment. I was shocked. I was also enlightened.
I saw firsthand what happens when a captive audience is not handed over to private concerns by the government. I saw what happens when companies have to truly compete and entice me to use their product. My insurance carrier clearly knows that if they jack prices up too much, people will simply go without it. Unlike an automobile, a lack of insurance does not mean that we cannot ride. It does not mean that we cannot enjoy our cycles all day and every day. It means that we are taking a greater risk, but at least having the option in our arsenal. This clearly keeps a heavy lid on prices.
You know, there has to be a lesson in here somewhere. There just has to be. Perhaps one about the Health Care Reform mandate that puts billions of dollars into corporate insurance coffers instead of creating a public option. Perhaps one about our lack of choices in public utilities resulting in price escalation and bandwidth caps.
When the government does not hand the consumer over to corporate interests on a silver platter, in my small microcosmic experience, the consumer can seek out a pretty good deal for him or herself.
As for the motorcycle insurance that I don’t have to have, well, I’m going to keep it. I’m a responsible guy, and if I run into something, I want to pay for the damages. Also, if someone swipes my scooter, I’d certainly like to get a replacement. Fairly priced insurance is a great thing to have, and (knock on wood), you never know when you’ll need it.
The fact that I am not required to have it, however, is certainly a choice that my insurance company wishes I didn’t have.
If they could triple my rates tomorrow with the blessing of the state, then make no mistake about it, that’s exactly what they would do.
Thanks, Washington State, for keeping my rates reasonable by giving me the option.
Now, about all of my other complaints …