New legislation in Nevada that seeks to provide affordable auto insurance to the poor is facing renewed opposition as it inches closer to being signed into law. Introduced and championed by Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson (D-NV), the bill intends to establish a low-cost auto insurance program that is tailored for those living below the poverty line. Since the bill’s conception it has garnered support. Now a new wave of opposition is mounting in the Senate against the legislation.
Atkinson believes the bill will have a real, if modest, impact on those that have suffered in the wake of a troubled economy. Overall, the legislation would only affect those that fell 250% below the state’s current poverty line. Estimates from the state’s Insurance Division suggest that number to be near 1,000 motorists. Should that number be accurate, it is unclear exactly how many of that thousand would actually sign up for coverage under the new program.
Opponents say the bill tries to solve a problem that does not exist. Many suggest that if drivers cannot afford the required level of insurance coverage, they should not be driving. Concerns over cost are fueling debate as well. Nevada itself has fallen on hard financial times and can ill afford another program that would burden its already limited resources. The program may end up costing some $800,000, according to insurance agent Jim Degraffenreid, who cited the cost of a similar program in California.
Atkinson disputes the claims that the program would be overtly expensive. He insists that the legislation is a better plan that allowing drivers go without insurance coverage.