SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s comments on recreational marijuana voting. making headlines across the state. He said, “I think that thing is a disaster.“
Since this story is in the news, one of our viewers wrote, “I am concerned that if recreational marijuana passes in November, our auto insurance rates will go up. What is the situation in other countries? Have prices gone up?“
Voters will decide the issue in November. The proposal would make marijuana legal for adults over the age of 21 to buy, possess, consume, deliver, manufacture and sell for use. This would also allow more people with non-violent crimes to be released from prison, probation, or parole.
When it comes to auto insurance rates, we reached out to insurance executives in Colorado, Washington State, and California to ask about their experiences with auto insurance rates after the recreational weed wears off. Vincent Plymell and the State of Colorado, Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Insurance responded. “The rates are determined based on losses and income,” Plymell said. “And even if they’re at risk, the companies don’t account for the detailed loss reasons they’ve written with us.”
We also contacted several insurance companies and insurance groups.
The Insurance Information Institute sent us several articles, including this one one. III’s blog says, “The legalization of recreational marijuana use was associated with a 6.5 percent increase in accidents involving injuries and a 2.3 percent increase in fatalities. With legal and retail sales, the study found that the overall effect was a 5.8 percent increase in injury accidents and a 4.1 percent increase in fatality rates. But the results were inconsistent across countries.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety agreed to an interview.
“We have conducted these courses since 2014. And the results have been similar. We see a 5 or 6% accident rate in states that allow recreational use. So we started studying the first areas that allowed recreational use. We looked at recent research. We looked at California, Nevada, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. And we’ve seen an increase in both personal injury accidents and insurance claims from accidents,” said Russ Rader of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The agency has not studied how it might affect insurance rates. Rader says it’s difficult because states regulate insurance rates. But, in general, insurance rates go up when risks increase. He also said that if you drink while driving and get into an accident, your rates will go up just as rates go up for those who drink and drive.
I also reached out to the support group for the idea in November. They are called Legal Missouri. He pointed me to another article GetJerry. The company is a car insurance comparison service. The article says so Car insurance premiums are the same in states where marijuana is legal compared to states where it is legal.
So, to our question, “Did prices go up?” I don’t see any clear evidence that you can count on prices going up, say, $5 a month. I am learning that you can harm others if you smoke marijuana while driving. And, if you fall and survive, you will pay a very high price. So, until more evidence comes.
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