Auto Insurers Should Not Pay Claims Caused By Cell Phone Use

How do you change behavior and poor decision making amongst people? Sometimes you have to motivate someone in order to change their habits. That is one of the reasons that the United States has one of the lowest personal savings rates in the world; there is no incentive to save, but there are several incentives to go further into debt.

For example, if you take out a home mortgage, the government allows you to deduct the interest you pay the bank from your income taxes. But, if you pay for that same house with cash that you have saved up over the course of decades, you receive nothing for your hard work and dedication to saving.

Which action do we as a society want to promote? Which do we value more? Do we want to encourage a culture of savings or continue to subsidize our infatuation with debt? The same ideas can be applied to our driving habits. Other than avoiding an accident, there are currently no incentives in place to prevent texting while driving.

Texting While Driving Is Incredibly Dangerous

Many states and even famous celebrities have championed the cause of telling people not to text while they drive. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 30 states in America now have anti-texting cell phone laws on the books. But, nevertheless, many people still continue to text and drive.

Driving while distracted is a factor in 25% of car accidents reported to the police. Distractions from cell phone use while driving has been shown in studies conducted by the University of Utah to extend a driver’s reaction time to equate having a blood alcohol concentration of the legal limit of a DUI (.08%).

Also, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers that use cell phones are four times more likely to get into serious injury-causing car accidents.

How to Change American Texting While Driving Habits

Insurance companies need to become involved with the issue of driving while texting. When asked whether an insurance company would consider denying an accident claim where a driver was texting, the Insurance Information Institute said that insurance companies will most likely pay the claim despite the fact the person was using a cell phone and was possibly in violation of state laws.

The same is true of someone who is driving recklessly and excessively speeding. The insurance companies of America continue to pay out the auto insurance claims in these incidences despite the driver’s willful negligence to known lows and automobile safety. While the financial burden could possibly be severe, denying these auto insurance claims would be one way to begin changing public behavior with the issue.

While auto insurance denial would not be the most popular of choices, there are ways that insurance companies can help enforce the laws and safety procedures on American roads and make driving safer. Reducing the amount of car accidents will be beneficial to all drivers thanks to a reduction in auto insurance claims and a subsequent reduction in premiums that would ensue. If Americans do not have an incentive to change our ways, we will not do it. The insurance industry in the country can have a big impact on making our roads a safer place by not paying out claims for illegal activities such as texting while driving.

Hank Coleman is the founder of the personal finance blog Money Q & A and several other financial websites. He is a freelance writer, entrepreneur, and professional in the government sector. Hank holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, a Master’s Degree in Finance and is currently studying for his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credentials. Be sure to follow him on Twitter.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not GoInsuranceRates.com , the GoMediaNetwork or any of it’s partners.)