Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetoes Low-Income Auto Insurance Bill

Californians are disappointed to learn that an auto insurance bill that helps offer affordable coverage to low-income will not be extended. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the extension of the bill, which would have stretched it out to 2016, instead settling on its current expiration date of January 1, 2011.

State law in California requires that all drivers carry a minimum of liability insurance. The bill has helped low-income drivers afford policies as long as they’re over the age of 19 and maintain good driving records.

According to Schwarzenegger, he vetoed the bill because he wasn’t confident in the effectiveness of the program. He also said that currently there is a low participation rate among insured people. However, according to Douglas Heller, executive director of the Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog, nearly 50,000 Californians benefit from the program; and that it helps keep uninsured drivers off the roads, which would be the only other alternative for many individuals.

Gov. Schwarzenegger did suggest that Assemblyman Dave Jones, the creator of the bill, and his sponsor California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, send him a revised version of the bill next year. So maybe there’s hope that low-income drivers will have several more years to benefit from affordable auto insurance after all.

Affordable auto insurance has definitely helped those with low income – what do you think? Should all 50 states participate in programs to help low-income drivers afford auto insurance?