Idaho Governor Vetoes Auto Insurance Measure

March 26, 2007

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has vetoed his fourth bill of 2007, this time killing a measure to force insurance companies to offer motorists policies that protect them against underinsured drivers in the event of an accident.

Underinsured motorist coverage pays for property damage and bodily injury caused by another motorist who doesn’t carry enough insurance to cover damages in an accident. It pays the difference between the cost of the injury suffered and the amount covered by the insurance of the driver at fault.

Had the bill become law, Otter said, it could have boosted the cost of insurance and led to more uninsured drivers on the roads.

“While no doubt well intended, (the bill) would eliminate access to less expensive forms of underinsured motorist coverage now available to Idaho consumers, forcing our citizens to obtain more-expensive forms of the coverage” he wrote in his veto message. “Legislation that reduces choice and increases the cost of insurance to consumers may result in more uninsured motorists on Idaho’s roadways.”

The veto marked the second time a bill sponsored by Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, has been killed by Otter.

The first was Thursday’s veto of ban on smoking in bowling alleys.

Otter has also vetoed a plan to boost the grocery tax credit meant to offset the sales taxes Idaho residents pay on food. Lawmakers and the governor are still trying to reach an agreement on that issue, which has delayed the end of the 2007 Legislature into at least next week.

He also vetoed a bill that would have allowed the Idaho State Tax Commission to send out tax-seizure notices by first-class mail, rather than certified mail.

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