Compulsory car insurance cons and pros

The purchaser of the $12 car—or even of the $500 car (bought at $10 a week)—-has learned no especial sense of obligation to the public at large. He doesn’t want insurance; he will resent paying for it. Having paid, isn’t he likely to feel, however unconsciously, that he is entitled to his money’s worth?

Isn’t the thought, “I should worry, I’m insured! ” likely to make him a little readier to take a chance? While his driving habits are being formed, isn’t the subtle thought that someone else will pay for his fun likely to have just the opposite effect from that engendered by the Connecticut law that he himself must help to pay?

Precisely that is the fear of many students of the problem. The demoralizing effect of fire and theft insurance on weak minds is notorious. Almost no one is as careful of insured cars, houses, jewels, as of uninsured property. And human nature does not change merely with the subject of insurance.

The primary use of insurance is to distribute unavoidable losses—lightning, conflagration, etc. In proportion as the loss becomes avoidable, insurance weakens the moral fiber. If a citizen who was overfond of his bootlegger’s wares were to seek a policy “protecting” him from the penalties of wife-beating, we can guess what the answer would be. Yet the difference between that and “protecting” a motorist when he is at fault is not a wide one.

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