There are many similarities between motor vehicles and guns, because they both have a built in danger but are present in our society. There are also important differences in the way they are used and the situation surrounding that use. The specific top down, no-fault system of insurance being analyzed in this blog is intended to deal with these differences.
1. The vast majority of car deaths and injuries are accidents; intentional injury with a car is rare. The majority of shootings are intentional whether or not they constitute crimes.
This is the reason that gun insurance should directly benefit the victim rather than the gun owner or shooter. Questions of public policy about benefiting criminals with insurance would be bypassed. The needs of the victim are not related to the innocence of the shooter.
2. Cars involved in injuries are readily identified in most accidents. While hit and run accidents occur they are involved in a fairly small proportion of the total injuries. A high proportion of shootings do not have a known shooter or gun.
Alternative methods of identification such as sample round scanning would be important. An uninsured gun fund could be established with payments into the fund by insurers responsible for guns which pass out of legal hands.
3. Car owners are used to registering their vehicles. Many gun supporters are very resistant to registering guns with the government.
Insurance responsibility which continues until replaced by a new insurer is an alternative to registration as a way of enforcing continuous coverage of specific guns. This would eliminate the need for government agencies to track or regulate gun owners.
4. Although the number of deaths caused by cars is similar to the number of deaths caused by guns, the number of injuries by cars is approximately 40 times the number caused by guns.
This greatly reduces the overall cost of insurance for gun injuries. The cost of injuries by cars is much greater than the cost for deaths. This allows the insurance not to be a great burden on gun owners with room for reasonably generous benefits and reasonable profits for insurers.
5. The number of people hurt by stolen or unregistered cars is small, but the majority of deaths and injuries by guns involve firearms that pass out of legal hands.
The insurers will have a substantial incentive to keep guns in the right hands. Insurers should be required to report guns which cannot be located but are under their responsibility. The most important effect is that straw purchasers will not be able to buy insurance and be highly discouraged.
6. Most victims of car accidents have their own insurance but most victims of shooting have no relevant insurance.
This makes a difference between the usual kind of no-fault insurance for cars and what would be required for guns. Car no-fault plans usually have the injured person’s insurance pay. But in the case of cars hitting pedestrians in some states there is Personal Injury Protection that works to pay an uninsured person.