Will Legalizing Marijuana Cause Auto Insurance Rates To Rise?

Legalizing Marijuana Means More Accidents

Last month, the Highway Loss Data Institute announced that collision claims have increased by 2.7% since recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state. Researchers combined data with factors such as age, gender, weather, the number of drivers on the road, and even employment. Recreational marijuana is just one major change that could be driving up accident rates – other factors are worth considering as well. For instance, texting while driving rates have gone up and heavy construction was present. Researchers admit that weed is not a solo factor, and it may be years before we know for sure whether legal weed causes more accidents.

Though all forms of marijuana¬†use are illegal in Tennessee, higher accident rates are something for our lawmakers to consider when the discussion inevitably rises. Moreover, higher accident rates in one geographic area typically mean higher auto insurance rates for that area. The Highway Loss Data Institute adds that drunk driving is still one of the most common causes of accidents, so it isn’t far off to assume that high driving will top the list as well.¬†Something else to consider is that the 2.7% number is a combination of those three states. Individually, Colorado has the highest crash increase of 13.9%, and it cannot be a coincidence that Colorado has had legal marijuana for the longest time (since 2014) of those three states.

*Note* As of July 2017, recreational marijuana is legal in seven states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts. Medical marijuana is legal in 26 states plus Washington D.C.

More Accidents Means Higher Rates

As technology and general awareness for high driving improve, we may see an increase in reported high driving accidents which will make tracking the situation easier. It also may allow insurers to dictate rates according to marijuana usage, which could benefit some consumers and hurt others, just like how health insurers charge different rates for smokers and nonsmokers. With all of the legal and technological changes that happen every day, it’s hard to say how marijuana legalization will affect auto insurance rates. All we know is that since marijuana became legal in certain states, accident rates have gone up in those states – and when accident rates in an area rise, so do auto insurance rates.

If you have questions about auto insurance in Tennessee, call one of our experienced InsureTN agents at 615-964-5250.


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