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Per-Mile Premiums for Auto Insurance

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  • Aaron S. Edlin

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

Most insurance premiums are only weakly linked to mileage, and have largely lump-sum characteristics. The probable result is too many accidents and too much driving from the standpoint of economic efficiency. This paper develops a model of the relationship between driving and accidents that formalizes Vickrey's [1968] central insights about the accident externalities of driving. We use it to estimate the driving, accident, and congestion reductions that could be expected from switching to other insurance pricing systems. Under a competitive system of per-mile premiums, in which insurance companies quote risk-classified per-mile rates, we estimate that the reduction in insured accident costs net of lost driving benefits would be $9.8 -$12.7 billion in the U.S., or $58-$75 per insured vehicle. When congestion reductions are considered, the net benefits rise to $15-$18 billion, exclusive of monitoring costs. The total benefits of per-mile premiums with a Pigouvian tax to account for accident externalities would be $19-$25 billion, or $111-$146 per insured vehicle, exclusive of monitoring costs. Accident externalities may go a long way toward explaining why most insurance companies have not switched to per-mile premiums despite these large potential social benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaron S. Edlin, 2003. "Per-Mile Premiums for Auto Insurance," Law and Economics 0303001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0303001
    Note: 51 pages, Acrobat .pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Delucchi, Mark A. & McCubbin, Donald R., 2010. "External Costs of Transport in the U.S," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt13n8v8gq, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    2. Daniel P. Kessler & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 2004. "Empirical Study of the Civil Justice System," NBER Working Papers 10825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Santos, Georgina & Behrendt, Hannah & Maconi, Laura & Shirvani, Tara & Teytelboym, Alexander, 2010. "Part I: Externalities and economic policies in road transport," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 2-45.
    4. Alma Cohen & Peter Siegelman, 2010. "Testing for Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(1), pages 39-84.
    5. Cohen, Alma & Dehejia, Rajeev, 2004. "The Effect of Automobile Insurance and Accident Liability Laws on Traffic Fatalities," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 357-393, October.
    6. Elizabeth Kopits & Maureen Cropper, 2008. "Why Have Traffic Fatalities Declined in Industrialised Countries?: Implications for Pedestrians and Vehicle Occupants," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 42(1), pages 129-154, January.
    7. Parry, Ian W. H., 2004. "Comparing alternative policies to reduce traffic accidents," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 346-368, September.
    8. Edlin, Aaron S. & Karaca-Mandic, Pinar, 2007. "The Accident Externality from Driving," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt6179d3nw, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    9. Steimetz, Seiji S.C., 2008. "Defensive driving and the external costs of accidents and travel delays," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 703-724, November.
    10. Shanjun Li, 2012. "Traffic safety and vehicle choice: quantifying the effects of the ‘arms race’ on American roads," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 34-62, January.
    11. Edlin, Aaron S. & Karaca-Mandic, Pinar, 2005. "The Accident Externality from Driving," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2h23t6rt, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    12. Tsai, Jyh-Fa & Chu, Chih-Peng & Hu, Shou-Ren, 2015. "Road pricing for congestion and accident externalities for mixed traffic of motorcycles and automobiles," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 153-166.
    13. Edlin, Aaron S. & Karaca-Mandic, Pinar, 2005. "The Accident Externality from Driving," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0hw1m6q2, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    14. Ian W. H. Parry, 2005. "Is Pay-as-You-Drive Insurance a Better Way to Reduce Gasoline than Gasoline Taxes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 288-293, May.
    15. Kromer, Matthew A. & Bandivadekar, Anup & Evans, Christopher, 2010. "Long-term greenhouse gas emission and petroleum reduction goals: Evolutionary pathways for the light-duty vehicle sector," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 387-397.
    16. Laszlo Goerke, 2003. "Road Traffic and Efficient Fines," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 65-84, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General

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