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Arizona Proposal to Punish Forgetful Motorists
An Arizona lawmaker wants to let insurance companies off the hook if keys are left in a car that becomes stolen.

Sen. Linda GrayArizona State Senator Linda Gray (R-Phoenix) does not want insurance companies to pay the claims of forgetful motorists. Anyone who walks away from a running car, or who merely leaves the keys inside, would be out of luck in the event a thief takes advantage of the situation. Gray's legislation introduced last week, SB 1059, would modify state law to allow insurance companies to avoid their obligation to pay for the motorist's loss in such cases.

The proposal would require the insurer to prove "by a preponderance of the evidence" that the availability of keys inside the vehicle "contributed to" the loss in order to avoid payment.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, 55,306 vehicles were stolen in Arizona in 2004, only 67 percent of which were ever recovered. Gray thinks her legislation could significantly cut down on the number of stolen automobiles.

Article Excerpt:
State of Arizona, Forty-seventh Legislature
Second Regular Session 2006
SB 1059
Introduced by Senator Gray

AN ACT amending title 20, chapter 2, article 2, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 20-272; relating to vehicle insurance.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 20, chapter 2, article 2, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 20-272, to read:

20-272. Vehicle insurance; limitation on loss for failure of insured to remove ignition key

An insurer writing private passenger vehicle insurance may limit or exclude from coverage damages for loss of the vehicle and the property inside the vehicle if the insurer proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the insured contributed to the loss of the vehicle and the property inside that vehicle by failing to remove the keys from the ignition system of the vehicle or leaving the keys to the vehicle inside the vehicle.