Big brother is not playing games anymore. The State of California has implemented a new system whereby as of October 1, 2006, the DMV begin a systematic review of the 22.4 million private cars, light trucks and motorcycles registered in the state.
If your motorcycle, car, truck or other motor vehicle is found to be uninsured you will get a 30 day warning letter. If you fail to get insurance after that the State will suspend you registration. If you are found to be driving without a proper registration, your car can be seized by the State, and you can face fines of up to $1,000.00.
This is no joke folks. If you are driving around without insurance you will eventually be dinged.
Furthermore, insurance providers are now required by the State to notify the DMV if your insurance is cancelled or expired.
What does this mean to you? It means if you are driving around with no insurance you are screwed. The State will eventually catch up to you. The days of buying insurance to get your registration and plates, only to cancel one month later are over.
If you get into a motorcycle, car or other motor vehicle accident and have no insurance, you face losing your drivers license for up to a year, fines of up to $2,000.00, and the possibility of being hit with a civil judgment which requires you to pay for the damage you have caused.
The minimum liability insurance requirements in the State are presently $10,000.00 for property damage, $15,000.00 per person, and $30,000.00 per occurrence.
The purpose of the law is to supposedly make it fair to the people that do pay for insurance, and to drive down insurance rates. I agree that it is not fair that law abiding citizens pay for insurance while 15% of the people in the State do not, however, and as usual, the insurance companies will make out like bandits with this new law. I doubt seriously that insurance rates will go down.
As a personal injury lawyer I can tell you that it pains me to see someone get hit by an uninsured motorist so it is good that the State is cracking down on this issue. However to be really fair the State should force the insurance companies to lower their rates in return for this law.
There is one other thing to note; if you are uninsured and you get into an accident that is not your fault, no will only be able to recover out of pocket losses and that is it! To add insult to injury you could lose your drivers license for 1 year and have to pay up to $2,000.00 in fines for driving without insurance.
The bottom line; get liability insurance. The cost of not having insurance is much greater than the cost of getting insurance. If you cannot afford liability insurance; do not drive!
By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. © 2006