California cracks down on uninsured drivers

California cracks down on uninsured drivers

Big brother isn’t playing anymore. The State of California has implemented a new system under which, as of October 1, 2006, the DMV begins a systematic review of the 22.4 million passenger 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 receive a 30-day warning letter. If you fail to get insurance after that, the state will suspend your registration. If you are found to be driving without proper registration, your car can be impounded by the state and you can face fines of up to $1000.00.

This is no joke folks. If you drive without insurance, you will end up tired.

In addition, insurance providers are now required by the state to notify the DMV if your insurance is canceled or has expired.

What does this mean for you? This means if you drive without insurance, you’re screwed. The state will eventually catch up with you. The days of buying insurance to get your registration and plates, only to cancel a month later, are over.

If you are involved in a motorcycle, car or other motor vehicle accident and do not have insurance, you face the loss of your driver’s license for up to one year, fines of up to $2,000.00, and the possibility of being hit with a civil judgment that requires you pay for the damage you caused.

The minimum liability insurance requirements in the state are currently $10,000.00 for property damage, $15,000.00 per person and $30,000.00 per occurrence.

The purpose of the law is supposedly to make it fair to people who pay for insurance and to lower insurance rates. I agree that it is not fair for law abiding citizens to pay for insurance while 15% of the people in the state do not, however, and as usual the insurance companies are going to play bandits with this new law. I highly doubt insurance will go down.

As a personal injury attorney, I can tell you that it pains me to see someone get hit by an uninsured driver, so it’s good that the state is taking action on this. But to be truly fair, the state should force insurance companies to lower their rates in exchange for this law.

There is one more thing to note; if you are uninsured and you are in an accident that is not your fault, you will not be able to recover only out of pocket losses and that’s it! To add insult to injury, you can lose your driver’s license for 1 year and have to pay up to $2000.00 in fines for driving without insurance.

The bottom row; get liability insurance. The cost of not having insurance is much greater than the cost of getting insurance. If you cannot afford liability insurance; don’t drive!

By Norman Gregory Fernandes, Esq. © 2006

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