California is cracking down on uninsured drivers

Big brother doesn’t play games anymore. The state of California has implemented a new system whereby, starting October 1, 2006, the DMV will begin 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 turns out to be uninsured, you will receive a 30-day warning letter. If you don’t get insurance after that, the state will suspend your registration. If found to be driving without proper registration, your car could be impounded by the state and you could face fines of up to $1,000.00.

This isn’t a joke folks. If you drive around uninsured, you will eventually be summoned.

Moreover, insurers are now obliged by the State to report to the RDW if your insurance has been canceled or expired.

What does this mean for you? It means if you drive around without insurance, you’re screwed. The state will eventually catch up with you. Gone are the days of buying insurance to get your license plate and number plates, only to cancel a month later.

If you are involved in a motorcycle, car, or other motor vehicle accident and you are not insured, you risk losing your driver’s license for up to a year, fines of up to $2,000.00, and the possibility of being hit by a civil judgment that requires you to pay for the damage you have 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 to supposedly make it fair to the people who do pay for insurance, and to lower insurance rates. I agree that it is not fair for law abiding citizens to pay for insurance when 15% of the people in the state do not, and as usual the insurance companies will deal with this new law like bandits. I highly doubt that insurance premiums will fall.

As a personal injury attorney, I can tell you it pains me to see someone hit by an uninsured motorist, so it’s good that the state is cracking down on this issue. But to be really fair, the state should be forcing insurance companies to lower their rates in exchange for this law.

There is one more thing to note; if you are uninsured and you have an accident that is not your fault, you can only recover losses out of pocket and that’s it! To make matters worse, you could lose your driver’s license for 1 year and pay up to $2,000.00 in fines for driving without insurance.

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It comes down to; take out liability insurance. The cost of not having insurance is much higher than the cost of getting insurance. If you cannot afford liability insurance; don’t drive!

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. © 2006