New Law to Reduce Uninsured Drivers in California

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Original Article found on CollisionWeek

More low-income Californians will now have the opportunity to purchase automobile insurance. Senate Bill 1273 (Lara), sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, expands California’s Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA) to include non-citizen individuals who qualify for California drivers’ licenses next year due to legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

The new law makes reforms and enhancements to the CLCA to ensure that all of California’s low-income drivers have access to affordable auto insurance options. These reforms and enhancements will increase overall participation in the program.

“This bipartisan bill was the single most important action that the Legislature took this year to reduce the estimated three million uninsured vehicles on California’s roadways,” said Commissioner Jones. “The signing of this bill will allow a substantial number of individuals to be eligible for a low-cost insurance option that would otherwise be unavailable. By reducing the number of uninsured drivers, this law will help protect all California motorists. I’d like to sincerely thank Senator Lara for partnering with me and for his tireless efforts to help newly licensed drivers.”

SB 1273 increases compliance with the state’s mandatory auto insurance law in two broad ways. The bill modifies and reforms eligibility requirements for CLCA, which has helped more than 70,000 low-income individuals purchase affordable automobile insurance since the program’s inception in 2000. The bill also recognizes the DMV-estimated 1.4 million non-citizen individuals who will receive drivers’ licenses pursuant to the governor’s signing of AB 60 in 2013. An unknown but likely substantial percentage of these licensees would meet all eligibility criteria of CLCA, except for the requirement of three years of documented driving experience. This bill allows those individuals to qualify for the actuarially sound program, which is backed by insurance rates required to cover the appropriate cost of the risk pool.

The new law will go into effect January 1, 2015.

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