Posted in: Commentary,
by Gregg Laskoski on Jan 10, 2014 02:00 PM
If you live in California, Oregon, Oklahoma or Nevada and you got a letter in the mail recently from your insurance company, don't ignore it. They could be telling you about new laws that went into effect Jan. 1 that now impact your car insurance.
For instance, California policyholders there who want to renew their California car insurance policy can choose to do so electronically under SB 251, a piece of legislation that was signed into law in September and supported by the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC), a state industry group.
Similar state laws have been implemented across the U.S. in the past year.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s long-running battle against uninsured drivers will see a new chapter beginning this month as the state stiffens penalties for motorists who are on the road without coverage.
HB 1792 was introduced to much political fanfare earlier last year, with traffic safety and regulatory officials in the insurance industry applauding the piece of legislation as a comprehensive approach to a years-long problem in the state.
Among other things, the bill allows police to confiscate license plates of drivers they find to lack insurance and requires those drivers to obtain coverage from a temporary car insurer.
The rate of uninsured drivers in Oklahoma is above the national average, spurring the bill’s sponsoring representative to label the problem a “plague on Oklahoma motorists for decades."
In Nevada, the New Year ushers in fresh availability of driving rights for many Nevada motorists, as well as a rush of those motorists to car insurance providers.
Lawmakers predict that tens of thousands of undocumented drivers in Nevada will apply for “driver authorization cards.” The cards were made available by SB 303, a piece of legislation allowing the cards to be issued to Nevada drivers, regardless of their immigration status, and makes them subject to the state’s requirements for driving and insurance coverage.
Nevada’s bill contains provisions similar to other pieces of legislation across the U.S., all of which open driving rights to undocumented immigrants in various ways, including an amendment in Washington, D.C., that created “limited purpose” licenses available to drivers lacking legal status.
Not surprisingly, such state proposals have sparked mixed reactions from lawmakers and drivers.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said it would strengthen public safety on the state’s roads... but in Oregon where a similar bill is under consideration, voters are not convinced.
In Oregon the availability of driving licenses to undocumented immigrants was delayed and now hinges on a November 2014 referendum. Voters will go to the ballot box to decide the fate of the licensing program created through a bill that lawmakers there passed in May.