Many California Hispanics unaware of uninsured motorists requirements

November 6, 2006

On Oct. 1, 2006, the California Department of Motor Vehicles began enforcing Senate Bill 1500 that requires the DMV to suspend a vehicle’s registration if the vehicle does not have a valid insurance policy or bond. According to Infinity Insurance, the change closes a loophole that allowed some residents to provide invalid proof of insurance to the DMV when registering their vehicles and allowed some to cancel their insurance policy shortly after obtaining their registration.

Related to this legislation, starting July 1st of this year Assembly Bill 2709 has given law enforcement officers in the state the ability to electronically verify if a vehicle has auto insurance using the same database as the DMV.

Those changes may have a particular impact on those Hispanic communities that have a high percentage of uninsured motorists, Infinity Insurance indicated. A recent survey by Infinity Insurance Companies and Hispanic Research revealed that some areas with a high concentration of Hispanics have an uninsured motorist rate as high as 32.8 percent.

The same survey also revealed that many Hispanics are becoming aware of this new law. Of those surveyed, 80.9 percent had heard of SB 1500 and 65.0 percent of AB 2709. However, many consumers are still not fully aware of the specific consequences of this legislation, the groups said.

“We are seeing some customers buy auto insurance because of the new laws, but many still aren’t familiar with the requirements of the new law or how they can protect themselves. In addition to featuring this new law in a series of TV commercials, we are working with our media partners as well as agents and brokers to educate the communities that we serve,” said Rafael Arredondo, Hispanic Business Development Manager for Infinity Insurance.

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