PIANJ offers DOBI Suggestions on Proof of Auto Ownership

January 21, 2004

The Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey Inc. said in a comment to the state’s Department of Banking and Insurance, that it supports attempts to remedy confusion about rules for effecting coverage for auto insurance. It also offered some alternative approaches that would make it easier for drivers to obtain coverage.

The PIANJ’s comments came in response to the DOBI’s proposed change in its rules that would require drivers to include, as part of a completed auto application, either a copy of the registrations for all vehicles insured under a policy or proof of ownership and a copy of an application for the registration of each vehicle.

“We think it’s commendable that the department is trying to clarify rules for effecting auto insurance,” stated PIANJ President John D’Agostino Jr., CIC. “The goal of allowing proof of ownership and a copy of the application for registration as an alternative to providing the vehicle registration is to make clear that auto applicants with a newly acquired vehicle are not required to provide proof of registration to obtain insurance, since that is impossible.”

But D’Agostino noted that requiring an application for registration is an extra step that most companies do not require. “Since most companies will accept proof of ownership alone to obtain insurance, requiring both a proof of ownership and a copy of the application for registration will add an additional step for the consumer. Now, you would have to make a trip to the DMV just to obtain an application.”

The PIANJ suggested that the rule provide that satisfactory proof of ownership alone should be an acceptable alternative to the copy of the motor vehicle registration. “Since most insurance companies already accept proof of ownership by itself, the department might be able to accomplish its goal simply by issuing a bulletin to insurers advising them that a satisfactory proof of ownership is acceptable,” D’Agostino continued

Another alternative PIANJ offered the DOBI was to require proof of ownership with the application and then require that the motor vehicle registration be provided within a certain number of days after transmittal of the application, another practice currently allowed by some companies. “We appreciate the department’s receptiveness to our comment,” D’Agostino commented. “Our goals are the same-to ease the burden of obtaining auto insurance for New Jersey drivers.”

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