Maine Auto Coverage Cancellation Law in Effect

January 5, 2005

Maine Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky is encouraging all Maine motorists and insurance professionals to familiarize themselves with the state’s new law requiring insurers to report cancellation of mandatory liability insurance coverage on vehicles registered in the state.

It was created through legislation signed into law by Governor John Baldacci earlier this year. The new law went into effect Jan. 1, 2005.

Designed to address the problem of uninsured motorists, the law requires the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to susepnd the registrations of car owners whose coverage has been terminated if they do not provide evidence that new insurance coverage has been obtained. Motorists are expected to receive the first notices under the program on or shortly after January 8, 2005.

Registrations will be suspended if evidence of insurance is not provided within 30 days of the date BMV was notified by the insurance company. The notice to vehicle owners will explain that proof of insurance can be submitted online at www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/poi, or by mail, fax or in person at a BMV branch office.

“The new law is intended to protect the public from motorists who violate Maine law by operating a vehicle without appropriate insurance coverage. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles is seeking to make it as convenient as possible for consumers to provide evidence of active insurance and to avoid the suspension of their registration. We look forward to working with insurance companies and the public to effectively implement the requirements of this new law,” Gwadosky commented.

More than 270 insurers, representing approximately 95 percent of the Maine automobile liability insurance market, have registered in compliance with the law, according to the state.

Gwadosky emphasized that the law requires a registration to be suspended whenever a vehicle’s insurance coverage ends. He noted that the law makes no distinction regarding the reason for the insurance cancellation. Rather, it requires the motorist to demonstrate new active insurance coverage to avoid suspension whenever a policy is terminated. Although insurance companies that cancel policies are not required to notify BMV if they know that new insurance has been obtained elsewhere, Gwadosky said they’re permitted to provide that kind of notification and many are expected to do so.

he also noted that it is likely that some people will receive a notice when they switch insurance companies, since their former insurer will notify BMV that the company has terminated the old policy. The law seeks, in part, to make sure individuals changing insurers report evidence of new coverage as quickly as possible.

More details are available online at www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/poi or by calling BMV’s Financial Responsibility Unit at (207) 624-9000, extension 52108.

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