Fresno, Calif., Qualifies for State’s Low-Cost Auto Insurance Program

March 14, 2006

Insurance Commissioner Garamendi has announced that the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance program will launch in Fresno County on April 1, bringing an opportunity for eligible low income good drivers to get state-required liability insurance for under $400 a year.

Recent legislation, Senate Bill 20 sponsored by the Commissioner, expanded the program to the counties of Fresno, Alameda, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego, effective April 1. The legislation also authorized the Commissioner to launch the program throughout the state based upon his determination of need and a public meeting to solicit public input. The Commissioner announced his plans in January to expand the program to eight additional counties: Santa Clara, San Mateo, Imperial, Kern, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Stanislaus.

Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Montebello, said the program is key to improving the lives of many who cannot afford insurance now. “My goal in creating the Low Cost Auto Insurance Program six years ago was to provide an affordable alternative for consumers who are required to have, but simply cannot afford, a conventional policy,” said Sen. Escutia. “The expansion of the program to additional California counties is a blessing for many working families who are searching for affordable auto insurance.”

The California Low Cost Automobile Insurance program was created in 1999 to provide low income good drivers with access to affordable automobile insurance. Currently, the program is only available in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties. With the additional counties permitted by SB 20, eligible motorists from 16 counties will soon be able to take advantage of the program. Program policies are issued by California licensed insurers and the program is administered by the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan. Rates are set in each county so that premiums are sufficient to cover losses and expenses in each county.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must be a “good driver” – no more than one at-fault property damage only accident, or one point for a moving violation in the past three years; and no at-fault accident involving bodily injury or death in the past three years; and no felony or misdemeanor conviction for a violation of the Vehicle Code.

Additionally, family income cannot exceed 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($24,500 for a single person, $33,000 for two persons and $50,000 for a family of four). The value of an insured vehicle must not exceed $20,000. For more information about the program, call (866) 602-8861.

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