California Low-Cost Auto Program Available in Palm Springs

April 20, 2009

In light of skyrocketing unemployment rates and harsh economic conditions, California Insurance Commissioner Poizner offered struggling Palm Springs residents an affordable automobile insurance option through the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance program.

“With unemployment hitting 12.6 percent in Riverside County, too many families are having trouble making ends meet,” Poizner said. “Many are looking for ways to cut their expenses, and some are undoubtedly considering eliminating auto insurance. But driving without insurance is illegal and puts every vehicle on the road at risk. I urge all Palm Springs motorists to shop around for the best auto insurance product to fit their individual needs. The Low Cost Auto Insurance program is one affordable option to help drivers comply with the law and protect all motorists from potential losses.”

Motorists driving without insurance can have their vehicle registrations suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles under SB 1500, which became effective Jan. 1, 2006, as part of legislation designed to reduce the risk of economic losses sustained as the result of collisions involving uninsured motorists.

The low cost auto insurance program provides eligible good drivers with auto liability coverage, currently for under $400 a year and as little as under $300 a year in many counties. In Riverside County, an LCA policy costs $262 per year. Since its inception, approximately 45,000 policies have been issued statewide. In Riverside County, 754 policies have been issued since the LCA program was made available there in 2000. Program policies are issued by California licensed insurers and the program is administered by the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan.

The California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program is 100 percent unsubsidized by taxpayers. The program is self-sustaining. Rates are set in each county so that premiums are sufficient to cover losses and expenses in each county.

There are a number of eligibility requirements for the program, including:

-An applicant 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.

-An applicant must be at least 19 years of age with 3 or more years of continuous driving experience.

-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.

-Family income cannot exceed 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($26,000 for a single person, $35,000 for two persons and $53,000 for a family of four).

-The value of an insured vehicle must not exceed $20,000.

For more information about the program, call 866-60-AUTO-1 (866-602-8861).

The California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program was established in 1999 as a pilot program in Los Angeles and San Francisco. SB 20, passed in 2005, authorized the Commissioner to launch the program throughout the state upon his determination of need in each county. Beginning in April 2006, the department began expanding the program statewide. Commissioner Poizner made the LCA program available to every county in the state in December 2007.

Source: DOI

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