California to Extend Low-Cost Auto Program to Same Sex Spouses

March 10, 2011

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has filed regulations to add the category of “spouse” to the application form for the state’s Low Cost Auto Insurance Program.

“The definition of marriage has changed over time in California, and it is imperative government forms reflect this change as well,” Jones said. “This change to the Low Cost Auto form will ensure that the application process is inclusive for all Californians.’

Jones said he also asked his staff to review all the forms to make certain the forms treat equally same sex couples who were married in 2008, or those who may marry in the future.

The validity of same sex marriages under California law has changed over time. Currently, same sex marriages performed after 5 p.m. on June 16, 2008, through Nov. 4, 2008. are recognized in California. For periods other than after 5 p.m. June 16, 2008 through Nov. 4, 2008, California’s domestic partnership law controls.

The regulations will allow the gender-neutral term “spouse” to be used on the California Automobile Low Cost Application. Furthermore, the regulations will also apply to couples who may have married elsewhere and whose marriages are recognized under California law. The form had previously only allowed “husband,” “wife” or “domestic partner.”

California’s Low Cost Auto Program is designed to provide auto insurance to low-income, good drivers, and reduce the number of uninsured drivers in the state. To qualify for the program, drivers must be at least 19 years of age or older and be continuously licensed for the past three years; qualify as a good driver; have a vehicle valued at $20,000 or less; and meet certain income eligibility requirements.

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