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What is the penalty for lapse of auto insurance in California?


According to California Vehicle Code section 16020 every driver and every owner of a motor vehicle shall at all times be able to establish financial responsibility and shall at all times carry in the vehicle evidence of the form of financial responsibility in effect for the vehicle. Failure to show proof of insurance when requested may result in fines or a suspended license and even impounding the vehicle if you are caught driving it without insurance.

In 2004 legislation, SB 1500, was signed into law requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to notify a customer about possible vehicle registration suspension if their insurance company fails to provide proof of insurance within 30 days of a vehicle's initial registration with the department, or within 45 days once DMV has been notified by an insurance carrier about a policy cancellation or change in coverage.

The initial provision of SB 1500, which took effect Jan. 1, 2006, requires that insurance companies doing business in California electronically report all private-use vehicle (except trailers, off-highway vehicles or boats) liability policies to DMV, both when a policy is issued and/or cancelled.

Since July 1, 2006, law enforcement agencies have been able to electronically verify if any private-use vehicle is properly insured by accessing the department's vehicle registration database. So earlier this year (2006), police departments throughout California began accessing DMV's insurance database. Now, traffic officers are more likely to write tickets for lack of insurance when also checking for registration during a traffic stop.

Effective October 1, 2006 the DMV will begin suspending a car's registration when insurance lapses or is cancelled. California legislatures passed this bill in hopes of keeping motorist from buying insurance for a few months and then canceling, basically betting that they won't cause death or injury to others until registration renewal time.

If your insurance has lapsed and you are in need of obtaining new insurance coverage on your automobile, get a California car insurance quote here with us.


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1 Responses to "What is the penalty for lapse of auto insurance in California?"
  1. Anonymous

    does not tell you what to do about it after you regain insurance.