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Q

When showing proof of insurance in court, does it have to be in my name, or can someone else be the policy holder?


A

State laws differ as do what certain court jurisdictions requirements on what you can bring to court to show proof of insurance if you were cited for driving without insurance. If you were driving a car which you would have been covered by the owner's insurance policy then many times as long as you bring in proof from their insurance company stating that the vehicle had coverage on it by the owner at the time of your citation and this coverage would have extended to you, then this proof of insurance will be accepted by the court.

There are some states though that require you as a driver to be insured, and just not drive a car around that is insured by others without you being a policyholder or listed driver. Since laws do vary from state to state, if you were cited for driving without insurance you will need to contact the court listed on your ticket to find out what proof of insurance they will accept according to state laws.

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You may want to see if there will be any fines or court costs that you will still have to pay even if you are able to get the uninsured motorist ticket dismissed. Once you are aware of what is needed then contact the insurance company of the vehicle to get the correct documents to you so you can take to court.

Below are a couple of examples of what courts in different states require as proof of insurance in order to dismiss a ticket.

According to the Plano, Texas Municipal Court if a driver is issued a citation for failure to maintain financial responsibility (Insurance) and he or she was in fact covered by an insurance policy at the time the citation was issued, the driver (defendant in court) may present proof of financial responsibility to have the citation dismissed. The proof must indicate the following six items:

  • The name, address, and telephone number of the insurer;
  • The insurance policy number;
  • The policy period (the effective and expiration date);
  • The name and address of each insured;
  • The policy limits or a statement that coverage complies with the minimum amounts of liability insurance required; and
  • The make and model of each covered vehicle.

In the Plano court if the proof does not reflect all six (6) requirements, the proof will not be accepted by the Court. The defendant will have to either obtain a new card from the insurance carrier reflecting the necessary requirements, or obtain a letter from the insurance carrier, on company letterhead, stating each of the requirements that are not indicated on the insurance card.

The Superior Court of California states that Section 16028 of the Vehicle Code requires "every driver and every owner of a motor vehicle" to be in possession of proof of financial responsibility at all times. Section 16028 requires that drivers present proof of financial responsibility upon the demand of a peace officer.

A person cited for violation of this section (16028) can have the violation dismissed by either:

  • Personally appearing before the clerk of the court designated on the citation, and:
    • presenting proof of financial responsibility showing that the driver was in compliance with this law at the time ticket was issued
    • paying a $10 processing fee
  • Mailing this proof and the $10 payment (payable to Kern County Superior Court) to the court.

Acceptable proofs of financial responsibility are any of the following, per subdivision (B) of VC 16028:

  • The name of the insurance or surety company that issued a policy or bond for the vehicle that meets the requirements of Section 16056 and is currently in effect, and the number of the insurance policy or surety bond.
  • If the owner is a self-insurer, as provided in Section 16052 or a depositor, as provided in Section 16054.2, the certificate or deposit number issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • An insurance covering note, as specified in Section 382 of the Insurance Code.
  • A showing that the vehicle is owned or leased by, or under the direction of, the United States or any public entity, as defined in Section 811.2 of the Government Code.

Subdivision (d) of 16020 prescribes that the "evidence of financial responsibility" will be in writing, and established by writing the name of the insurance company or surety company and the policy number on the vehicle registration card issued by the department.

Contact the clerk of the court at the courthouse listed on your ticket for being uninsured and you should find out what exact proof of insurance documentation you will need to show the court in order to get your citation dismissed.


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