Due to the tough economic times, many residents of San Joaquin Valley (just like most residents in California) are being forced to let go of some conveniences — auto insurance included. With unemployment at an all time high, more and more Californian motorists are choosing to hit the road uninsured. Affected drivers feel that car insurance is not a necessity but more a financial burden. Faced with budgetary constraints, a lot of people are forced to downplay the benefits of auto coverage.
State officials on the other hand are set to change the mindset of Californians and are on a mission to promote low-cost insurance to low-income families and households. With this state-backed program, motorists who cannot afford to buy regular-priced insurance policies can now have a chance to get adequate insurance. The state-sponsored auto insurance provides enough coverage for drivers to comply with the state’s minimum liability standards.
Research reveals that in 2007 18% of eligible California residents do not have car insurance. State officials fear that the number for the current year maybe much worse with unemployment registering a high 14.1%, a big jump from last year’s 9.4%.
The Department of Insurance and the California Highway Patrol is now taking the lead in promoting the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program to low-income drivers and households.
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner believes that with the current state-backed auto insurance in place, drivers would no longer use the high cost of auto coverage as an excuse. Poizner is worried about the growing number of Californians without auto insurance. He added that uninsured drivers would have to contend with bigger problems if they get involved in traffic accidents.
There are basic requirements that one needs to meet before he can qualify for the low cost auto insurance program. First is that an applicant should be at least 19 years old. He also should have a good driving record, drives a vehicle whose market value is below $20,000, and have an income below state imposed salary ceilings.
Since the program’s introduction, many people have come forward to have themselves insured. For example, in Fresno County, officials have noted a two fold increase in auto insurance policies processed and approved this year compared to the same period last year.
Program officials also observed similar positive trends in other parts of California, however they are quick to admit that there’s still a high number of motorists on the road who are not yet insured. With this in mind, they are planning to ramp up promotional efforts to reach out to as many uninformed motorists as possible.