Insurance verification required to renew vehicle registration on Jan. 1

Published 11:00 pm Friday, December 14, 2012

Beginning January 1, the Pike County Probate Judge’s Office will begin attempting to verify liability insurance using the State of Alabama Online Insurance Verification System.

The system should allow license plate issuing officials to immediately verify the insurance status of a vehicle. However, if insurance cannot be verified, vehicle owners must provide evidence of insurance.

“The most common way to do that is with your insurance card you carry in your wallet or vehicle,” said Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen. “A good rule of thumb for this first year is to bring in your insurance card when you register your car or renew your license. That will save time if you can’t be verified.”

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For people who want to renew through the mail, insurance policy numbers and an insurance company’s NAIC number should be documented on the renewal form.

The policy of the Probate Office checking to make sure motorists are insured comes as part of a statewide Legislative action.

According to information from the Alabama Department of Public Safety, 22 percent of motorists in Alabama are uninsured. That makes the state the sixth worst in the nation.

The Alabama Mandatory Liability Insurance Law provides that no person shall operate, register, or maintain registration of a motor vehicle designed to be used on a public road or highway unless it is covered by a liability insurance policy.

“This online system will allow for immediate verification of insurance status on vehicles,” Allen said. “It also will allow law enforcement to immediately verify status, as well.”

Unless someone changes insurance carriers, there should be no need to bring in proof of insurance after the first year.

Insurance policies must provide coverage of $25,000 for death or bodily injury to one person; $50,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons; and $25,000 for damage and destruction of property.

Trailers, government-owned vehicles and vehicles covered under a commercial automobile liability insurance policy are exempt from the law, according to the ADPS.

In addition to providing evidence of insurance, a valid state issued driver’s license, non-driver ID card, or national driver’s license must be provided for each owner who appears on the vehicle title. If the vehicle is owned by a company, the federal employer identification number is required.

An owner or operator who is convicted of a mandatory liability insurance violation may be fined up to $500 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for the second, coupled with the possibility of a six-month suspension of their driver’s license.

In addition, if a vehicle is registered or operation without insurance, the registration will be suspended and the owner will be charged a $200 reinstatement fee for the first violation and $400 for violations after that. Secondary or subsequent violations also come with a mandatory four-month registration suspension.