California's Department of Insurance contends that the adjustments were necessary to due to inflation and a need to account for damage to more than one person to reach the damage total.
(PRWEB) May 17, 2012
Car insurance discounts, especially in today's economy, are very important to motorists. California recently made changes to state auto insurance regulations that make it easier to determine if a motorist was at fault for a particular accident. The amendments to the state's insurance laws, approved by California's Office of Administrative Law, also permit insurers to use evidence they may have indicating that the actions of the driver caused the accident. This includes acts of omission where the driver is at fault for not having done something they should have done to prevent an accident.
The new amendments allow for the submission of any evidence without specific restrictions on what is considered evidence. The previous regulations specified six specific circumstances when a drive would not be considered at-fault, regardless of the circumstances involved with the accident. Under California auto insurance regulations, a driver is considered at-fault if they were at least 51 percent responsible for an accident. This includes accidents the occurred because of something a driver did or failed to do in order to prevent the accident in the first place.
While the intent of changes to the insurance regulations regarding driver fault are meant to cover situations where the driver is legally not considered at-fault even though their actions or lack of actions caused the accident. An unfortunate result of the changes affects good-driver discounts. The updated regulations make a California driver ineligible for good-driver discounts if they have a single violation point on their record. A driver is also ineligible if they were considered at-fault for an accident or crash that resulted in death, significant bodily injury or property damage totally at least $1,000.
The new regulations cover a three-year period. Previously, the damage level was $750 and applied per individual. The updated insurance regulations cover all bodily injury and property damage resulting from an accident. California's Department of Insurance contends that the adjustments were necessary to due to inflation and a need to account for damage to more than one person to reach the damage total. The regulations apply to any insurance company offering auto insurance coverage in the state, even those operating online or not based directly in California.
Auto insurance providers offering coverage to California motorists are required to assign one violation point for each crash resulting in property damage where a driver is determined to be at-fault. Originally, eligibility for good-driver discounts was outlined as part of consumer protection legislation passed in 1988 as part of Proposition 103. Supporters of the new regulations claim that the adjustments to the state's insurance laws make it easier for California drivers to obtain cheaper auto insurance. When a driver qualifies for a good-driver discount, they can save about 20 percent from what their premium would normally be without a discount.
Changes in California's insurance regulations also change how insurers access drivers' information when an accident occurs. Insurers can now use databases from the Insurance Services Office and other insurance-based databases to make an at-fault determination. Previously, insurers had to rely solely on reports generated by the Department of Motor Vehicles. DMV reports often lack sufficient information to make an at-fault determination. Without more conclusive information, at-fault determinations tended to be more of a judgment call.
Another part of the new regulations establishes a consistent procedure a driver's insurance provider is required to follow when an accident is reported. This policy applies to any future insurer's a driver may have. This uniform policy is used to determine whether or not a driver was at-fault. The new procedure includes written notice of the insurer's investigation of the accident and the resulting determination. According to the amended rules, the basis of that decision must be included in the written notice. Under the new regulations, insurers cannot find a driver previously at-fault in another accident or crash simply for not providing enough information to make an at-fault determination at the time.
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