Online Auto Insurance: New Law Highlights Cost of Driving Unlicensed

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OnlineAutoInsurance.com is releasing the findings of it's latest quote-comparison, which looks to quantify the price effects of having a conviction for driving without a license.

California Gov. Jerry Brown announced on Sunday he has signed a bill into law that will bar local police agencies from impounding vehicles at sobriety checkpoints solely because their drivers are unlicensed.

Impoundments can be costly affairs, especially when they can last as long as 30 days. The investigative reporting website California Watch reports that these impoundments have generated “up to $2,000 in fines and fees per car.”

But even though many motorists will now be spared these fees, OnlineAutoInsurance.com says those caught driving without a license will still feel the lingering costs of a conviction when they go to find cheap car insurance in California from major insurers.

To quantify the monetary effects of such a conviction, the online comparison site ran rate quotes for a single driver profile with a completely clean record, then with one charge of driving with no license and then with one charge of driving with a suspended license. Quotes were returned for 11 California companies.

They found that getting behind the wheel without the privilege do so could have a substantial effect on auto insurance prices, especially if the reason for not having a license is that it’s suspended.

The following are some of the key findings:

  •     Having a single conviction of driving without a license pushed up premiums by as much as 37 percent
  •     The average premium increase for a conviction of being behind the wheel without a license was 23 percent
  •     Three insurers did not raise premiums due to a conviction for driving without a license
  •     Insurers view driving with a suspended license as a much more serious offense than driving with no license
  •     A conviction of driving with a suspended license pushed up premiums by between 28 percent and 76 percent
  •     The average increase for driving with a suspended license was 56 percent
  •     All 11 insurers raised premiums for having a conviction of driving with a suspended license

Statistics have shown that motorists who are unlicensed or drive with a suspended license may pose a heightened safety risk. According to the California Legislature, more than one-fifth of the drivers involved in fatal accidents are not licensed to drive, and a driver with a suspended license is four times as likely as a licensed driver to be involved in a fatal accident.

Source: http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d06/vc14607_4.htm

To learn more about this and other California car insurance issues, readers can go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/california/ where they will find an easy-to-use rate-comparison generator.

Note on quote-comparison methodology: The comparison cited in this release was based off of quotes for a 15/30/10 liability policy given to a 30-year-old, married male who lives in the 91730 ZIP code of California and drives a 2010 Toyota Corolla LE.

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Benjamin Zitney
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