Citing troubling statistics that show 75,000 San Francisco drivers operate motor vehicles without insurance, State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has announced an aggressive new outreach program to spread the word about the state’s Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program.
“Because of the high cost of auto insurance, many of these drivers simply can’t afford to buy coverage,” said Garamendi. “The California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program can help them get insurance for as little as $314 per year and our new outreach program will help make sure they know it’s available.”
The outreach program will work with various groups at the grassroots level, including unions, churches, community organizations, local media and insurance agents. The goal is to highlight the existence of the program, which was created in 1999 and overhauled in 2003, and build interest among low income Californians who could benefit by purchasing the policy.
Garamendi made his announcement at the intersection of 7th and Mission, which had the highest number of injury collisions in San Francisco over the past three years. “No driver should be without basic auto insurance,” Garamendi added. “Why risk it when you can afford it?”
The California Low Cost Auto Insurance program (CLCA) is available to drivers who meet the following requirements:
* Resident of San Francisco or Los Angeles counties;
* Household income less than 250 percent of federal poverty level ($23,275 for an individual; $47,125 for a family of four);
* Must have no more than one at-fault property damage accident or moving violation in past three years, but not a combination of both;
* Must have no more than one point on motor vehicle record in past three years;
* Must not have an at-fault accident involving bodily injury or death in past three years;
* Must not have felony or misdemeanor conviction for violation of California Vehicle Code
Since the program was re-launched in the Los Angeles area last August, the Low Cost Insurance program has:
* Generated more than 7,500 new inquiries;
* Processed more than 3,200 applications;
* Approved 83% of new applicants in time for the holidays;
* Achieved a 26% increase in policies assigned compared to CY 2003; and
* Averaged 1,900 new inquiries per month – compared to 820 average inquiries per month for the previous seven months.
Garamendi is the sponsor of new legislation by Senator Martha Escutia (D-Norwalk) that would expand the program to include uninsured drivers in Alameda, Fresno, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego counties.
“We need more drivers to be aware of this insurance policy,” Garamendi said. “A ticket for driving without auto insurance will cost you twice as much as a one year policy under this Low Cost Auto Insurance Program. Everyone should know that they can give themselves the protection they deserve.”
The policies offered under the CLCA program cover $10,000 for bodily injury or death with a $20,000 maximum per accident. The policy will also cover up to $3,000 property damage to other vehicles, but not the driver’s car.
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