He had vehicle insurance, reader says, but DMV said otherwise – Orange County Register


Q. In December, I paid my six-month auto insurance premium. But I recently received a threatening Department of Motor Vehicles “Notice of Intent to Suspend” regarding my vehicle’s registration. The DMV said it did not have a record that my vehicle was insured. My insurance company confirmed that the DMV had been informed electronically about my up-to-date policy. The insurance agent told me that she, too, had received such a notice despite having a fully active policy on her car: A DMV agent told her by phone that the DMV is far behind in entering electronic notifications of renewals into its system. So the agency is sending out “Intent to Suspend” notices despite knowing that the failure is almost certainly on its end. I then mailed confirmation of my insurance to the DMV. This is a grave disservice to California drivers resulting in angst, wasted time and effort. What can be done to prevent the DMV from shifting the burden of proof to drivers for its own failure?

– William Skilbeck, West Hills

A. There is a lag time, William, and there was also a glitch.

“The current average processing time for auto insurance verifications into the DMV system is 10 business days,” Ronald Ongtoaboc, a DMV spokesman, told Honk in an email.

Under state law, insurance companies must electronically update the DMV about vehicle insurance. Of course, the company can fail to do so, or mess up the vehicle-information number.

Now, about that glitch.

Besides relying on the insurance company, a driver can submit proof of insurance via the DMV’s website or get help by calling 1-800-777-0133.

So William, it is unclear what happened in your case, but this would have been one way to correct the problem.

But the email address for forwarding proof of insurance was missing for some time.

“The DMV restored it on the website once the department realized it was missing,” Ongtoaboc said. “The DMV apologizes for any inconvenience.”

And, yes, it is vital the DMV knows you have insurance.

“If the DMV does not receive proof of insurance for a vehicle, the vehicle’s registration may be suspended and the vehicle may not be operated or parked on public roadways until proof of insurance is submitted,” Ongtoaboc explained.

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