FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —
Record high unemployment rates across California mean many more
uninsured drivers on the road. But there is help for low income
motorists. The state has a program that could get you covered for less
than $25.00 per month.
Department of Insurance estimates that close to 20% of drivers in
California are uninsured … but in today’s tough economy, they suspect
that number is much higher.
Darrel Ng said, "Statistics show
that at least one in five Californians does not have auto insurance, so
we know that as the rate of unemployment increases so does the rate of
people not having auto insurance."
In the Valley where every
county is experiencing double digit unemployment … insurance agents
like Ron Wells have noticed some clients are saving money by getting rid
of a second or third car, but some are simply letting their policies
"If it comes down to them putting food on the table or
paying that auto insurance payment then more often that not, the food on
the table wins out," said Wells.
For the past three years, the
state department has offered low cost auto insurance — but not enough
people are taking advantage of it.
"That’s why we are doing this
today … we’re trying to get the word out that anybody who qualifies
can have the legal minimum required auto insurance for a very low cost,"
Through the program, qualifying drivers can get
insurance coverage for $258 dollars a year in Fresno County … and as
low as $209 in Tulare County.
To qualify, the applicant can’t
have more than one at-fault accident or moving violation in the past
three years. The car must be worth less than $20,000. And the driver
cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
Wells also recommends getting rid of the extras on your policy if money
is tight … like car rental reimbursement or road side assistance.
Bare minimum coverage is better than no coverage at all.
get pulled over, more than likely you are going to get caught. But
worse than that, if you were to cause a horrific accident and you don’t
have insurance … that’s a real mess," said Wells.
California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program