Vehicle Insurance

Despite having valid insurance, at least 50,000 vehicles at risk of being seized

Defects in state’s auto insurance database may be the reason

As many 50,000 vehicles are at risk of being sized in Utah as reports have merged that defects in state’s auto insurance database could be falsely accusing innocent motorists of driving without insurance.

Audits of the database revealed that the database matches data from over 300 insurance companies to a list of all registered vehicles, is about 96% to 98% accurate in identifying uninsured cars. This lack of 2-4% accuracy means that around 56,000 vehicles could be mistakenly listed as lacking insurance and this could flag drivers of those vehicles as being driving without valid insurance.

Lawmakers are of the opinion that even though agency sends each driver three letters asking them to prove their insurance coverage, there is a possibility that when police use the database to ticket drivers, those vehicles falsely flagged as uninsured could be impounded before their owners even have a chance to contest the database.

According to authorities if a driver shows the police a card from their insurer proving coverage, it might not be considered valid because the information available in the database is considered to be final. This has led authorities to discuss limiting the ability of police to issue tickets based on the insurance database.

Lawmakers are of the opinion that some police departments could abuse the database to hunt down “uninsured” cars and generate revenue. An investigative report by KSL was cited in the discussions held between legislatures wherein it was found that 11,800 tickets for no insurance were issued over three years. Of that number, West Valley City police had issued the highest number of tickets: 568. But out of that 568, 28% were dismissed after motorists went to court to prove they had insurance.

Further it was also suggested that lack of insurance should be treated as a “secondary” offense, which means police cannot pull over cars simply for lacking coverage; they should need to pull drivers over for some other “primary” offense first, such as speeding or a moving violation.

Mina Martin

Mina is a freelance journalist with Insurance Day. She is also a published author with a couple of social studies textbooks and several magazine articles under her belt. She most recently worked for a leading educational publisher as development editor.

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