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CA Department of Insurance

AB 60 driver licenses believed to cause 2015 bump in insured vehicles

News: 2016 Press Release

For Release: November 17, 2016
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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AB 60 driver licenses believed to cause 2015 bump in insured vehicles
Department of Insurance sees unexplained increase of 200,000 insured vehicles in 2015
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that AB 60 (Alejo 2013), which provided California driver licenses to those who could not submit proof of legal presence in the United States, might have led to a modest decrease in the number of uninsured motorists in California.

According to a preliminary analysis by the California Department of Insurance, in 2015, the first year since the passage of AB 60, the number of insured vehicles increased by 200,000 more vehicles than would have been expected. In the previous three years, the percentage of insured vehicles increased at the same rate as the number of registered vehicles, but the department's analysis shows an unexpected increase in the number of insured vehicles in 2015.

"Many hoped to see an increase in insurance after California issued AB 60 driver licenses, and this preliminary data appears to show more insured vehicles than we would have expected in 2015," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "This needs more study, but the preliminary data is encouraging."

Under AB 60, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can issue an original driver license to an applicant who lacks proof of legal presence in the United States and meets all other requirements to obtain a driver license.

While the department believes the increase in insured automobiles can likely be attributed to AB 60, it is important to note there is an apples-to-oranges relationship between drivers licenses, registered vehicles, and insured vehicles. Every new AB 60 driver license would not be expected to yield a new insured vehicle because of the following:
  • Californians do not need auto insurance to obtain a driver license (but they do need auto insurance to register a vehicle).
  • Prior to AB 60, undocumented immigrants could register a vehicle with a Matricula Consular or an out-of-state driver license.
  • Before AB 60, undocumented immigrants may have had a properly insured and registered vehicle, but not had a California driver license.
  • Attempting to tie the number of insured vehicles directly to the number of driver licenses is not an accurate representation of the number of insured vehicles, as there are may be multiple drivers for one vehicle and the insurance follows the vehicle. 
It is also possible that other factors, including the improving economy and lower gas prices, allowed more Californians to make installments payments and keep their auto insurance in force.
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Media Notes:

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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