The times they are a changing. It seems like everything is done electronically nowadays, and insurance, in certain states, is no different. Case in point? Georgia.
A relatively new electronic database in the Peach State is used to confirm whether or not you’re “legal” when it comes to your auto insurance coverage. As with nearly every state, Georgia requires drivers to carry at least the state minimum car insurance coverage.
How GEICS Works
Auto insurance companies who issue policies in Georgia are now required to electronically transmit policy information to the Georgia Electronic Insurance Compliance System (GEICS) within 30 days of a policy effective date. Specifically, a vehicle’s VIN number and the policy effective date.
GEICS then confirms the information they receive by cross referencing the information from the insurer with what they have in their database.
The kicker here is that insurers are also responsible for sending notification if a particular policy cancels for any reason. This essentially rules out the invalid “paper” auto liability ID card.
If your coverage cancels, the state and law enforcement will know immediately. Put simply, you’ll be much less likely to “get away with” driving uninsured. And you may have to pay a fine for any lapse.
Why the Change?
The idea is to encourage vehicle owners to purchase and maintain liability insurance coverage on their vehicles, reduce the number of uninsured drivers on Georgia roadways, and to help law enforcement verify whether or not a particular vehicle is insured more easily.
It is believed that an electronic system will help provide more accurate and up-to-date information on insurance coverage. As mentioned, the “old” paper ID cards may or may not be valid at any given time.
For example, you may purchase an auto insurance policy, and then allow your coverage to lapse, but still hang on to the ID card that proves you’re covered. How would a police officer, a judge, or the Department of Motor Vehicles know that your coverage lapsed? They wouldn’t, and that’s the idea here.
When Do I Need to Show Proof of Liability Coverage?
There are a few key times when you need to provide evidence of insurance coverage:
1. When you are questioned by law enforcement (think when you get pulled over for a speeding ticket).
2. When you register your vehicle (or renew a registration).
3. When you replace or transfer existing license plates (also known as “tags”).
In years past, you could simply provide your auto liability ID card and be on your way. Not the case in Georgia anymore folks.
In summary, you can expect this sort of technology to expand quickly to other states as they work to ensure that more drivers are covered while on their roadways.
This means there’s an even greater chance you’ll get busted if you try to operate a vehicle without insurance.