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Texas Car Insurance Uninsured Rates Decline

Texas car insurance uninsured rates have declined since the introduction of the TexasSure auto insurance verification system in 2008, decreasing the need for tactics like stacking UM/UIM auto insurance. The number of uninsured vehicles on Texas roads has dropped slightly since that time, according to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). The state of Texas has long had a serious problem with uninsured motorists on the road. In fact, the state typically has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the nation. The introduction of the TexasSure system was modeled after other similar systems introduced in Utah and other states that have proven extremely successful at rooting out the uninsured motorist problem.

TexasSure System in Early Stages

Since the launch of TexasSure, the rate of Texas uninsured motorists out on the road appears to be on the decline. The reduction in the first two years of the system's use has been slight, partly owing to the fact that it was made available in phases and partly because drivers have only recently begun getting contacted when their insurance and registration information do not match up in the system.

The TexasSure electronic database auto insurance verification system began to be made available to county tax assessor collectors beginning in the summer of 2008. In the fall of that year it was made available to state law enforcement officials. But the full implementation of the TexasSure system has taken more time. Two years after its initial launch, residents who come up in the database with unmatched records are just beginning to be contacted and notified.

Even though the implementation of the verification system is truly still only in its embryonic stages, there has already been discernable, if slight, progress made toward the goal of eventually bringing Texas' high uninsured rates down. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the database showed soon after its launch that over 24 percent of registered vehicles in the state could not be matched to an insurance policy. As of June of 2010 that number had dipped to well under 22 percent. Obviously the program still has a ways to go to achieve its long term goals, but it is encouraging for TDI officials to see positive momentum with these numbers [1].

How the TexasSure System Works

The TexasSure auto insurance verification system is based on a simple concept, but one that requires concerted effort from state officials and insurance companies selling policies in the state of TX. The database essentially cross references records of registered vehicles against records of vehicles with Texas insurance policies. The TexasSure system is able to provide a tool for law enforcement officials to confirm whether a vehicle with a valid current state registration also has current auto insurance. It is remarkably accurate, with TDI reporting that it is over 99 percent accurate in its ability to match any reported car insurance policies to a registered vehicle [1]. As another component of the program designed to promote compliance, TexasSure also contacts anyone that cannot be matched. The goal is for the system to be more than just a research tool but also a deterrent for drivers who would choose not to insure their vehicles due to auto insurance costs or other reasons. In theory the system makes it much easier for the state to catch up with non compliant motorists.

Because the TexasSure database is able to identify registered vehicles that appear to be properly insured, it can also single out those that seem to have no insurance policies attached to them. The next phase of the program began in the early summer of 2010 when the state began mailing out letters to owners of vehicles that appeared to be uninsured. TDI points out that there may be some valid reasons for a registered vehicle not to be insured, including cars that are out of service because of lengthy repairs or because the owner may be out on active military service; the type of vehicle does not require insurance (ex. antique cars); and other specific cases. This is part of the reason why letters are sent out as the first point of contact and not some sort of punitive measures, because there might be some reason why the cars are not being insured even though they are registered.

Consequences of TX Insurance Noncompliance

There are certain punitive consequences attached to noncompliance for drivers who fail to insure vehicles that fall under one of the categories requiring auto liability insurance in the state of Texas. Fines and other fees are possible as well as other measures. One of the limitations of the TexasSure system is its reliance on registration records, meaning it can only track down registered vehicles. In certain parts of the state, drivers tool around with no plates at all. Auto insurance continues to be a problem in Texas.

[1] http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/news/2010/news201030.html Retrieved 2010-07-22.

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