Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

Full Bio →

Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 17, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

In 2013, police in Alabama will be able to verify if an insurance policy is valid.
In 2013, police in Alabama will be able to verify if an insurance policy is valid. (image by bobjohnson.com)

With legislation recently vetoed in Mississippi and signed into law in Alabama, insurance verification systems have been trumpeted as a way to both coerce drivers into buying liability insurance as well as solving the issue of the high numbers that continue to drive without insurance. But will these systems be a true panacea for the high numbers of uninsured drivers?

Laws exist across the nation with the same goal – to ensure every driver has minimum liability coverage. In Alabama, those caught driving without insurance can be fined $500.00 for a first offense. But even with these laws on the books, the Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimate that up to as many as one out of four drivers in Alabama don’t have coverage, the sixth highest rate of uninsured drivers in the United States. These drivers face the prospect of paying out of pocket in any crash that they cause as well.

In Mississippi, Governor Haley Barbour vetoed legislation that would have set up an electronic insurance verification system. While Barbour appeared to have agreed that the legislation would be a positive, he says he vetoed it in part because of the short length of time the state would have had to come up with their system – four months after passage. Mississippi is the second leading state for drivers without insurance, which the IRC estimates at 28%.

How Will A Law Enforcement Officer Use Insurance Systems in Alabama?

Insurance systems designed to verify coverage set up online databases that allow police and other government officials to access the coverage status of any driver in the state. In the past, drivers could simply buy a policy with a down payment, and then cancel it immediately after registering their car.

When a police officer pulled over such a driver in the past, the driver simply presented their insurance card as proof of insurance. If the date of the policy was valid, the officer had no way to know if the insurance policy was actually still in effect.

It’s not so with the new system. If a driver has cancelled their policy, that information will be available to an officer with a simple search on their computer. The Alabama electronic verification system is scheduled to go live in 2013.

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Will Roads Be Safer when Authorities Can See Insurance Status?

One of the biggest problems when an uninsured driver gets into an accident is payment. In the old Alabama system, drivers could present verification of insurance that wasn’t active. Of course, the insurance companies wouldn’t pay on any claims. Victims may eventually have to sue the responsible uninsured driver. Unfortunately, many of these drivers had no significant liquid assets to sue for leading to issues actually collecting the money.

With the new insurance systems, a law enforcement officer can check actual insurance status more immediately and take action. If the issue is not fixed, the state can take more action.

If you’re looking for a new insurance policy, put your zip code in our calculator and let us help you out.