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California tightens auto insurance renewal restrictions

Recently, a new auto insurance rule took effect in California known as the three-strikes rule. It allows insurance companies to look further back at a driver's records when they are determining that driver's insurance status.

If a driver accumulates three penalty points for bad driving in three years, they could lose their insurance. The rule keeps the current point system. A driver gets slapped with two points for DUI and speeding is one point.

The main change resulting from the new rule deals with the length of time insurance companies can examine a driver's record. Previously, they looked at records for the 12 months. With the new rule, the insurance companies are now able to take three years worth of driving into account when deciding to renew coverage. Don't worry though, the rule will not be applied retroactively.

It is possible that a driver could get as many as five tickets before facing non-renewal from their insurance company, because a driver can go to traffic school every 18 months to have a ticket removed from their record.

The new regulation was hailed by many groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). "These regulatory changes are certainly a step in the right direction to protecting Californians from the irresponsible behavior of drunk drivers," says Becky Bearden, spokesperson for MADD.

While this will hurt poor drivers, it stands to lower the rates of those drivers who say out of trouble, which is the vast majority. "Good drivers deserve to pay lower rates for being safe and making responsible choices," says Dana Spurrier, spokesperson for the California Department of Insurance. "They should not be forced to foot the bill for bad drivers and drunk drivers by paying artificially high insurance premiums."


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