Alabama Counties Pilot-Test Insurance Verification System

Ten counties in Alabama are pilot-testing the state’s Online Insurance Verification System (OIVS) that allows authorities and county officials to instantly confirm a vehicle’s coverage status.

The Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) issued a release Tuesday updating state motorists on the status of OIVS, which officials said is being tested in Covington, Elmore, Henry, Houston, Jefferson, Limestone, Mobile, Shelby, Tuscaloosa and Winston counties.

The database will be used by officials issuing county license plates to verify the coverage status of a vehicle at the time of registration. Car owners will be unable to register their vehicle unless it is verified through OIVS or they can provide proof of coverage to the official issuing the license plate. The state sees more than 4 million car registrations annually, according to state revenue commissioner Julie P. Magee.

The OIVS is on track to be launched statewide by Jan. 1, 2013, when all authorities in the state will begin using the database, according to the ADOR.

Database Comes from Heavily Supported Legislation

OIVS was created through Act 688 of 2011, signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley after strong support from the state Legislature last year.

The proposal from legislators that eventually became law got House approval in June 2011 by an 83-2 vote and unanimous support from the state Senate in March 2011.

State Holds High Rate of Uninsured Drivers

Alabama has continually had a high rate of uninsured motorists, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), with 22 percent of drivers in the state lacking coverage in 2009 and 26 percent of drivers lacking coverage in 2007.

The Cotton State had the sixth-highest rate of uninsured drivers in the U.S. in 2009 and the third-highest in 2007.

Alabama’s liability laws require drivers to carry bodily injury and property damage liability coverages.

First-time offenders found lacking coverage face a fine of up to $500, which ramps up to $1,000 for second and subsequent violations. Repeat offenders can also have their driver’s license and registration suspended for six months.

Those providing proof of auto insurance after a first offense will have to pay a $200 registration reinstatement fee, while repeat offenders face a $400 fee and four-month registration suspension.

About Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for consumers and the market as a whole.

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