Problems registering a vehicle in 2013
supporter
Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
There is a new law, involving a new vehicle insurance verification system, starting in January of 2013 that is sure to cause a big headache for county treasurers.

This system supposedly verifies that insurance is in effect on the vehicle being registered and the county treasurer "may not" register a vehicle if the system indicates insurance is not in effect. I don't know if that means they "may" allow registration if it is not shown in the database system.

First of all, there is nowhere in Montana law that says the single act of registration triggers the insurance requirement. Montana law says in two places that insurance is required on motor vehicles registered AND operated.... That means if you operate your vehicle for one hour per day, you only need insurance one hour per day and do not need insurance the other 23 hours of the day. Since there are no county treasurer offices with drive in windows, there are no motor vehicles required to be insured at the time of registration, unless they are being operated at the same time as they are being registered.

If someone comes in and the treasurer says the database system says the vehicle does not have insurance, and the car owner goes immediately and gets insurance, they will still be denied registration since it takes the insurance company up to seven days to get the data into the system. The insurance agent does not immediately put the insurance data into the system himself, but sends it up the chain and there can be seven days before it is entered.

How accurate is this database? Nevada started this system, had many problems with accuracy, fired the company doing the database, got a new company and had the same problems. It was estimated that Oklahoma only had a 60% accuracy in the data when it started its database verification system.

All data must match for accuracy. That includes the long vin number, and the name on the insurance policy must match the name on the car registration. (Have you ever received mail with your name misspelled? ) So if you list Bob Smith on your insurance policy and Robert Smith on the registration, you will show up as not being insured.

Also, Mrs Smith could register the car in her name, and allow her DUI husband and two teens to drive, who are not listed on the policy. This means that Mrs Smith, gets insurance, gets her registration, and the DUI husband and two teens continue to drive, essentially without insurance, since they are not listed on the policy.

Of course those hundreds of thousands driving with permanent plates don't have to bother with the registration/insurance database process.

And it is reported all this database work will add 50 dollars to every insurance policy.

For the first person to show me another state that has used this insurance verification database system for two years for registering motor vehicles, I will give them 100$

This system may be fine for police officers where the motorist may show a judge he has insurance in cases where the database shows incorrect data, but will be a big headache for county treasurers who have fought proof of insurance at registration in past legislatures.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
Wyoming uses this system.
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Posted by Mindy B (+81) 8 years ago
I think that is a great idea. Uninsured drivers cost us all a lot of money. This way they won't drive, will get insurance, or the cops will be able to spot them quickly.
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
Cops cannot run plates thru the verification system at random, they still have to stop for some other offense.
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Posted by Levi and Destiny (+168) 8 years ago
WooHoo Richard Bonine gets $100!
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Posted by Cheryl E (+42) 8 years ago
Lived in Maryland and West Virginia up until I moved here 7 year ago and it has always been that way in both of those states, always had to have valid proofs of insurance and also had to go through vehicle inspections yearly at a certified inspection station. Oh boy that would really put a hurting on some of the vehicles on the roads around here.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
WooHoo Richard Bonine gets $100!


Good point Destiny. I'll settle for a bottle of peppermint schnapps and the rest as store credit at Kafe Utza.
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
You cannot use a valid insurance card or a phone call from your insurance agent, the state is depending entirely on the information on the database. The database system is the ONLY information the state of Montana is using for registration or traffic stops. Showing your valid card is not allowed anymore. And this database system is highly inaccurate. You can use your valid card in court, however. And I have yet to see valid proof that Wyoming has used the database for registrations, so don't start doing cart wheels yet.
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Posted by Bill Zook (+497) 8 years ago
AND the state has had difficulty with their computer program via the DMV as experienced by our grandson who made an appointment for an exam only to find out it hadn't been registered. His grandmother called to verify his appt. time and found out he wasn't "in the system." They subsequently did it over the phone successfully. The office said they had been having difficulty with their program.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
Here is some proof. When I registered my truck in August they didn't need to see my insurance card as they pulled the info up on-line.

http://www.dot.state.wy.u....1.pdf.pdf

http://insurance.state.wy...ystem.html
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Posted by Mindy B (+81) 8 years ago
Don, the cops can pull you over if you have expired registration stickers or no sticker at all and that was my point. It will be easier for the cops to find out who does not have insurance because they have no sticker or an old sticker. I also think you worry too much about a system that hasn't started yet. Why don't you see how it works and than you will know if it works or not. From your first post it looks like it is going to take effect anyway might as well wait and see how it goes.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 8 years ago
I love all this hysterics over something that may or may not be a problem. I have a suggestion. Buy the insurance you are required to carry by law in order to protect yourself and others. Don't drive like an idiot. Problem solved.
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Posted by Levi and Destiny (+168) 8 years ago
Yep I think Mr. Bonine proved his point!!
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
Dear Richard Bonine: Thanks for the links, which I am checking out. Wyoming statute 31-4-103 indicates insurance is required after two conditions are met: 1) the vehicle is registered, and 2) the vehicle is operated. If your pickup was registered August 1, and not operated until August 5, you did not need insurance until August 5.If you were required to have insurance August 1 (at registration), your county treasurer violated the law. Is that not correct?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
Let's review:

31-4-101.? General prohibitions.

(a)? No person shall knowingly operate, nor shall an owner knowingly permit to be operated, upon any highway any vehicle:

(i)? Unless a valid certificate of title, certificate of registration and license plates or temporary permits have been issued for the vehicle except as otherwise provided by this act;

(ii)? Unless valid license plates or permits issued for the vehicle are displayed on the vehicle as provided by this act except as otherwise provided by this act;

(iii)? With license plates, validation stickers or license permits altered, mutilated or obscured so as to prevent the license plate number from being easily read.


If I am going to drive, it has to be registered per (i).

31-4-103.? Failure to maintain liability coverage; penalties; exceptions.

(a)? No owner of a motor vehicle currently required to be registered or which is required to be registered within a period of time, shall operate or permit the operation of his motor vehicle without having in full force and effect a motor vehicle liability policy in amounts provided by W.S. 31-9-405(b) or a bond in amounts provided by W.S. 31-9-102(a)(xi). Violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) nor more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00), or both. On a second or subsequent violation of this subsection,? the person may be fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500.00) nor more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00), imprisoned for not more than six (6) months, or both. In addition to the fine or imprisonment imposed for a second or subsequent violation of this subsection, the judge shall require the defendant to deliver the registration and license plates of the vehicle involved to the county treasurer for the county where the citation was issued, and the registration and license plates shall be held by the county treasurer until such time as the judge determines that the defendant has met all obligations imposed by law. Excusable neglect or mistake by another is a defense for any violation of this subsection. If evidence of excusable neglect or mistake by another is presented and the defendant is convicted, the court may consider this evidence in imposing a penalty under this subsection. The judge may suspend part or all of the sentence under this subsection and place the defendant on probation subject to conditions imposed by the judge which shall include a condition that the defendant shall deliver the registration and license plates of the vehicle involved to the county treasurer for the county where the citation was issued. This subsection does not apply to a vehicle owned by a nonresident and registered in a state requiring insurance if a vehicle insurance policy meeting requirements of the laws and regulations of that state is in effect or unless it otherwise complies with the laws of that state concerning compulsory financial responsibility.? The department shall report any violation of this subsection to the motor vehicle administrator in the state wherein the vehicle is registered.? A vehicle owned by a nonresident and registered in a state not requiring insurance is exempt from this subsection.


http://legisweb.state.wy....T31CH4.htm

The insurance requirement is a function of the requirement that the vehicle must registered, whether it is operated or not. Thus, I need insurance on August 1st, not August 5th. The county treasurer did NOT violate the law. The fact that you register the vehicle implies that it will be operated at some point during the year in which it was licensed.

The Wyoming vehicle insurance database system was tested as a pilot project for several years before it was implemented across the state. I have registered numerous vehicles and it works very well and is pretty hassle-free.

P.S. (You can bring your $100.00 to the Broadus Rest Area on Sat @ 10:00 am. While you are at it, stop at IGA and bring me a roll of quilted northern TP so I don't have to wipe my ass with that flimsy paper MT DOT uses. )
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
Sorry Richard, If Wyoming requires registered, parked motor vehicles to be insured, it would say all registered motor vehicles need insurance. Wyoming law does not say that.

Ok Amorette, If A Custer County resident registers his motor vehicle on January 1 and does not drive it until January 5, and the Custer County treasurer requires insurance on January 1., why isn't the Custer County treeasurer violating the law? (61-6-301)
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Posted by David Schott (+17052) 8 years ago
I'm confused, Richard. In the statute you cited, what does "operate" mean?

"...shall operate or permit the operation of his motor vehicle without having in full force and effect a motor vehicle liability policy in amounts provided by W.S. 31-9-405(b)..."
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
31-4-103.? Failure to maintain liability coverage; penalties; exceptions.

(a)? No owner of a motor vehicle currently required to be registered or which is required to be registered within a period of time, shall operate or permit the operation of his motor vehicle without having in full force and effect a motor vehicle liability policy in amounts provided by W.S. 31-9-405


Again, the insurance requirement is a function of registration, not operation. Registration is required in Wyoming because it is a part of property taxes owed. If you don't register it for a year and then register it a year later, you will pay back-taxes, and you will have to have insurance when you buy license plates in subsequent years.

I understand that you believe it isn't "fair" that you have to provide insurance on a vehicle that you register but don't operate, such as a motorhome or RV. I understand that you think the database will complicate the issue if want to insure the vehicle for only vacation season. I seriously doubt that any jury will convict the county treasurer of a crime over your perceived "illegality". Seems like you are making a mountain out of a molehill. Reality is that if you want to register the vehicle you have to buy insurance and it will need to show up in the database.
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Posted by David Schott (+17052) 8 years ago
The way I read it is you must register a vehicle to OPERATE it on a public roadway. The taxes you pay help pay for those public roadways.

If you're OPERATING a registered vehicle on a public roadway you are required to have liability insurance or post a bond.

Don seems concerned that someone who wants to register a vehicle but not operate it on a public roadway will be blocked from doing so by the "proof of insurance at registration" requirement.

Don seems to contend that there is no requirement for insurance on a registered vehicle that is not being operated on a public roadway. You seem to disagree with that. I tend to agree with Don.

Now why a person would register a vehicle they have no intention of operating on a public roadway is a bit of a mystery to me. Also, the insurance companies have a way of sticking it to you if you don't keep your insurance in effect at all times. I think premiums are almost always higher for someone who is newly insured.
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
Richard, your own quote from the law makes my point, not your point. Your quote concerns vehicles "required to be registered." That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about a vehicle registered, but NOT REQUIRED TO BE REGISTERED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, and your quote from the law has no basis in this debate. A parked car is not required to be registered, and the law says I can register a vehicle January 1, and buy insurance January 5 if I do not drive it until January 5. The local county attourney (Jeff Noble) agrees with that.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
Your "point" appears to be a moving target. You win.

Meanwhile, I will continue to make sure I have insurance in place when I register my vehicle, even if it means I am aiding the county treasurer in breaking the law. Life is too short for such nit-pick arguments.
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
Richard: I will be phoning a county treasurer in Wyoming in the next few days to see if they have been using the database for registrations for the last two years. If they have been, I will send you the 100$. It is hard to believe this error ridden system would be used for registration (Arizona estimates it has 200,000 incorrect VIN numbers in its data base,) Oklahoma and Nevada have had many problems. Montana's DVM also admits to future problems.

By the way, if Wyoming requires its motorcycle owners to carry insurance in Montana, that is a joke. Montana exempts 100% of the motorcycles from the insurance requirement. Wyoming cannot trump Montana law and they are telling a big lie, if they are telling their residents they need motorcycle insurance in Montana.
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Posted by Ken Minow (+375) 8 years ago
"Now why a person would register a vehicle they have no intention of operating on a public roadway is a bit of a mystery to me."
A few years back there was some discussion about unregistered vehicles in people's yards being designated "junk vehicles".Since there is a city ordinance against having junk vehicles,doesn't that mean that to avoid the junked vehicle status the vehicle would have to be registered,even if not being driven? Let's say Junior goes into the service and leaves his vehicle at Dad's place while he's gone overseas for a couple of years.I guess to keep from breaking any laws,he has to keep insurance on it even if he's not driving it.Seems unfair to me.
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Posted by JJC (+77) 8 years ago
What if your parked vehicle rolls down a small hill and hits a neighbors car, tree, or house? Shouldn't you have insurance on that vehicle even if it is parked?
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Posted by Ken Minow (+375) 8 years ago
Uhm............I don't live on a hill.
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
If this car hits a car and injures the person in the car to the tune of 1,000,000$, you still have to pay 975,000$ out of your own pocket since the state only requires you you to cover 25,000$ of his injuries. Insurance doesn't solve every thing. If the other car has collision insurance, he is covered by any car damage the uninsured car does (minus the deductible). Liability insurance does not cover all damage done to a car, only some of the damage of a 20,000$ car (think it is 10,000$). Liability insurance (state's requirements) is not worth much in a bad accident.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
Interesting

Thursday, Dec. 27

New system checks drivers' insurance

By Elaine Forman
In an attempt to reduce the number of drivers who do not have liability insurance, the State of Montana has created the Montana Insurance Verification System.
In May the Montana Highway Patrol began using the system to verify proof of vehicle liability insurance during traffic stops. Now the Motor Vehicle Division and county treasurers are using it for motor vehicle titling and registration transactions.

So if drivers are pulled over on the highway or go to the county treasurer's office to register a vehicle, officials will be able to determine on the spot using the new system whether that driver has liability insurance. At this time, registration will not be denied if proof of purchase is not found.*
"Uninsured drivers are a serious problem, undermining traffic safety and driving up the costs for insured, law-abiding motorists. Real-time insurance verification will make roads safer for everyone," the Department of Justice Web site stated.

According to the Web site, Montana law requires that a motor vehicle operated on public roads be insured by a liability insurance policy. Under state statute, motorists stopped for a traffic violation or involvement in a motor vehicle collision are required to show proof of insurance to law enforcement, in addition to displaying their driver license and vehicle registration.
"In order to help enforce this law, the Montanan Legislature enacted legislation that authorized creation of an online motor vehicle liability insurance verification system," the site stated.
"We've been using it for a couple months and it's been producing positive results," said Custer County Treasurer Tara Moorehead, "and it's working very smoothly."

Car insurance coverage is on the state system, so proof of insurance does not need to be brought in. If the insurance is not found on the state system, the car owner will be instructed to check with their insurance provider.

If a person does not have car insurance and is stopped by law enforcement, they can be fined up to $500 or given up to 10 days in jail for a first offense. Second offenders will get at least a $350 fine or 10 days in jail, plus the driver's license will be revoked for 90 days and 5 points will be placed on the driving record (30 points result in the driver's license being revoked). With three or more offenses, the driver will be fined $500 and/or jailed up to six months.[/b]

http://milescitystar.com/news/index.php

* emphasis is mine
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
Interesting that the article says insurance is required on vehicles operated on public roads and nothing about vehicles registered and not operated on public roads, so if you register your vehicle January 2 and do not operate it until January 10 you do not need insurance until January 10 according to my interpretation.
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
For Richard Bonine:I emailed three county treasurers in Wyoming. One still has not answered. Pete Carroll of the Sheridan office says they will accept the insurance card if the verification system does not indicate insurance.

Tom Doyle of Natrona County Treasurer's office Says they will also use an insurance card if the verification system does not show insurance on the vehicle. He fears that if this is changed and they go strictly to Verisol he will be liable if they miss someone.

So Wyoming does not rely on the verification system and does not use the system for every registration, and I claim that if they use the system fully it is still unreliable. So I do not owe you the 100$

Why don't you go buy a used car January 2, get insurance at 1:00, go into the treasurer's office at 1:15 and I will bet they will tell you the verification system says you are uninsured. Then ask the employee when will it be on the system and she will say she doesn't know.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 8 years ago
Oh, for gawd's sake. Just buy the d*mn insurance. It's in your own best interest.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 8 years ago
Wyoming does in fact use and rely on the system. They are willing to augment the data in the database with insurance cards when necessary. Whether their "use" of the system meets your narrow and ever changing definition is a different matter.
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
Sounds like Amorette wants to take on State Farm

http://www.centspermileno...5oppos.htm
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
And when you are done taking on State Farm, Amorette, you can take on the Southwestern Insurance Group of insurance companies: "We have never supported any sort of compulsory auto insurance, particularly one open to the inaccuracies when using a database"

http://www.kraftlaw.com/k...May08.html

(paragraph 9)
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Posted by Don Birkholz (+1289) 8 years ago
Amorette: If you want verification of State Farm's charge that mandatory auto insurance is forcing people to choose between food and auto insurance, go to http://www.foodstampstudy.com

A Billings food stamp survey requested by me, showed that over the last 30 years 30,000 in Montana said auto insurance was a reason for needing food stamps.
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