Having car insurance in Michigan is required. Drivers must meet the minimum insurance requirements to operate a vehicle on the road. Having valid car insurance coverage is also something the police check for. But how do officers know if you have insurance? In addition to carrying proof of your no-fault insurance, the police can run your plates to get updated information on your insurance status.
Below, Jay Trucks discusses the tools police use to check a driver’s insurance status, what happens when false information is provided or found to be driving without insurance, and how license plate insurance screening benefits both agents and drivers.
If you need legal help or are unsure of the limits of your coverage in the event of a car accident, one of our licensed attorneys is here to assist you. We offer an initial consultation at no cost or risk to you.
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How do the police know I have insurance?
The police will know if you have a valid insurance policy by running your plates through an electronic verification system, accessed directly from the car’s computers. These systems and the scanning methods used by law enforcement to capture license plate information vary from state to state.
In Michigan, the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) database is a statewide computerized information system that allows officers to access and/or modify stored information. this includes verifying insurance coverage through driver’s license records and vehicle registrations.
The lein system helps police quickly identify the following:
- if a driver is operating a vehicle without insurance
- if a driver’s no-fault auto insurance policy has expired
- if a driver carries a current insurance card
- a misdemeanor charge
- fines up to $500
- jail time up to one year
- a suspended driver’s license
- inability to renew vehicle registration
by state law, auto insurance companies must report every 14 days to the michigan secretary of state on all insured vehicles. this information is then made available to officers through the lein system.
when do agents check car insurance?
Agents often use electronic verification systems to check a driver’s insurance status in real time before or in the middle of a traffic stop. an officer may also check his license plate while driving to determine if the vehicle he is operating is insured. If any insurance problem is detected in the system, the officer can stop a driver and verify that he has a valid insurance card.
More importantly, the system allows police to identify uninsured drivers and remove them from the roads. An officer who reviews a license plate through the system can find out if the driver has previously been cited for driving without a license, in other words, if he is a repeat offender. Insurance checkpoints are also a way for the police to scan every passing driver for insurance coverage.
ways electronic insurance detection helps drivers
Police verifying if you have insurance by checking your license plates helps motivate most drivers to get and stay insured. State-mandated car insurance requirements are designed to help needy drivers in the event of a car accident. uninsured drivers are riskier and more likely to cause an accident.
Without no-fault auto insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket for accident-related expenses. If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else and you do not have insurance, you will not be able to sue for damages in Michigan. this is state law, regardless of the severity of your injuries.
Having insurance means not having to face criminal and financial penalties that can land you in jail. With electronic insurance detection, officers can help ensure drivers protect themselves and others on the road by being insured. an accident can be a costly experience if you are not prepared.
Electronic insurance detection also helps drivers get back on the road faster after a traffic stop. An officer can quickly access your detailed insurance information and check your insurance status while approaching your vehicle. You can even lower insurance rates based on where you live.
what if false insurance information is provided?
If a driver is pulled over, the officer may realize that false information was provided as soon as they check the driver’s license plates. Carrying a fake insurance card can get you into serious trouble with the law. Lying to the police about your car insurance can lead to expensive fines and possible jail time.
Not only do the police know your proof of insurance is fake, but they can also use the electronic verification system to identify drivers who have previously tried to fool the police.
what if the police find out you don’t have insurance?
Penalties for driving without insurance in Michigan can include:
Uninsured drivers may also not be able to sue for pain and suffering damages in addition to no-fault benefits if they are injured in an accident. they may be financially responsible for paying victims medical bills and lost wages, regardless of their degree of fault.
contact our firm for reliable legal help
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