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December 27, 2012   Email to Friend 

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406
December 27, 2012

Starting Jan. 1, 2013, law enforcement and tag offices in Alabama will verify insurance coverage through the Online Insurance Verification System (OIVS). Alabama state law requires drivers to retain proof of insurance in their vehicles.

The new year will bring a new insurance verification system to Alabama. Starting Jan. 1, 2013, law enforcement and tag offices will use the Online Insurance Verification System (OIVS) to confirm whether or not a driver has automobile insurance.

Alfa Insurance Director of Compliance Ginger Johnson has participated in the setup and testing of the system as a member of the Insurance Advisory Council.

“Alabama is the first state to have a true, online, real-time system for the enforcement of the automobile Mandatory Liability Insurance (MLI),” Johnson said. “Owners and drivers of vehicles in the state of Alabama do not need to wait until Jan. 1, 2013, to obtain automobile liability insurance as Alabama’s current MLI law requires non-commercial, registered vehicles to have liability insurance.”

To protect the privacy of drivers, only agencies allowed by law can access OIVS. Alfa and other insurance carriers will only provide OIVS with information necessary to determine if a vehicle is insured. Tag offices will use the system to verify insurance for purchasing or renewing a tag, and law enforcement will use the system to verify insurance at the scene of an accident, when issuing a citation or for any other reason allowed by law.

As part of the online system, electronic proof of insurance will be accepted during traffic stops. Policyholders can access electronic versions of Alfa auto ID cards with the new Alfa2Go mobile app. 

Alfa Insurance will continue to mail out insurance cards. Johnson says the paper copy will come in handy if a mistake occurs with the system and will be necessary when traveling out of state.

OVIS is the result of a law passed by the Alabama Legislature in 2011, which also requires the owner to retain proof of insurance in the vehicle.

First-time offenders found lacking coverage will face a fine of up to $500, which increases 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 reinstatement fee, while a second or subsequent violation will require a $400 reinstatement fee and a mandatory four-month registration suspension. For more information visit BeSureToInsureAL.com.

Alabama has more than 4 million registered vehicles. About 22 to 25 percent of those are reportedly uninsured, making it the sixth worst state in the nation for uninsured motorists. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, under-insured and uninsured motorists cost policyholders more than $114 million in losses in 2008-2009.

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