By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Etowah County Revenue Commissioner Linda Barrett-Vaughan said all vehicle owners need to be aware of OVIS – the Online Insurance Verification System.
The system will allow county offices that issue license plates and Alabama law enforcement agencies to immediately verify whether a vehicle is insured at any point in time.
Alabama has had its mandatory liability insurance law for years, but the new system will make a change in the requirements of the law. With the new real-time checks system in place, the state will now require proof of insurance before vehicle owners can register vehicles each year.
The OVIS system will be used to ensure that the vehicle is insured, or owners will have to show other proof of insurance.
Starting in January, Barrett-Vaughan said, if people do not have proof of liability insurance, they will not be allowed to register or renew registration for their vehicle and get current tag decals or a new license plate.
“By working with the insurance community, other Alabama agencies, and county governments, we have delivered a web service system that will accomplish real time insurance verification,” State Revenue Commissioner Julie P. Magee said in a press release issued earlier this year. “The system, the Online Insurance Verification System or OIVS, is needed to meet the new requirements of Alabama’s mandatory liability insurance law that will become effective Jan. 1, 2013.
The new requirements of the law, Act 2011-688, mandate that the ADOR have an online system in place by Jan. 1, 2013, that can verify evidence of a vehicle owner’s liability insurance coverage.
Proof of insurance documents include the vehicle owner’s insurance card, current declaration page of the owner’s liability insurance policy, or other such documents substantiating liability insurance coverage. Electronic versions of proof documents may also be accepted by county license plate issuing officials in completing vehicle registration transactions. Emails sent by the owner’s insurer, computer printouts from an owner’s insurer, electronic images provided by an owner’s insurer on the vehicle owner’s cellular phone, lap top, or other portable electronic device meet the evidence of insurance requirements, according to the ADOR, according to the press release. (Reference: Administrative Rule 810- 5-8-.05, Evidence of Insurance Requirements, effective June 8, 2012.)
“Alabama averages over 4 million vehicle registrations each year which are subject to the mandatory liability insurance requirements, and this system will give both state and local motor vehicle administrators and law enforcement the ability to fulfill the requirements of Alabama’s mandatory liability insurance law,” Magee’s statement continued.
“Various studies have indicated there is a valid concern among motorists nationwide that many of the drivers on the road are uninsured. This poses a huge risk to other drivers who are following the law. This new system should also greatly reduce the risk of the drivers dropping insurance coverage once they have registered their vehicles.
According to the Insurance Research Council, Alabama’s uninsured motorist rate is estimated to be 22 percent, ranking Alabama sixth among states having the highest percentage of uninsured