Low cost car insurance pays dividends for Californian students

With the high costs of tuition, books, and living expenses, California college students may be feeling too much financial stress to think about necessities such as car insurance, which is why the California Department of Insurance is trying to get the word out about the low cost insurance program being offered in California. In 1999, California established a "pilot" low-cost auto insurance program in Los Angeles and San Francisco that would provide cheap auto insurance to residents aged 19 to 24 who are struggling financially.

The program slowly expanded to different cities and counties until 2007 when the program became available to the entire state. Rebecca Almanza of Imprenta Communications, the public relations firm working with the department of Insurance, explained that although the CLCA program is not just for students her company has found that the people who most often qualify for it are those who attend community college.

"We try to focus on schools that are more impacted," said Almanza. Imprenta Communications company has researched who most often qualifies and has found that Latinos, Asians and African Americans "have the highest percentage of uninsured drivers."

The CLCA program is most likely available through your current auto insurance program. Dave Althausen, deputy press secretary for the state insurance commissioner, explained, "the California Department of Insurance does not offer this policy or insurance," and added "it is being offered by 10 major carriers. The program costs under $400 a year and is available to anyone who meets the requirements and is 19-24 years of age."

Since 2001 just over fifty thousand drivers have taken advantage of the CLCA program.

The insurance department is reminding young drivers of the consequences of driving without insurance, which include registration and license suspension as well as the possibility of having your vehicle impounded.

"There is no excuse for driving without insurance," said California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. "The bottom line is that driving without insurance is irresponsible and illegal, so take advantage of this affordable program."

"The CLCA really can be a great resource for a lot of Californians" Poizner added, "it can be especially helpful to our college students, who may be struggling to make ends meet.

The program requires that all applicants be a good driver, at least 19 years of age and have to have been licensed three years prior to applying. There are also income eligibility limits of $27,075 for a single person, $36,425 for two persons and $55,125 for a family of four. Applicants must also have no at-fault accidents involving bodily injury or death in the past three years and no felony or misdemeanor convictions.

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