So, you just got in a car accident. You find out the other driver doesn't have insurance. What do you do?
There are ways to protect yourself, but law enforcement is trying to cut down on these awkward and costly encounters altogether.
Failure to abide by minimum car insurance laws in Louisiana could lead to fines up to $700, limited recovery of damages, or impoundment of your car.
Tommy Curtis of Curtis Insurance said you should protect yourself against an uninsured driver with uninsured motorist coverage.
“Without uninsured motorist it’s nearly impossible to collect. The best thing is to have an insurance company that handles that for you. You transfer that obligation to them they handle your bills up to the limit of your policy and then you’re home free,” said Curtis.
Louisiana is ranked 16th in the nation for uninsured drivers based on a study done by the Insurance Research Council.
Nearly 14 percent of the population in the state is uninsured - a number that Curtis said has gone down over the years.
“The number of uninsured motorists has come down because of the teeth in the law,” said Curtis.
Those teeth are beginning to look a lot more technological and Sgt. James Anderson, Louisiana State Police Troop D spokesman, said state police are using some of it.
“There are several agencies that use them; there are units that are used in this area but they’re used throughout the state and there are local agencies that use them as well,” said Anderson.
He’s talking about license plate reading cameras.
The Iberville Sheriff's Office just equipped two deputies’ units with these new cameras which scan plates. If the plate connects to an uninsured driver... they will get a ticket in the mail.
“So. this is an even better reason for people to get their insurance you can be checked without you even knowing about it,” said Curtis.
In Southwest Louisiana, the Sulphur Police Department has confirmed having this technology, but deputies use it for criminal searches, rather than uninsured drivers.
Anderson said the state police use more traditional methods.
“Whenever we pull someone over, if that vehicle is registered in Louisiana, we're going to check the insurance and make sure it's valid,” said Anderson. “Also we conduct insurance checkpoints every once and a while, where we're stopping vehicles and making sure their insurance is in effect and they have the coverage required under state law.”
Click HERE to learn about uninsured motorist coverage.
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