Woodland Hills Personal Injury Attorney Barry P. Goldberg recently published: “U.S. Citizen or not, you may qualify for the California Good Driver Discount.” The Article examined the good driver discount as it applies to foreign drivers licensed in California for less than three years. Under California law, a foreign driver may claim a good driver discount on his or her policy so long as they have been a United States licensed driver for the past year and a half, and they truthfully claim they were a good licensed driver under the California Good Driver Discount criteria in another country.
It recently worked for a reader!
Talk to Your Insurer
In the reader’s case, he and his wife were insured with The General Auto Insurance Company, which insures California licensed drivers, but is not a California based insurance company. It is a so-called “low cost” auto insurer. He was looking to save some money on insuring his two cars with his wife as the primary driver of one of the cars. His wife is from Brazil, and she has never had any tickets, accidents or anything that would be contrary to the California Good Driver Discount criteria in based on her driving experience in Brazil and California. She has been a licensed driver in California for over eighteen months, but less than the three years as typically required of U.S. Citizens.
The reader called The General concerning his wife’s application for the good driver discount. Because The General was not based in California, it was hesitant at first to accept the change in the policy based on his word alone. The motorist asked them to look at Section 1861(d) of the California Vehicle Code. Within a day, The General sent him a Declaration that his wife would be treated as driving 3 years in California in order for the good driver discount to apply to her. Success!
The “Good Driver” Requirements
The Good Driver Discount requirements have three basic elements:
(1) For the past three years, you were a licensed driver in any territory.
(2) During the past three years, you did not have more than one violation point on your driver’s license, or were required to attend traffic school more than once.
(3) During the past three years, you were not “principally at fault” in an accident, meaning you were determined to be at least 51% the legal cause of an accident that resulted in injury, death or property damage that exceeded $1,000.
There are some exceptions. Make sure you meet the Good Driver Discount requirements before notifying your insurance company that your foreign driving experience meets the California Good Driver Discount criteria.
(Special thanks to Matthew Stearns, Esq. for this contribution.)