Woodland Hills Personal Injury Attorney Barry P. Goldberg is always on the lookout for the best insurance discounts for all California drivers. One such discount available to drivers is the Good Driver Discount, which offers a 20% discount in auto coverage provided the driver can prove they have been licensed in the United States and have had a safe driving record over the past three years. Three years of good driving in the United States is a fair indication that a United States Citizen qualifies for the discount, but what about a foreign national whose license, good driving record and experience are derived from elsewhere? Why would a foreign driver have to prove three years of safe driving in the United States to be eligible for the discount when they have already been driving safely in another country? Luckily for them, California law requires an exception to the three-year rule for such drivers.
The California Insurance Code
The California Insurance Code states the following:
“Any person who claims that he or she meets the criteria of [the Good Driver Discount requirements] based entirely or partially on a driver’s license and driving experience acquired anywhere other than in the United States or Canada is rebuttably presumed to be qualified to purchase a Good Driver Discount policy if he or she has been licensed to drive in the United States or Canada for at least the previous 18 months and meets the criteria of [the Good Driver Discount requirements] for that period.” See California Insurance Code § 1861.025(d).
In essence, so long as the foreign driver has been a good United States licensed driver for the past year and a half, they are presumed to qualified for the discount so long as they truthfully claim they were a good licensed driver under the California criteria in another country.
The “Good Driver” Factors
So, what are the general requirements for the Good Driver Discount? The Good Driver Discount requirements under the laws of California break down into these three basic factors:
(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.
Section 1861 of the Insurance Code provides more specific details and exceptions to these basic factors, one such exception being the 10-year rule for drivers convicted of driving under the influence. 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.
(Thank you to Matthew Stearns, Esq. for his contribution to this post.)