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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: No car insurance, no registration

by Frank Fellone | September 3, 2022 at 3:40 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: You know my peeve about temporary tags and unlicensed vehicles. My question is whether or not a driver can insure a vehicle that is not registered. -- Your Western Arkansas Correspondent

Dear Correspondent: Our immediate thought was not only no, but heck no.

Naturally, when relying on memory we fall into a hole. (Clever Orwell reference.)

So we pitched the question to Scott Hardin of the Department of Finance & Administration. He hit it out of the park. (Baseball metaphor.)

In Arkansas, he reminded us, a vehicle must be insured in order to remain registered. And DF&A now gets updates in real time if a vehicle is registered here and insurance expires or is ended. The owner then is notified and must obtain coverage or the registration will be canceled.

Prior to this change, Hardin said, it could be up to a week between the time insurance lapsed and DF&A (and law enforcement) learned it.

What a wonder is technology. Then we got to thinking -- always dicey -- and asked Hardin about the number of uninsured vehicles. He said about 9.2% percent of registered vehicles are uninsured. The state has about 2.75 million registered vehicles. So roughly 250,000 are unregistered.

Some of these vehicles are in storage. Our own family has done this -- take a vehicle out of storage, call the insurance guy, get it insured, then lapse the insurance once the vehicle is back in storage.

But it would take a new level of naive to think 250,000 vehicles in Arkansas are in storage. We suspect most of those uninsured vehicles are on the road and about to get into an accident with some poor guy who has been properly insured for 50 years.

Dear Mahatma: At night coming from the airport when you turn off Interstate 440 onto the ramp to Interstate 30, there is a large green sign indicating Interstate 630 ahead. But the sign at night is illegible. It needs to be fixed. --Devoted Follower

Dear Devoted: The Arkansas Department of Transportation absolutely loves to be alerted to problems.

Please go to Find the contact button and report this problem. Then let us know what happens.

Dear Sir: In past columns, the topic of cars with well-expired temporary paper license plates has come up. How about a contest to see who spots the oldest expiration date? I'll start: November 2021.-- Margaret

Dear Margaret: We had a contest a couple of years ago when it was proposed by an avid reader. (All our readers are avid.) A few candidates poured in. The winning temp was, like yours, remarkably old.

We'll pass on another contest, although readers are welcome to send in whatever outrageously outdated plates they see.

Vanity plate: BRDNRD.

Print Headline: Insurance tied to tags in real time


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