Michigan law requires all drivers to have car insurance and meet the minimum insurance requirements to operate a vehicle. Police also check if drivers have valid car insurance coverage when they stop motorists. But how do officers know if you have no-fault insurance? Police can run your license plates to get updated information on your insurance status.
Below, Jay Trucks discusses the tools used by police to check a driver’s insurance status, what happens when you provide false information, or police catch you driving without insurance, and how license plate insurance detection benefits both officers and drivers.
If you have been in a car accident and need legal help or are unsure of your coverage limits, one of our licensed attorneys is here to offer assistance. We provide an initial consultation at no cost or risk to you.
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How Do the Police Know I Have Insurance?
The police will know if you have a valid insurance policy by running your license plates through an electronic verification system accessed directly from their in-car computers. These systems and the scanning methods used by the police to capture license plate information vary from state to state.
In Michigan, the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) database is a statewide computerized information system that enables officers to access and/or modify stored information. This system allows them to verify insurance coverage through driver’s license records and vehicle registrations.
The LEIN system helps police quickly identify the following:
- If a driver is operating a vehicle without insurance
- If a driver’s no-fault car insurance policy has expired
- If a driver is carrying an up-to-date insurance card
State law requires car insurance companies to inform the Michigan Secretary of State every 14 days of all insured vehicles. This information is then made available to officers through the LEIN system.
When Do Officers Check for Car Insurance?
Officers often use electronic verification systems to check a driver’s insurance status in real-time before or in the middle of a traffic stop. An officer can also run a license plate while a motorist is driving to determine if the vehicle they are operating is insured. Should any insurance issues be detected in the system, the officer may pull a driver over and check that they have a valid insurance card.
More importantly, the system allows the police to identify uninsured drivers and get them off the roads. An officer who runs a license plate through the system can find out if the driver has been previously cited for driving without a license—in other words, a repeat offender. Insurance checkpoints are also a way for the police to scan every driver passing through for insurance coverage.
Ways Electronic Insurance Detection Helps Drivers
Knowing that police can check if a driver has insurance by running their plates helps motivate most drivers to get insured and remain insured. State-mandated car insurance requirements are designed to help drivers in the event they are involved in a car accident. Uninsured drivers are riskier and more likely to cause an accident.
You may have to pay out-of-pocket for your accident-related expenses without no-fault car insurance. If you suffered injuries in an accident in Michigan caused by someone else and you have no insurance, state law dictates that you cannot sue for damages, regardless of the severity of your injuries.
Insurance means not facing criminal and financial penalties that can lead to jail time. With electronic insurance detection, officers can help ensure drivers protect themselves and others on the road by being insured. An accident can be a costly experience if you are not prepared.
Electronic insurance detection also helps drivers return to the road faster after a traffic stop. An officer can quickly access your insurance details and verify your insurance status while approaching your vehicle. It may even drive down insurance rates based on where you reside.
What if False Insurance Information is Provided?
If an officer pulls a driver over, the officer can tell false information is provided as soon as they run the driver’s plates. Carrying a fake insurance card can get you into serious legal trouble. Lying to the police about your car insurance can lead to costly fines and possible jail time.
Not only with the police know your proof of insurance is false, but they can also use the electronic verification system to identify drivers who have previously tried to dupe the police.
What Happens if the Police Learns You Are Uninsured?
The penalties for driving without insurance in Michigan may include:
- A misdemeanor charge
- Fines up to $500
- Jail time of up to one year
- A suspended driver’s license
- Inability to renew vehicle registration
Uninsured drivers may also be unable to sue for pain and suffering damages in addition to no-fault benefits if injured in an accident. They may be held financially responsible for paying any medical bills and lost wages they caused to victims, regardless of their degree of fault.
Reach Out to Our Firm for Trusted Legal Help
Were you injured in a car accident? A licensed vehicle accident attorney in Grand Rapids is ready to review your claim and discuss your available options. The legal team at Jay Trucks & Associates has decades of experience representing accident victims and has been able to recover millions of dollars in compensation on our clients’ behalf.
Our initial consultation is 100 percent free without any legal obligation involved. There are no upfront fees to take a case, and we charge no fees while working on a case. We only get paid if you get paid.
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