Q. I am a senior lady who drives a 2006 Buick I bought new. I drive very few miles, maybe 3,000 per year. My car insurance went up. I also just got the new registration tags and the insert says there are four acceptable types of financial responsibility: Having insurance, a $35,000 surety bond, a Department of Motor Vehicles-issued self insurance certificate, or the DMV acknowledging a $35,000 cash deposit. If I give the DMV $35,000, do I get ALL of it back when I stop driving? What’s the story on these options?
– Raelyn Morgan, Gardena
A. Let’s focus on the three alternative options, which are, really, types of self-insurance:
— Getting a surety bond, which guarantees any amount owed is covered. You would need to get one from a company licensed in the state. The DMV recommends finding a policy via the state’s Department of Insurance: insurance.ca.gov or 800-927-4357.
— Giving the DMV access to a bank account. That can include putting cash into a money market or a certificate of deposit. The driver can make interest on the funds. The DMV would see monthly statements to ensure the minimum amount is in the account.
— Getting a cashier’s check payable to the DMV.
The current sum needed on hand at all times for those three options is indeed $35,000, but it goes up to $75,000 on Jan. 1.
“Customers who no longer wish to participate in the Alternative Form of Responsibility program (offering those three options) will be refunded their full deposit,” said Katarina Snow, a DMV spokesperson. “It is up to the customer to notify the DMV.”
The DMV doesn’t determine who was at fault in a collision; if needed, a court would.
To participate in the Alternative Form of Responsibility program, or to get information about it, contact the DMV at 916-657-6677.
“We encourage people to call that number so we can walk them through the options,” said Chris Orrock, another DMV spokesperson.
Q. I’ve meant to send kudos to the crews working on the south county freeway upgrades. I come upon Avery Parkway from the north two or three times a week and have never seen one man standing still! The personnel are always moving, carrying things, operating machinery. I think they are doing a great job. Now, let’s talk about the 57 Freeway and Lambert Road – a standstill for many months now. What’s up with that?
– Marty Haynes, Placentia
A. “Kudos” — Honk loves that word.
He also likes “gat” (for gun), “blower” (for phone) and “ride” (for car).
The $92 million project is reconfiguring ramps, adding nearly a half-mile of a lane on the southbound 57, widening Lambert and improving other stuff.
If all continues to go well, the work will be completed, on time, by Dec. 31.
“Work has been continuous throughout this project, some of which might not be visible from freeway level,” Nathan Abler, a Caltrans spokesman, told Honk in an email. “This work includes all preparation for paving Lambert Road, the completion of three median islands, weed removal, lane striping, and completing all necessary items for project completion.”
HONKIN’ FACT: The 405 Express Lanes, which motorists are expected to be able to start taking on Dec. 1 in Orange County, will open up a customer-service office on Monday, Nov. 20. Those who have questions about the tollway or want to get a free transponder sticker or a $15 switchable transponder can go to 1535 Scenic Ave., Suite 125, in Costa Mesa, or call 562-740-4405. Hours are are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Website: 405expresslanes.com.
To ask Honk questions, reach him at email@example.com. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk. Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.