The Department of Motor Vehicles cares that your automobile is insured. But .. first, you should know what the law requires.
Idaho drivers must have liability insurance. (It protects you if you are injured by someone without insurance.) Additional coverage such as collision, comprehensive, and underinsured motorist protection, can safeguard you against a horrific accident.
Now … the but… Idaho DMV is not calling to tell you that you have too much insurance coverage.
Jeff Stratten, Idaho Transportation Department official, says the office was swamped with calls from residents across the state questioning why the DMV wants more information about their insurance coverage, and how the department could promise hundreds of dollars in savings.
“Truth is, under state law, a DMV or law enforcement officer can ask you to prove that you have insurance on your vehicle,” Stratten says. “But, the DMV is not tracking how much insurance you have.”
Idaho code does not allow collection of information from a person’s auto insurance coverage. DMV does collect information on restricted driving or suspended licenses (those requiring SR-22), but that information is not released.
BBB CEO Dale Dixon explains this is a misrepresentation by the company as they are making cold calls for insurance agents.
“BBB sets standards to help businesses sell ethically,” Dixon says. “One of those standards is transparency. We are concerned the company behind these calls does not appear to be transparent about who’s placing the call and what they want to accomplish.”
BBB discovered the calls are being made from a “leads generation” company from Austin, Texas.
A caller to BBB said the company claims to be based in the Idaho Falls area, apparently trying to find potential customers the old-fashioned way – cold-calling – but are apparently using a third-party company to make the first contact and then patching you through to their real representative.
Tracing the phone number – 208-906-8271 – returns with an unassigned universal phone number.
An Associated Press story on Monday stated more than $5.4 million was collected when motor vehicle records and other personal information was sold to companies for research in car buying patterns, for recall notices, and for tracking those who don’t pay parking tickets.
Stratten says it’s coincidental the phone calls began the same day the story was printed. He says state law allows the DMV to sell this information. The state guards citizen’s privacy with contracts and potential sanctions if the information is misused. He says he did not see this as a misuse of the information.
Dixon says, “Any time I am forced to give information and that information is then sold, that’s wrong. There are marketers out there who are desperate for our names, our address, our telephone number and e-mail. And any info they can get about us so they can market to us and they’re willing to pay big bucks for it.”