Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not my morning

I had it all planned out today, the errands I needed to run. On my way to Costco, I was pulled over by a police officer for reasons I did not know. I was idle at the off ramp signal light when a police car drove up behind me and followed for a few feet before the lights came on, signaling me to pull over. What could it be, I wondered.

To my surprise, I was informed that a check on my vehicle registration was suspended and my car shouldn't be on the road. (My really dark tinted windows could have been a flag, prompting a run on my plates, probably thinking I could be a troubled teenager with warrants). My first thought was, "What?!". The last notice I received for insurance verification was August of 2007. I thought it was taken care of and haven't heard anything since then.

Apparently, the DMV does not have current auto insurance information on my vehicle which probably had to do with us switching our insurance company recently. To top things off, I didn't have a current insurance card with me. Why weren't we informed to take action before the registration was suspended? This meant it is illegal for the car to be on the streets! Rather than making me take the license plate off my car, the officer let me go--without citing me.

After a bumpy start to my morning, I was at Costco and realized I didn't bring my membership card with me. No big deal, I'll go back.

Moving onward I drove to the library to return a book...and the road that led there was closed, blocked off for a special event. Unfamiliar with the area, I followed the detour sign down a road that winded through the neighborhood and kept going further and further away from my destination until...I ended up on the same street but further down. Forget the book, I was now turned around and had to find my way out of there. I was SO close but yet so far.

At this point, I didn't get to fill up on gas at Costco nor was I able to pick up items needed from there and now I couldn't do something so simple as returning a library book. What else can go wrong? (At least I didn't get a ticket so I'm thankful for that.)

When I went to drop off my clothes at the dry cleaner, Murphy's law flashed through my mind as I handed my debit card to prepay for the service. I held my breath, I didn't have cash on me. It went through. At least I can cross one thing off my list before coming back home to regroup.

Okay. Let's try this again .

~- Updated 12:36pm -~

Well...I didn't get very far. With my auto policy declaration in hand, my first stop was the DMV to see if I can get this insurance verification resolved in person. I discovered that the DMV has no record of insurance coverage on my car back to August 2007! My question is how did I drive around for over a year with the license plate suspended and we never got any notice from the DMV? They usually send an insurance verification card if they need proof of insurance on record.

Wait. It gets worse. The root of the problem is that our last name on the title and registration is wrong so that when verification of insurance is sent to the DMV, the names don't match and is rejected by the system.

It's such a common occurrence that our last name is misspelled and usually it is not a big deal. But in this case with the DMV, there is a problem. Because people can't spell such a simple last name correctly, we have to go through all this trouble to get the title and registration changed and contact our insurance companies to verify current and past coverage.

Meanwhile, it is illegal for me to drive my car with the license plate suspended. The next police officer may not be so kind and write me an $1,100 ticket! We are responsible people, we've maintained continuous insurance coverage on our vehicles-- isn't that all that should matter? Not some technicality in a misspelled last name. But not for the suspension, the car is registered and insured. Isn't that the point? day is going REALLY well and I have yet to make it to Costco. Something tells me I shouldn't be running errands today.

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