Reporting Kurtis Ming
A Sacramento driver paid to insure her scooter but learned it was never insured at all.
After the DMV suspended her registration, she called Kurtis to get answers.
We learned this problem all started at the DMV.
It snowballed from there, leaving her stuck with a bike she can’t ride.
“It’s scary but exciting.. the adrenalin rush,” said Kristen Smith.
But the only adrenalin rush Kristen is able to get is in her driveway because the DMV won’t let her ride it.
“It’s been sitting in my garage,” said Kristen.
After buying the scooter in November, Kristen paid insurance broker, Cost-U-Less, $389 to insure the bike for a year, a lot more money than she expected.
But when you look at her proof of insurance card, it lists her scooter as an HD for Harley Davidson.
This isn’t a Harley.
“Turns out the DMV messed up on the registration, came up as a Harley,” said Kristen.
The DMV confirmed to us, a technician keyed in the wrong license plate number, linking Kristen to someone else’s Harley.
And that mistake carried over when she insured her bike.
After the DMV straightened it out on its end, she says Cost-U-Less, which is a broker, promised in November to fix her policy with the insurance company, so her bike was insured instead of someone else’s Harley.
It became clear the fix didn’t happen when this showed up… the DMV suspending her scooter’s registration as of February 1st, for not having insurance.
“Technically, I haven’t been insured this entire time. I’ve been riding it around, thinking I was insured,” said Kristen.
“I’m a little shocked because to find out you’re not insured is really frightening for any motorist, homeowner,” said Nancy Kincaid, CA Dept. of Insurance spokesperson.
Kincaid says insurance brokers or agents don’t have a legal obligation to check DMV records, but they are responsible for insuring the correct vehicle.
If Kristen was in an accident, she could go after the insurance company or broker for the bills.
“If the agent or broker issued insurance to her that was not authorized to issue, then it may be the agent or broker that could be on the hook,” said Kincaid.
We contacted Cost-U-Less. It seems to blame the insurance company it used for the policy.
“… despite our diligence in submitting the change request form multiple times, and contacting the insurance carrier to confirm the change, the carrier did not change the vehicle on the policy.”
– Mariana Small, director of communications
A few days after we got involved, Cost-U-Less refunded Kristen for the insurance and the DMV fee to reinstate her scooter.
“Just relief, to be done with them, I’m tired of messing with them,” said Kristen.
That carrier Cost-U-Less used for insurance was GMAC. Turns out, Cost-U-Less tells us GMAC won’t even insure the type of scooter Kristen rode.
We reached out to GMAC who told us in an email:
GMAC Insurance Statement
“A spokesperson for GMAC Insurance indicated that out of respect for policyholder privacy they do not publicly comment upon the details of matters between policyholders, agents and the company. However, Ms. Smith’s inquiry would be reviewed further for any opportunities for improvement in customer service going forward.”
Kristen is now insured with a different company.