February 1, 2023
Annapolis, US 37 F

Dear MVA, I Have A Suggestion

Dear Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration–

Recently, I became mired in the quagmire you like to refer to as “customer service.”  By no fault (but by total responsibility) of my own, my insurance lapsed.

Typically, I get an email reminder from Geico about my premium and make the payment. As I was reconciling my bank account, I noticed that there was not a monthly payment to Geico. I called and they told me the policy had been canceled. When I asked what had happened, they said I did not respond to the letter of renewal they sent; and they subsequently canceled it.  I get that.

Of course I got the letter from you saying I had lapsed and I contacted Geico again and they were to mail a FR-19 to you, which they did. Apparently this was not enough. And to a point, I am good with that.

My issue is that I was never notified that something as important as insurance was canceled. When I asked Geico how they notified me, they told me they sent me a letter in the mail. I never received it. I asked if they sent it “Certified” or “Return Receipt Requested” and they said that Maryland only requires them to mail the letters and does not require any type of proof that they were mailed or indeed received.

Now I realize that all of you governmental agencies like to believe you are efficient and on the ball, but seriously, the post office has a problem. Mail does not get delivered. It is happening here in Annapolis. It is happening up in North County. As a matter of fact, post office failure happened when your E-ZPass cousin charged a family $2000 for a late toll!  All because of the post office.

Tolls are one thing. Insurance is a completely different animal. Since you are the one that makes the rules of the “I Want To Play In Maryland” game, why on earth would you NOT require the insurance companies to send out cancellation notices by some means where they can verify receipt? I mean, unless you are in bed with them and this is just a method you are using to extort $206 out of unsuspecting drivers, doesn’t it make sense?

The other issue I have is the notice I received on July 21, 2010 from your office. This was the first time I was advised of the fine or even of the fact that Geico had supplied the information to you. There is no date on the letter to indicate when it was prepared, but it did indeed advise me that my registration was suspended as of (wait for it) July 21, 2010.  I looked at the postmark and it was stamped July 16, 2010 (Friday) from Glen Burnie.   Now I will go out on a limb here and assume that this letter probably did not get mailed until Monday, the 19th!

Even if it was hand delivered, 2 days to pay $206? In today’s economy, not many people budget to have an extra $206 hanging around in case the MVA Mafia comes knocking on their doors! But, receiving it on the 21st AFTER the registration has been suspended is a little much.  No grace period. Heck, I could not even drive to the bank to get money from my account without risking getting pulled over (and fined) for a suspended registration.  Quite the Catch-22 don’t you think?

In all seriousness, why aren’t the insurance companies required to send cancellation notices by a verifiable means? The post office in unreliable and in case you haven’t heard, they are talking about closing on Saturdays.

Think about it!  I bet I am not the only one to run afoul of this and some of your other rules.  Maybe some of the readers of this blog will chime in!

PS: I love the new envelopes you have highlighting your 100 years of safety, service, and security–no doubt partially funded by the $206 I paid today!

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  1. Don’t get me wrong the DMV is a total wreck in many ways, but this is not their fault. As you said ” By no fault (but by total responsibility) of my own, my insurance lapsed.”

    At least you took responsibility of being late.

    And you have been late before
    “Typically, I get an email reminder from Geico about my premium and make the payment.”

    It’s easy, make your payments on time and this wont happen.

  2. Oh I am not saying it is their fault and I do take responsibility for it. However, I may not have been clear that this was the END of my policy term. Geico does send out the reminders electronically (if you are signed up) and by mail if you are late in a payment under your current policy–I have received the bright pink envelope once. But at the end of the term, apparently the only notification you receive from Geico is a letter (not sure what color envelope) saying your policy is expiring and a bill (not received).

    I paid the fine. I am not happy about it or about the process and was offering a somewhat sarcastic suggestion that I feel has merit. But Geico and all insurance companies rely on the US Postal Service to deliver their mail and they are not the most reliable means. Certainly for something as important as insurance, a guaranteed delivery method makes sense –or at least one where Geico can provide PROOF that the notice was received. Obviously the cost would be passed along, but I imagine the insured of Maryland would be accepting of an additional $1.55 (or whatever the certified mail price is) increase in annual premium to insure that they are not put in this position again.

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