Fact checking: does the DMV have records for minors?
May 18, 2023 12:28 AM   Subscribe

I assumed this all happens when a person gets e.g. a state ID or license, but it would help to know if that’s wrong. Am fighting insurance and would like one less hoop right now.
posted by moira to Law & Government (11 answers total)
I think we’ll need more information to answer this. It’s not even clear what you’re asking.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:52 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Agree with kevinbelt. Specifically: What country? What state/province? Records of what?
posted by Alterscape at 4:25 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

If you're asking if your driver record can have things listed that happened when you were a minor and did not yet have a license the answer is yes.

Way back when I was still a minor I got a driving without a license ticket since I couldn't get a license for reasons and lived in a place where I couldn't avoid driving at least occasionally as someone living on their own. Thankfully that was a time and place where it wasn't a huge deal, I just paid a fine and the first couple of years of being insured once I was able to get a license was even more expensive than the already very high price they charge single young men even when they drive a grandpa car. After the usual three year period they will disclose traffic offenses, it fell off the record available to insurance companies.
posted by wierdo at 5:53 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Sorry, more information: California, United States. I’m trying to get AAA to change the name my teen our policy. One person said they could and would do it and didn’t follow through. The next person said they won’t until the DMV shows the new name, and no other proof will do. I’m wondering if the DMV somehow has my teen’s old name.

I never encountered a fraction of this resistance from various companies when I changed to my married name, and it’s really pissing me off.
posted by moira at 10:43 AM on May 18

Response by poster: And more info I guess I deleted from the original: my teen doesn’t drive or have a state ID yet.
posted by moira at 10:54 AM on May 18

Best answer: I would ask insurance where they are getting their information, if your teen has not interacted with the DMV.

The DMV in CA uses the Social Security database for confirming details for most people, to the best of my knowledge. But, the DMV should not be relevant here because your teen doesn't have a license, permit, or ID.

If you have a court ordered name change for your teen, that should be the final word regarding insurance. Neither insurance nor the DMV has to recognize an alias. But they do have to recognize a legal name change.

So if it's a legal name change, you should escalate with insurance to make it happen. If it's a misspelling (they put your teen's name as Bort instead of Bart in the insurance docs) you can also escalate with insurance to fix that (presumably you have a birth certificate with Bart on it.) If your teen goes by another name but hasn't formalized the change (goes by Tim, but birth cert and docs are still under Bart), then you're probably out of luck until that change is legal.
posted by blnkfrnk at 11:00 AM on May 18

Response by poster: It is in fact a court-ordered legal name (and gender) change. Thank you! Looks like I will be dying on this hill with AAA, and I'm kind of looking forward to it.
posted by moira at 11:09 AM on May 18

Still confused. If your teen doesn't drive, why are they on your car insurance policy?
posted by kevinbelt at 11:20 AM on May 18

Response by poster: They were put on as an excluded dependent. Not sure how AAA knew we had a teen at all, maybe it was part of the paperwork years ago.
posted by moira at 11:31 AM on May 18

Response by poster: Thanks again blnkfrnk. I called AAA again, confident I was standing on solid ground, and got results this time.
posted by moira at 12:47 PM on May 18

Good! Glad it worked out. A lot of the time it's just someone acting on autopilot ("you have a teen...this means you have a new driver...this means I need to see their DMV info...") instead of actually listening to the situation.

I changed my name and gender in CA a few years ago. As far as I can tell, this is still true: CA DMV draws info from Social Security's database. When your teen is ready to get an ID or permit/license, FIRST go to SSA and update their name and gender there. Otherwise, CA will likely put in the order on their end for the ID and use the information from SSA, not what is on the form and supported by the court order. Again-- autopilot. It is a hassle to get it fixed, so I advise going to SSA first, making the change there, and then going to the DMV to minimize your back and forth with it.

In case this is relevant, California makes birth certificate name and gender changes pretty easy too. You can learn all about it at the TLC's ID Please document.
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:50 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

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