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Auto Insurance in California


If you have a clean driving record, California insurance companies are required to offer you a good driver's discount.

California Auto Insurance Requirements

In California, drivers are required to provide financial responsibility proof or liability insurance on vehicles(cars) operated or parked on state roadways. The reason for this is to cover costs related to damages or injuries you may have caused in an accident. The most common way people choose to meet this requirement is by purchasing liability car insurance. Comprehensive or collision insurance, regardless of fault, can cover damage to an insured vehicle in case of loss. Comprehensive and Collision insurance may be required if the lender has leased the car. The state's financial responsibility requirements do not cover Comprehensive or Collision insurance in the United States.

Minimum California auto insurance requirements

The State of California requires minimum auto liability insurance. This minimum auto liability requirement must be met by drivers as per the law. The minimum amount of liability insurance you must have on your policy is:

  • $15,000 personal injury/death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property

Liability coverage is the only required car insurance coverage you need to carry in California as per law. Some other types of coverage available to you are Collision, Comprehensive, Medical Payments or Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist, Rental car coverage, Towing and labor coverage. These coverages provide additional protection in different kinds of situations. All provide financial assistance to drivers or car owners whose automobiles have been involved in an accident, whether they caused the accident or not.

Other Acceptable forms of Financial Responsibility:

Buying car insurance is the most common and most affordable way to fulfill your financial responsibility requirements, but it isn't your only option. Other accepted types of financial responsibility are:

  • A $35,000 cash deposit with the CA DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).
  • A Certificate of Self-Insurance issued by the DMV.
  • A surety bond for $35,000 from any company licensed to do business in CA.

About California auto insurance

There are few other items about California auto insurance requirements that drivers should know. Some are listed below:

  • The driver must carry proof of coverage in the insured vehicle at all times.
  • The driver must provide proof when the law enforcement requests while renewing the vehicle registration, and if/when the vehicle is involved in an accident.
  • The car insurance coverage must be reported by the auto insurer directly and electronically to the DMV.
  • The DMV can monitor auto insurance coverage through the electronic records system and take action appropriately.
  • Law enforcement officers/officers of the court system are provided with the access to DMV electronic records.
  • California runs a Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program for people who cannot afford auto liability insurance coverage.
  • The DMV must be notified before cancelling an insurance policy. This rule is followed to protect the driver from a vehicle registration suspension

Proof of Insurance

With the insurance card that your insurance company will provide you with, as your proof of insurance, you should be able to prove you have auto insurance to register your car or renew your registration. Your car insurance card will have:

  • Your car's information.
  • Make.
  • Model.
  • Year.
  • Safety rating.
  • Value.
  • Your name and the name of any other drivers under your car's policy.
  • The expiration date of your insurance policy's term.
  • Every time you renew your car insurance policy, you will receive a new card.

Consequences of not complying with California auto insurance requirements

In California, if you don’t have a proper proof of financial responsibility covering the minimum car insurance, it can result in the suspension of the vehicle registration. This can happen when:

  • The insurer does not submit policy information to the DMV within 30 days of issuing a registration card
  • An insurance policy is cancelled and the DMV is not notified of a replacement policy within 45 days
  • Registration is obtained fraudulently

If your vehicle registration is suspended and you still drive the vehicle, you can be cited and fined, your vehicle may be seized and you can be liable for any damages that result from a collision.

Find the cheapest auto insurance quote in California

To find the best car insurance quote you need to be able to compare quotes from various companies in California. When you get quotes from multiple companies you can compare what coverages each company is providing. The common types of coverages are

  • Liability Coverage.
  • Property Damage Liability.
  • Bodily Injury Liability.
  • Comprehensive Coverage.
  • Collision Coverage.
  • Fire and Theft Coverage.
  • Physical Damage Coverage.
  • Personal Injury Protection.


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