Car Insurance Requirements in California
Proof of financial responsibility is necessary for all vehicles that are operated on public roads in the state of California. As a licensed driver, you must carry this proof of insurance with your car, truck, motorcycle or other vehicle at all times.
Proof of Insurance
In California it is necessary to have proof of financial responsibility (commonly insurance) before you are able to operate a motor vehicle. Insurance companies are required by law to report private-use vehicle insurance information to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) electronically.
Minimum Insurance Requirements in CA
If you choose to have liability insurance, there are minimum requirements for the amount of insurance you have on the vehicle and yourself as the driver.
Comprehensive or collision insurance does not meet vehicle financial responsibility requirements. Liability insurance is necessary to compensate those other than the policyholder for property damage and/or personal injury that occurs from an accident.
The California State liability insurance minimums are:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
- $5,000 for damage to property
Low-cost coverage is available from the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program if you find that you are unable to afford liability insurance in California.
Additional Insurance Options
While liability insurance is the most common form of financial responsibly used in California, there are other options that a driver may choose. You may make a cash deposit of $35,000 with the DMV, obtain a DMV-issued self-insurance certificate, or purchase a surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California.
When to Show Proof of Auto Insurance in CA
There are only a few specific times when you are required to show proof of insurance:
- When requested by law enforcement
- When renewing vehicle registration
- When the vehicle is involved in a traffic collision
If you fail to provide proof of financial responsibility, especially after a car accident, you may have your driver’s license suspended.
Penalty for Driving without Insurance in CA
If the Department of Motor Vehicles finds that you do not have insurance on your car, truck or motorcycle, it may suspend your vehicle registration. Your vehicle registration may also be suspended if it is found that the registration was obtained by providing false evidence of insurance.
In addition to having your vehicle registration suspended, you may:
- Be cited
- Have your vehicle impounded
- Be personally liable for damages, if you are involved in a collision
If you are in a car accident without car insurance, your driver’s license may also be suspended.
Now that you know the consequences of driving without car insurance in California, be sure to keep your insurance up to date. It is your responsibility.