California Auto Insurance Requirements
California law requires all drivers to provide proof of financial responsibility or carry auto liability insurance on any cars operated or parked on state roadways. Liability insurance provides protection against injury and/or property damage caused by an insured driver. Liability is different from Comprehensive or Collision insurance, which – regardless of fault – covers damage to an insured vehicle in the event of a loss. Comprehensive and Collision fall outside the state’s financial responsibility requirements, but may be required if leasing a car by lender.
Minimum California auto insurance requirements
- $15K personal injury/death to one person
- $30K for injury/death to more than one person
- $5K for damage to property
Although these liability coverages represent the minimum car insurance in California, drivers are always able to purchase additional coverage amounts and other types of coverage such as Collision, Comprehensive, Medical Payments or Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist. These additional coverages provide protection in different situations. All provide financial assistance to drivers or vehicle owners whose automobiles have been involved in an accident, whether they caused the accident or not.
About California auto insurance
- Proof of coverage must be carried in the insured vehicle at all times
- Proof must be provided when requested by law enforcement, when renewing vehicle registration, and if/when the vehicle is involved in a traffic accident
- The auto insurer will report vehicle insurance coverage directly to the DMV electronically
- The DMV can monitor insurance coverage through the electronic records system and take action as appropriate
- Law enforcement officers and officers of the court system have access to DMV electronic records regarding auto insurance coverage
- California operates a Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program for those who cannot afford auto liability insurance coverage
- The DMV must be notified before an insurance policy is cancelled. This is done to protect the driver from a vehicle registration suspension
Consequences of not complying with California auto insurance requirements
- An insurance policy is cancelled and the DMV is not notified of a replacement policy within 45 days
- The insurer does not submit policy information to the DMV within 30 days of issuing a registration card
- Registration is obtained fraudulently
If a vehicle registration is suspended and the vehicle is still driven, the driver can be cited and fined, the vehicle may be impounded and the driver can be liable for any damages that result from a collision.
Other acceptable types of financial responsibility
Auto liability insurance isn’t the only form of financial responsibility available to drivers, but it is by far the most common and most affordable. Other accepted types of financial responsibility are:
- Cash deposit of $35,000 with the DMV
- DMV-issued self-insurance certificate
- Surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California
Contact a Titan representative
Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Product, coverage, discounts, insurance terms, definitions, and other descriptions are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in your individual insurance contracts, policies, and/or declaration pages from Titan-affiliated underwriting companies, which are controlling. Such products, coverage, terms, and discounts may vary by state and exclusions may apply.