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California Auto Insurance Requirements Explained

  • California requires that anyone driving a vehicle in the state maintain financial responsibility in the event of an accident—in other words, all motorists must carry auto insurance.

    These laws require that the insurance remain active and that it provide a certain amount of liability coverage to pay for any damage done to someone other than the vehicle owner.


    You Need Liability Coverage

    It’s not enough to carry comprehensive insurance or collision only, since this doesn't cover injured parties. You are also required to carry liability insurance, as it pays for things like the victim's medical bills after a car accident, for example.

    California requires the following minimum coverage amounts for liability insurance:

    • $15,000 for injury or death to one person
    • $30,000 for injury or death to multiple people
    • $5,000 for property damage


    The State Is Updated Regularly by Insurers

    The insurance companies are required to provide information to the state on a regular basis regarding the status of insurance policies. If the state finds out that a driver’s insurance policy has lapsed, they can do things like suspend a person's vehicle registration.

    This is important—if you stop driving a vehicle, even if it’s parked at your house, you should call and let the DMV know that it is not being driven. Otherwise, you could be fined for failing to insure it.


    Other Options

    If you don't want to pay for car insurance, you don't have to as long as you provide proof of other types of financial responsibility:

    • Self-insurance certificate from the Department of Motor Vehicles
    • Depositing $35,000 with the Department of Motor Vehicles
    • $35,000 surety bond from a California-licensed company

    Most people do not have the type of cash it takes to be self-insured, and few wish to deposit $35,000 with the DMV. This makes obtaining and paying for liability insurance the easiest, most affordable, and most popular option.


    Call an Auto Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

    If you are having legal trouble related to auto insurance or have recently been hurt in a wreck, call Haffner Law at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637). You can also reach us using our website.

    We are available to provide assistance, answer legal questions, and discuss the best path forward for your case.