Vehicle Insurance Requirements in California

For residents of California, having a decent auto insurance policy is extremely important. The state is famous for its traffic jams and fast drivers, making this form of protection all the more crucial. If you're interested in learning more about The Golden State's auto coverage laws, check out this informative guide!

Minimum Requirements

For most drivers, your main concern is meeting the minimum requirements. Compared to other areas, California's are reasonably low and your policy should reflect that. Here's a look at the requirements:

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person in a single accident
  • $30,000 for injury or death to multiple people in a single accident
  • $5,00 for property damage

What Happens if You're Not Insured

Should you ever get into an accident or get caught driving without protection, you could face stiff penalties. In fact, compared to other places, California laws are particularly stringent on drivers who are uninsured or underinsured. Here's a look at some of the penalties you could incur:

  • Your vehicle's registration may be suspended.
  • You could receive a citation from a police officer with fines costing up to $1,000.
  • Repeat offenders often have their vehicles impounded, in addition to other fines.
  • Of course, if you're found liable for an accident, you'll be forced to pay for any damages and compensation to other drivers.

Alternative Options

Unlike some localities, you are not literally required to have an vehicle policy in California. If you choose not to carry protection, you must comply with a different option that the state offers. Unfortunately, these options are not very realistic for most people. One choice is to leave a $35,000 deposit with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which would go toward paying for an accident if you were found liable. Another option is to apply for a self insurance certificate from the DMV, although they are usually only approved for those with large amounts of savings or high incomes. In the case that you simply cannot afford to meet the minimum requirements, you may able to apply for the state's Low Cost Automobile insurance program. This option is mainly for drivers who have a low income, although they must have a good driving record as well.

The Cost of Protecting You and Your Loved Ones

With all of the terrible traffic and jam packed roads, you might expect The Golden State's rates to be one of the tops in the nation. Despite this common perception, the state's premiums are not incredibly high. While it is still ranked in the upper echelon of the country at #16, it's not nearly as bad as some people would have you believe, probably thanks to its fairly low minimum requirements. The average cost of an vehicle policy with liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage is close to $850, which is very much in line with other western states.

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