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Auto Insurance in California

The State of California currently requires that all drivers be covered under liability auto insurance and that proof of car insurance always be carried within the vehicle at any moment.

Mandatory vehicle registration financial responsibility requirements for automobiles being driven or parked on California roads must be provided under the following circumstances: when requested by a law enforcement officer, when renewing vehicle registration, when involved in a car accident, within 30 days of receiving a registration card for a new vehicle, or within 45 days of the cancellation of an auto insurance policy for a currently registered automobile. To avoid a violation, keep proof of car insurance in your automobile at all times.

Neglecting to maintain the appropriate California auto insurance can result in serious consequences including the suspension of driving privileges and the suspension of vehicle registration. Offenders may be cited, have their vehicles impounded, or be held personally responsible for damages incurred.

California Minimum Liability Coverage

Liability coverage is required by law in the State of California. The minimum liability amounts for the State of California are as follows:

  • $15,000 bodily injury per person.
  • $30,000 total bodily injury per accident.
  • $5,000 total property damage per accident.

Remember that these are only the minimum requirements set by the state. Experts always advise that drivers get more than the state-mandated minimums, particularly if you have assets you need to protect, since these limits have not kept pace with the skyrocketing costs of car repairs and medical care. Also, getting liability coverage alone will not cover you in case of damage to your own car, so most drivers will want to add collision and comprehensive coverage to their policies.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Some, not all, states will require that drivers carry UM/UIM, also known as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage will protect the driver in the event that an accident occurs and the other party does not have auto insurance.

The State of California does not currently require this coverage.

No-Fault Insurance

California is not no-fault state, so no-fault insurance is not required.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP is an extension of car insurance available in some U.S. states that covers medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages and other damage.

The State of California current does not require drivers to carry PIP insurance.

California SR-22 Requirements

SR-22 is a document that is required to be filed with a state's DMV as proof that the minimum liability coverage for the state is being carried. Not everyone needs an SR-22 filing. SR-22s are typically required for a driver to reinstate their driving privileges after an offense such as a DUI conviction, uninsured auto accident, or driving without proof of insurance.

California currently requires an SR-22 filing to reinstate a driver's license.

California DUI Laws

For the first DUI offense in the State of California, you will face the following maximum penalties:

  • 4 days to 6 months imprisonment
  • $390 to $1000 fine(s)
  • 6-month license suspension
  • Possible court-ordered installation ignition interlock device at the expense of the DUI offender
  • Successful completion of Driving Under the Influence Program
  • SR-22 required for restricted license

Additional Information on California Insurance

For additional information, you can contact the California Department of Insurance at (800) 927-HELP or go to their website at

Read more about the Most Popular Auto Insurance Carriers in CA.