Car Insurance Laws & Regulations in California

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The state of california is what they call a “Fault” Car Insurance State

California uses a “fault” method when it comes to car insurance as well as the kinds of solutions available after a motor vehicle accident. Basically, there are not many restrictions on the choices of anyone injured in an accident, when it comes to going after an insurance coverage claim or taking legal action against those who are legally at fault. Following a car accident in CA, if you have suffered a physical injury as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you are able to take one or more of the following steps in looking for ways to get reimbursed for your losses (doctor bills, lost earnings, damage to property and more
• file a claim using your own insurance policy
• carry on with the claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance provider, or
• file a PI lawsuit against the at-fault driver exclusively

Please Note: While living in a no-fault car insurance state, a driver that has been injured in a accident must rely on their own auto insurance company for payment of issues such as medical bills or lost income, regardless of exactly who was at fault for the accident. Remedies against the at-fault driver are super limited, but are possible if certain thresholds are met. California drivers do not need to worry about these no-fault rules.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in the state of California

California law requires liability insurance coverage — at or more than minimum dollar amounts. This applies to and for any motor vehicle operating on the roads in this state. This insurance is meant to compensate other drivers/passengers for damage to property or personal injuries just in case an accident occurs. The minimum amounts of coverage required under California law are:

• $15,000 for injury / death to one person while driving a motor vehicle
• $30,000 for injury / death to multiple people, and
• $5,000 for property damage

Keep in mind, this is actually the bare min amt of liability coverage required under the laws of the state of California. You should always try to carry more coverage. A Simple justification to carry more coverage that that is required by law, is if you are at fault on an accident, your insurance will only cover you up to the maximum that is state on your policy. As soon as the limits of your policy are exhausted, you will be left personally responsible for paying the rest of the damages to the vehicle in question..

How to comply with the State of California’s“Financial Responsibility” Requirement

To meet California’s minimum insurance responsibilitys, the overwhelming majority of motorists in California will certainly purchase a car policy providing you with liability coverage equal to or in excess of the min needs. But California actually does allow vehicle owners to choose a couple of other approaches of adhering to the state’s financial responsibility laws and regulations. Rather than purchasing a qualified insurance plan, vehicle owners can:

  • Deposit cash in the amount of $35,000 with the CA DMV
  • Obtain a self-insurance certificate from the CA DMV, or
  • Obtain a $35,000 surety bond from an issuer that is licensed to do business in the state of California.

Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage is simply Not Required in California

California doesn’t require motorists to carry underinsured motorist coverage or uninsured motorist insurance, but it is a really great idea to understand more about these coverage options and the kinds of protection they offer.

For more info on automobile insurance policies and laws in the state of California, see Insurance Requirements for Vehicle Registration from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. 

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