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California Car Insurance

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 11/26/2017

The minimum auto insurance required for California, reporting your coverage to the DMV, and penalties for non-compliance.

State Regulator Information 800-927-4357
Insurance Premium Avg. Annual Premium: $ 1,673 National Average: $1,318
Mandatory Car Insurance Coverage Bodily Injury Liability:$15k/30k
Property Damage Liability:$5k
California Car Insurance: LA at Night

What you need to know when cruising the CA streets.

California car insurance is strictly monitored by the state to make sure that all of its drivers are protected from damage caused by others.

They require minimum insurance to be in place on all vehicles on the road and cars that are not being driven must be registered with the state as in “non-use” or “non-operational” if they do not have insurance in place.  Cars that are being driven without insurance and are not registered as not being used are subject to penalties.

Minimum Insurance Requirements in California

The state of California requires that all of its drivers carry at least liability insurance.  To qualify as acceptable insurance coverage the liability limits have to be no lower than $15,000 in liability coverage for a single person’s injury and $30,000 total for all injuries.  The liability coverage for property damage has to be at least $5,000.

If you are not able to afford liability insurance and still need to drive instead of taking public transportation the state of California does offer a low cost auto insurance that you may be able to qualify for.  For more information on this program visit the website for California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program at:

Coverage Reporting In CA

California car insurance policies are required to be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicle electronically by your insurance company.  This is not just something that California asks of the insurance companies that write in their state, it is actually a state law that was put into place so that the state could track their drivers.  It helps the state make sure that if someone is out on the road driving that they have insurance on their vehicle.  They also require drivers in their state to provide proof of valid insurance coverage when they renew the vehicle registration on their vehicle.

Insurance companies are also to electronically report to the Department of Motor Vehicles when an insurance policy has been cancelled.  Once they notify the DMV, the driver of the vehicle has 45 days to report the new insurance that was purchased to replace the cancelled policy.

Penalties for No Insurance in California

If you do not replace cancelled insurance within 45 days, get insurance on a new vehicle within 30 days or California finds that the proof of California car insurance that you provided was not true – they will suspend your vehicle registration.

To get your vehicle unsuspended you will have to provide proof that you placed insurance valid coverage and pay the reinstatement fee.  If your vehicle remains suspended you can get a ticket and could even have your vehicle impounded.  In the worst case scenario, if you get into an accident you will have to pay the liability damages out of your own pocket.

For more information on California auto insurance, contact your local California insurance agent or visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles website at:

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Todd Clay

Todd Clay is a former insurance agent with the largest insurance company in the United States. He earned his Bachelor’s from the University of Texas. He's worked in several fields but has specialized in insurance, financial-related information, and technology. He blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook. Connect with Tood on Google+

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