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Vehicle Insurance Requirements

  • As in other states across the country, California drivers must prove financial responsibility when they own and operate a vehicle. This ensures that operators can cover the expense if they cause damage or injury during a vehicle-related collision. Sometimes, mistakes are made and accidents happen. California auto insurance makes sure that these mistakes prove to be less of a financial burden to yourself and others.

    • Required auto insurance coverage

      In California, there is a Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law on record that requires drivers to carry the proper amount of auto insurance. Collision or comprehensive insurance that covers damage to your vehicle is not enough. By law, you must also hold liability insurance that covers damage to other's property or person.

      The minimum liability insurance coverage required for private passenger vehicles per accident is 35,000 dollars and is defined by the following levels of coverage: 15,000 dollars for injury or death to one person, 30,000 dollars for injury or death to more than one person, 5,000 dollars for damage to property.

    • Proof of financial responsibility

      You must keep proof of financial responsibility (insurance coverage) if you plan to drive a motor vehicle or own a vehicle and allow others to drive it. An active insurance policy counts as evidence of financial responsibility. However, there are also some vehicles that you do not need to show proof of financial responsibility for including: government vehicles, trailers, and off-highway vehicles.

      To renew your registration, you need to provide evidence of auto insurance. Forms of documentation include copies of your insurance records or other documents stating the nature and extent of your auto insurance. In certain cases, car owners are able to show proof of a deposit with the DMV to certify financial responsibility. You will also be asked to show proof of insurance if stopping by a law enforcement officer and are required to release information to other motorists if you are involved in an accident.

    Learn more about CA auto insurance requirements at the California DMV website or read DriversEd.com tips on how to save on auto insurance.

    Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the CA DMV. You can visit the CA DMV website or call 1-800-777-0133 for general drivers license and registration information.

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