California is considered an at-fault state rather than a no-fault state, which means drivers are financially responsible for any accident they cause. As a licensed driver in California, you are required to carry proof of financial responsibility at all times for any accident you might cause. Most people satisfy car insurance requirements by carrying auto insurance.
Included in the car insurance requirements is an issued insurance ID card. To prove that you have acceptable coverage, you will need to carry your insurance ID card which identifies the insurance company, the insured vehicle and the name of the policyholder along with start and end date of the policy.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in California
Liability insurance is intended to compensate others for personal injury or property damage that you may cause if you cause a vehicle accident. The minimum amount that drivers are required to carry is as follows:
- $15,000 to cover death or injury of one person in an accident you cause
- $30,000 to cover death or injury of multiple persons
- $5,000 to cover property damage
Upon registration or transfer of ownership of a vehicle, insurance information must be submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 30 days. If you cancel your insurance for any reason, you must notify the DMV to prevent suspension of your registration.
If you’re not operating the vehicle and it’s not parked on the road in California, you can file an Affidavit of Non-Use with the DMV so that you won’t have to carry liability insurance while it’s not being operated. If your insurance is canceled and a replacement policy isn’t submitted to the DMV within 45 days, your vehicle is subject to suspension.
While not included in the standard car insurance requirements, there are other forms of optional insurance that can help protect you in an accident. Since liability coverage only covers damage to others that you cause, you may want to consider optional insurance to cover your own losses in the event of an accident. Some forms of optional insurance include:
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist – This can protect you if the driver of an at-fault vehicle who has inadequate coverage causes an accident that you are involved in.
- Comprehensive and Collision Insurance – This coverage pays for your own vehicle if it is stolen or damaged in an accident.
- Medical Payments Insurance – This form of insurance can help pay for medical bills from an accident for you and your passengers. Coverage usually starts at $1,000 per person.
Alternative Proof of Financial Responsibility
An alternative way to prove financial responsibility is to open a savings account that always has a balance of at least $35,000 with the DMV. You can also obtain a certificate of self-insurance from the DMV.
Another option is to purchase a surety bond in the amount of $35,000 or more from a licensed California surety company. This is a form of guarantee that the driver will be liable for damages they may cause in an accident.
If You’ve Been Injured in a California Accident
When an accident results in injuries after a California accident, there are a few different ways that you may obtain compensation. They include:
- Filing a claim with your own insurance company
- Filing a claim with an at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Filing a claim with the help of a personal injury attorney
Whenever you have been injured because of the negligence or carelessness of another driver, it’s a good idea to consult an expert in the field of personal injury law. Contact Kuvara Law Firm by filling out the form and one of our attorneys will get back to you to discuss what happened and see how we can help.