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Car Insurance 101: How Much Coverage Do You Need in California?

Car Insurance 101: How Much Coverage Do You Need in California?

Searching for auto insurance can be a hassle. With so many providers, it can take weeks just to find the right policy. That’s where Insurance Online comes in! With our advanced, industry-leading technology, we can offer you hundreds of quotes from auto insurance providers, of all sizes, instantly!

But how much coverage do you really need? Is there a minimum? Is it legally required? Here is Insurance Online’s Car Insurance 101: how much coverage do you need in California?

Auto Insurance is a Legal Requirement in the State of California

According to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), “financial responsibility is required on all vehicles operated or parked on California roadways.” This “financial responsibility” is what us laypeople would call auto insurance. Under state law, insurance companies are required to report private-use vehicle insurance information to the DMV electronically. This reporting allows the DMV, as well as law enforcement and the courts, to monitor and ensure that all vehicles on the road are insured.

Beyond this electronic reporting, individual drivers are also legally required to have proof that they meet the “financial responsibilities” of auto insurance.  This evidence must be in the driver’s vehicle at all times and must be provided when:

  • Requested by law enforcement.
  • Renewing vehicle registration.
  • The vehicle is involved in a traffic collision.

Minimum Requirements for Auto Insurance in California

The State of California requires that drivers have a way to cover the costs related to damages or injuries which may have occurred as a result of a car accident. According to the DMV, purchasing liability insurance is the simplest and most common way people choose to meet this legal requirement.

The minimum amount of liability insurance an individual must have on their policy in California is:

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

More Coverage Means More Protection!

While the state mandates that drivers are responsible for only having a minimum amount of liability coverage, many drivers choose to select separate types of insurance, which offer more protection., These include:

  • Comprehensive coverage – This insures against damages that might occur to a vehicle that do not involve traffic accidents, such as theft-related damage.
  • Collision coverage – This insures against damages to a vehicle that occur as a result of a traffic collision, such as an accident with another driver.
  • Medical and funeral services coverage.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage – According to the California Department of Insurance (CDI), in 2017, 12.5-percent of California drivers had no car insurance. Uninsured/underinsured coverage can cover damages caused by one of these drivers.

Having a car in California means you need great insurance. At Insurance Online, customers can compare hundreds of quotes – and not just from the big providers – at any time 24/7. We’re more than just an insurance company. Our agents live and work in the same communities as you so you can be assured you’ll get the right policy from an agent that understands your needs. So, when life happens, Insurance Online is just a click away. Call us today at 1-800-956-8611 to speak to an agent about auto insurance.

headshot of Sandra Cruz

Sandra Cruz | Linkedin

Based in Newport Beach, CA, Sandra has been a licensed insurance agent in California and Texas for 5 years and is an editor and writer specializing in all types of insurance matters. Sandra is Insurance Online's authority on auto, home, and business insurance and has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, and US World News Report.

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