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California Auto Insurance Requirements

Home » California Auto Insurance Requirements
January 02, 2018
Edward Smith


California Auto Insurance Requirements

I’m Ed Smith, a Roseville car accident lawyer. California requires that all car owners have insurance. It is important to know about what is expected and what we can do to avoid the consequences of having an accident with an uninsured motorist.

Car Insurance Requirements  in California

Under California state law, drivers should have:

  • Liability Insurance: This covers bodily injury to other people caused by the driver. Basic minimums are $15,000 for each individual hurt or killed in the accident and a total of $30,000 per accident. This means if one person is hurt, the insurance will pay $15,000. If two or more people are hurt or killed, the insurance will pay a total amount of $30,000 to be shared by those involved.
  • Property damage:  A driver must have at least $5,000 in coverage for property damage.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident is required.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage: A driver is required to have a minimum of $3,500.

Optional Insurance Coverage

Many California drivers opt for coverage as a supplement to their basic liability. The advantage is that a motorist involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured can provide protection. This type of insurance also covers single-vehicle crashes. Insurance coverage to make medical payments is also an option. Under this type of coverage, medical costs are covered, even if the insured driver is at fault. In addition, the insurance will pay for funeral, burial and end of life costs.

California Uninsured Drivers

According to statistics by the Insurance Information Institute, 15.2 percent of drivers in California were uninsured in 2015. This ranked the state as 12th in the nation in the number of drivers without insurance. Uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage must be offered to a driver when they buy car insurance. However, the driver can refuse to purchase the insurance. In that case, the driver must sign a waiver acknowledging they refused this coverage.

Medical Payments Coverage

This is an additional insurance that covers medical expenses (Med Pay) for the driver or his or her passengers if they are injured. The coverage is applied immediately. A minimum of $1,000 is the lowest amount that can be purchased. However, higher amounts are offered.

Physical Damage Insurance Coverage

A driver is able to purchase two other forms of coverage that are not required but may be necessary if leasing or paying off an auto loan. Both forms of coverage are based on the market value of a motor vehicle.

  • Collision: This coverage insures the vehicle against damage caused by physical impact with another vehicle. It also covers impact with objects such as trees, buildings or guardrails or another person.
  • Comprehensive: This insures against damage from theft, fire, high winds, mud slides, flooding, falling objects or vandalism. Such things as mechanical issues or expected wear are not covered.

More from Roseville Injury Lawyer, Ed Smith:


Roseville Car Accident Lawyer & Personal Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Roseville car accident lawyer. Having insurance coverage is important. However, insurance doesn’t always pay all the bills that accumulate from an auto accident. To find out what your options are when you’ve been injured through negligence, give me a call at (916) 921-6400. I can offer free and friendly advice for your situation. Outside Roseville and Sacramento County, call (800) 404-5400.

In my 35 years of practicing as a California injury lawyer, I’ve helped many in Roseville and Northern California to obtain fair compensation for traumatic injuries and in cases of wrongful death.

Find client comments and reviews at: Avvo, Google and Yelp.

I’m a Million Dollar Advocates member. Membership is comprised of trial attorneys with $1 million awards for clients in verdicts and settlements.

I am owner and founder of, a source of comprehensive information on personal injury topics for Californians.

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Final Photo Attribution: Ed Smith, Roseville Personal Injury Lawyer

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