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General California Insurance Guidelines
California requires that all drivers be covered under liability insurance. Proof of insurance must always be accessible in the vehicle. California drivers are required to show their insurance info when requested by an officer, renewing their registration, involved in an accident, within 30 days of registering a new vehicle or 45 days of the cancellation of a policy for a currently registered vehicle.
Minimum Liability Coverage in California
California state minimum liability car insurance amounts are:
- $15,000 bodily injury per person
- $30,000 total bodily injury per accident
- $5,000 total property damage per accident
These are only the minimum requirements set by the state. Experts advise protecting your assets by getting more coverage than the state-mandated minimums as these limits tend not to keep pace with the ever increasing costs of car repairs and medical bills. Most drivers also add collision and comprehensive coverage to their policies to cover possible damage to their own cars as well.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
The penalties for driving without insurance in California are:
- Suspension of driving privileges and registration
- Citations, vehicle impounded and held personally responsible for any damages
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Some states require drivers to carry UM/UIM, or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist insurance pays for your medical bills if a driver without insurance crashes into you. California does not require UM/UIM coverage.
Some states have no-fault insurance laws where a policyholder will be reimbursed by their insurance company without proof of fault, and restricted in the right to seek reimbursement through the court system for losses caused by other parties. California is not a no-fault insurance state.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Some states have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) regulations requiring drivers to carry PIP insurance. This is an extension of auto insurance that covers medical expenses, lost wages and/or other damages. California does not require drivers to purchase PIP insurance.
SR-22 Requirements for California
An SR-22 form is a vehicle liability insurance document to be filed with a state’s DMV as proof that a driver has the minimum required liability insurance coverage for that state. SR-22 filings are usually only required to reinstate driving privileges after an offense such as a DUI conviction, uninsured auto accident or driving without insurance. California requires an SR-22 filing for driver’s license reinstatement.
California DUI Laws
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in the United States with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level of 0.08% or higher. All states have driver licensing laws that state that a licensed driver has given implied consent to a field sobriety test and/or method of determining BAC. This means that a driver is required to take such tests if a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds for administering one, with automatic penalties for refusing to comply. If BAC is determined to be above the legal level a driver will be penalized in various ways. The first DUI offense penalties for California are:
- 4 days to 6 months imprisonment
- $390 - $1000 fine
- 6-month license suspension
- Possible court-ordered installation ignition interlock device at offender's expense
- Successful completion of Driving Under the Influence Program
Additional Information on Insurance for California
For more information, please contact California Department of Insurance: 1-800-927-HELP or visit their website at www.insurance.ca.gov.
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