The car insurance coverage required by California law is a minimum of $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and a minimum of $5,000 for property damage liability.
Bodily injury liability coverage helps pay for another person’s injuries in a car accident when you are at fault. Property damage liability coverage helps pay for the other person’s car. Your insurance company pays up to the limit specified in your policy for each of these categories.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements Under California Law
Bodily injury liability per person: $15,000
Bodily injury liability per accident: $30,000
Property damage liability: $5,000
Drivers in California face multiple penalties if you’re caught driving without at least the minimum auto insurance required by state law. Possible outcomes include fines and your car being impounded. Another important California law to note is the grace period for new residents: When you move to California, you have 20 days to register your car. You’ll need to show proof that you’ve obtained California car insurance, with coverage in each of the categories listed below.
Why You Should Get More Than the Minimum Insurance Requirements in California
Just because you can drive legally with the minimum amount of car insurance coverage required by California law does not mean such coverage will provide adequate protection for you personally. Policies can go beyond California’s minimum coverage requirements in two ways: higher limits and more robust coverage.
Higher coverage limits mean that the insurance carrier will pay more for another person’s injury or property damage in the event of an accident. More robust coverage could include provisions that cover your own injuries, your vehicle, uninsured motorists and more.
If you can afford it, strongly consider paying for more robust coverage than the minimums required by California’s car insurance laws. People who do not have adequate medical and disability insurance, live in a densely populated area, drive often, or may be concerned about car theft or damage should be especially motivated to go above and beyond.
If you might otherwise drive without insurance, getting the minimum amount of car insurance coverage required in California is better than nothing.
When deciding whether to purchase more than California’s minimum coverage, it is a good idea to compare quotes from several insurance companies before selecting the policy that’s best for you.
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