California Auto Insurance Laws

Direct Auto Insurance now serves drivers in the Golden State! Whether you recently moved to Cali, just got your driver's license, or are shopping around for a new insurance company, there are a few things you should know about California's car insurance laws. It might help you make the best decision for your budget and driving needs.

Read along to find out what you need to know about California financial responsibility requirements and the rules of the road in Northern California, Southern California, and everywhere in between.

Financial Responsibility Requirements in CA

Under what's known as the California Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law, every vehicle owner and vehicle driver in the state must maintain some form of financial responsibility, or what's also known as liability coverage.

"The law states that you must be financially responsible for your actions whenever you drive, and for all the motor vehicles you own. Most drivers choose to have a liability insurance policy as proof of financial responsibility," notes the California DMV. 

Proof of Financial Responsibility Forms Accepted in CA

There are a few different ways you can prove to the state of CA that you have met the financial responsibility requirements. These include:

  1. A car insurance policy that includes vehicle liability coverage
  2. A cash deposit of $35,000 with the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  3. A surety bond of $35,000 obtained from a company licensed in California
  4. A self-insurance certificate issued by the DMV (for fleet vehicles)

No matter which financial responsibility method you pick, you must carry proof of it in your vehicle at all times. According to the state's DMV, your license could be suspended if you get pulled over without proof of proper coverage.

Minimum Liability Requirements in California

Getting auto insurance is one of the easiest ways to satisfy California insurance laws. If you end up buying a car insurance policy, you must carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. If you cause an accident, whether it's on the 5, 101, or the 1, your coverage will help pay for injuries or damage to other people or their property. Liability coverage does not pay for injuries to you, your car, or your passengers.

Here's the minimum amount of liability coverage you need in California—whether you live in Imperial Beach or Del Norte County: 

  • $15,000 for the death or injury of one person in one accident
  • $30,000 for the death or injury of two or more people—to be divided amongst all the victims
  • $5,000 for damage you cause to property belonging to others, such as a car, tree, or fence

Rules of the Road in California

To make sure you and other motorists are safe on the road—from Fresno to Fremont and from Carlsbad to Calabasas—keep these rules in mind:

  • Everyone in a moving vehicle must wear a seatbelt.
  • Every motorcyclist must wear a helmet.
  • No one is permitted to write, send, or read text messages while driving.
  • All drivers must use a hands-free device when speaking on a cellphone.
  • At least two people must be in a vehicle for it to travel in the carpool lane (in most cases). In some areas, fines for breaking this rule are close to $400.
  • Drivers must use headlights 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • Drivers with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.8% or more are breaking the law.
  • Drivers and their passengers can't use marijuana or marijuana-related products in a moving car.

Get affordable California car insurance from Direct Auto Insurance Agency (CA license #0K60659) online or over the phone. The Direct Auto Insurance brand is also used by certain insurance company affiliates in the National General Insurance Group. Call 1-877-GO-DIRECT today to see how affordable your auto insurance coverage could be with an insurance company that believes in second chances and getting you back on the road.

California Auto Insurance Laws