Enter your ZIP Code
to get insurance quotes in your area

Car insurance isn't the same in every state

Learn about your state

Wrong zip code

Car Insurance in California

Overview

The Golden State is the populated state in the country, and if you live here it is comforting knowing that you are covered in the case an emergency. It is a simple process with our website, and we have what you need whether you are a new driver of one that has been driving for years. We can help by providing a free quote taking care of all of your car insurance California needs.

California Car Insurance Rates by ZIP Code & City
Enter ZIP for average rate. Then enter Age, Gender and Coverage Level for customized rate.
Wrong zip code

It is important to note that auto insurance is required by law in the state of California. The minimum amount of insurance a driver must hold is liability insurance. For low-income drivers, the state of California has a program, and the state also offers discounts to use for California car insurance.

Most & Least Expensive ZIP Codes in Virginia
Highest Rate:
Lowest Rate:

Shopping around can help you get the most affordable car insurance quotes. Many California insurance companies have to, by requirement, offer you a good driver’s discount if your driver's record is clean. Continue reading to learn more about car insurance rates in the state, as well as laws and programs California provides.

Requirements for Car Insurance

In California, the law auto insurance that can cover the costs related to injuries or damages that are caused by accidents that are your fault. 

Your California auto insurance policy must cover a minimum of $15,000 for Injury/death to one person and $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person. In addition, it must cover a minimum of $5,000 for damage to property.

Other Insurance Coverage

There are many insurance options that go above the coverage requirements for car insurance in California

Collision coverage - In case of a traffic collision, this provides insurance to cover damages to your vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage - For damages that may occur to your car from sources that are not related to traffic accidents, such as theft or falling objects. The California Highway Patrol issued a report in 2011 stating that 156,796 vehicles were stolen. This had an estimated cost of one billion dollars.

Medical and funeral services coverages 

Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage - This covers damages caused by a driver that does not have car insurance or is an underinsured driver. Statistics provided to from the California Department of Insurance (CDI) in 2004 have shown that just over 14 percent of California drivers had no car insurance, so this is something many drivers who live in the state choose to have.

Towing and labor coverage 

Rental Car Coverage

For drivers that are being financed, sometimes lending and leasing companies require that you have collision and comprehensive coverage in the terms of the loan or the lease. Otherwise, the coverages listed above generally optional.

Non-Insurance Financial Responsibility Options

The majority of people utilize auto insurance as their means to take care of financial responsibility requirements, but there are other options as well.

These options include:

  • A $35,000 cash deposit with the California Department of Motor Vehicles
  • A Certificate of Self-Insurance from the DMV
  • A surety bond of $35,000 from any company licensed to do business in California

Proof of Insurance

In order to register your car (or renew your auto registration) you need to prove that you have auto insurance. Cards are issued by the insurance company that provides the policy. The will have a number of informational items on it, including your cars make, model, year, safety rating, and value. It will also have your name and the policy’s expiration date, which shows the end of your insurances term. You need to renew your car insurance policy before it expires to prevent having days that you are not covered.

Each time you renew your policy, a new insurance card will be issued. Additionally, because of a requirement that states that California insurance companies must report your insurance information electronically to the California DMV, they also have a record they can use to verify you are covered.

Because of California’s Vehicle Code states that if you do not have your card, you may be able to access your insurance information on your smartphone. Multiple car insurance carriers have apps that allow you to access your information.

If You Get Pulled Over

There are a few things you will need to have available if you get pulled over, your proof of insurance is one of them. In addition, the officer will ask for your license and car registration.

Fines and Other Penalties

If you are lacking proof of car insurance and get pulled over in the state of California and also lack other forms of financial responsibility as required, you may receive fines. The fines for not having proof of car insurance in California (first offense) are between $100 and $200. They go up to between $200 and $400 for each additional offense within 3 years after your first.

In addition, your registration can be suspended if you do not have proof of insurance. This can also happen if you register your car with false insurance or the DMV is notified of your insurance being canceled and it is not replaced promptly. If this happens you will need to re-register your vehicle in order to legally drive again.

If a driver does not have proof of insurance, the court could impound your vehicle and hold it until you show a proof of insurance as required by law.

Other Notable Auto Insurance Notables

California’s Proposition 103

Proposition 103, passed in 1988, introduced a number of regulations for the California insurance industry.  It was voted in to combat increasing car insurance costs. Companies providing auto insurance were required to cut their rates to 20% of what they were in 1987 (the year before). From that point on, rate changes would need to be approved by the California Department of Insurance.

Due to Prop 103, the law now requires offering a discount of 20% to people considered good drivers. This discount requires companies to look at the last three years of peoples driving records. If the criteria are met, they qualify as a good driver.

In addition, Prop 103 makes it illegal for companies to use your credit history as a factor in determining your insurance rate. 

California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program

If you have a valid California driver’s license, own a car that is valued at less than $25,000, are least 19 years old, and meet the income requirements, you can qualify for California’s Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA). The program was passed in 1999 to help combat the high numbers of low-income drivers that did not have car insurance.

California Automobile Claims Mediation Program

An option available in California if a driver has a dispute with their insurance carrier, the California Auto Claims Mediation Program is one way to settle disputes. A third-party mediator at no extra cost. This program is provided to people that meet the requirements. 

California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan

California has a program to help get all drivers insured as needed. When drivers cannot find an insurance company that will provide insurance to them because of a poor driving record, the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP) will take their application. Each insurance company in California is required to accept a certain amount of CAARP applicants. This amount is determined by what their share of the market is.

Final Words

When looking for best car insurance in California at the best car insurance rates for the driving record you have, it is important to be aware of all of the state's requirements. Most importantly though, get a free quote from us. We are the easiest and best process and are hassle-free, so take advantage!