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Auto Insurance Requirements in California

By Lisa LeeJanuary 24, 2024April 24th, 2024No Comments

California, (like many other states) has minimum insurance requirements which must be made before you can operate a vehicle legally. Under state law, you are required to have automobile insurance, and if you don’t, there are penalties for not having the minimum amount.

The way that almost all accident-related injuries are compensated is through liability insurance. Since California is an at fault state, the insurance company of the person whose negligence caused the accident is responsible for paying for the injured party’s damages; this is the reason that California requires auto insurance minimums.

Minimum California Car Insurance Coverage

You must have at least one of these in California:

  • For bodily injury: You need coverage for $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident minimum liability
  • For property damage liability: $5,000
  • For bodily injury for uninsured motorist coverage: $15,000 and $30,000 per accident minimum liability 

Getting Insurance to Protect Yourself if You’re at Fault

For most people, getting the minimum amount of car insurance isn’t enough. It’s ideal that you carry insurance that is double the amount of your own personal assets. Obviously, this isn’t practical for a lot of people, so a general rule of thumb is to buy as much insurance as you can to protect yourself and someone else from injury. If you do this, then if you’re in a collision where you’re at fault and the other person is severely injured, you will have enough liability insurance to not only ensure that they will get the health care that they need, but also that you’re free from personal liability. This means that you won’t have to go out of pocket to pay the other party’s claim because you would have enough liability insurance that would cover the injuries.

Getting Insurance to Protect Yourself if Someone Else is at Fault

If the scenario is such that you are injured in an accident that you’ve caused or if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, then there are three types of coverage that are significant for you.

  1. Medical Payments Coverage: Although medical payments coverage isn’t required by the state, it is still a good idea to purchase it. This type of coverage pays for your injuries in a crash, in addition to injuries to any of your passengers, regardless of fault.
  2. Collision Coverage: This type of coverage is similar to medical payments coverage because it doesn’t matter who is at fault. It pays for damages to your vehicle if you’re in a collision with another vehicle or an object. The payment is based on the market value of your vehicle.
  3. Uninsured Motorist Insurance: This type of coverage will pay for property damage and injuries when the driver who was at fault is either underinsured or noninsured.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney

For many, meeting the minimum of the auto insurance requirements in California just aren’t enough. Things can get complicated when you’re hurt in an accident and you need compensation for your injuries. Act in your best interests and discuss these issues with a skilled personal injury attorney. A Walton Law personal injury lawyer will break down your claim and let you know where you stand. Contact us today to begin.