In California, auto insurance is mandatory and mandated by the California Insurance Code (§11580.1b). Simply having comprehensive and collision insurance coverage on a vehicle in California is not enough to meet the minimum requirements. All vehicles at a minimum are required to have liability insurance with the following limits:
● $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
● $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
● $5,000 for damage to property.
Coverage of a vehicle is reported by the insurance agency to the state of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If your policy is canceled by the insurance provider, you must notify the DMV within 45 days of the new policy number and insurance provider.
If you’re planning to cancel your policy, you’re required to contact the DMV first to prevent the registration of the vehicle from being suspended. Should the vehicle no longer be in use on the roadway, the insured can file an Affidavit of Non-Use (ANU) REG 5090 form.
This form allows the insured to cancel the insurance policy. However, ANU does not provide an exception to registration. The registration of the non-insured vehicle must be renewed in a timely manner.
Sample of Annual California Auto Insurance Rates
Los Angeles Auto Insurance
Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world. Famous for Hollywood, Los Angeles is home to many popular celebrities. It is the largest city in California and the second-largest in the country with a diverse population of 3.8 million people.
In Los Angeles, driving is the most popular mode of transportation. But the City of Angeles suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. Interstate 5 runs south to Mexico and north toward Canada, while Interest 10 runs east toward Florida.
San Diego Auto Insurance
San Diego is a popular tourist destination that is home to Sea World, LEGOLAND, and one of the top zoos in the country. The coastal city features white-sand beaches and comfortable weather year-round. It is the second-largest city in the Golden State with a population of nearly 1.4 million people.
In San Diego, driving is the primary mode of transportation. Interstate 5 connects the border town to Mexico and also runs north to Los Angeles. To the east, Interstate 8 runs toward Arizona, while Interstate 15 connects with Las Vegas. The city is also a popular destination for cyclists.
San Francisco Auto Insurance
San Francisco makes up another part of the Silicon Valley, featuring some of the world's top technology companies, including Twitter, Uber and Airbnb. The city is known for its high cost-of-living compared to other U.S. cities. It was at the center of the California Gold Rush of 1849, and helped shape the gay rights movement in more recent decades. It is the fourth-largest city in California, but has the second-most dense population in the country with more than 860,000 residents.
In San Francisco, drivers and cyclists must climb steep hills, and fight through heavy fog that often contributes to poor visibility. About one-third of the city's residents rely on public transportation, including the world-famous trolley system. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge connect the peninsula to the rest of the state.
California City Auto Insurance
California City is a rural town with a population of just more than 14,000 people. But measured by land size, it is the third-largest city in the state. California City is famous for hosting a PGA golf course.
California City Boulevard is the main street downtown that runs into the central park. On the outskirts of town, Highway 14 runs south toward Los Angeles, while Highway 58 runs west to Bakersfield. It is not too far from Sequoia National Park and a three-hour drive from Death Valley National Park, which lies along the California-Nevada border.
San Jose Auto Insurance
San Jose is known as the capital of the Silicon Valley, because of the role is plays in shaping the technology sector. PayPal and eBay are headquartered in San Jose. It is the third-largest city in California with a population of more than 1 million people.
In San Jose, U.S. 101 connects the city with San Francisco to the north and Los Angeles to the south. Caltrain provides commuter rail service to San Francisco. While light-rail trains are also offered to nearby towns like Mountain View.
Bakersfield Auto Insurance
Bakersfield is the ninth-largest city in California with a population of about 365,000 people. Situated in the San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield is a hotbed for oil production. It is also a big farming community.
In Bakersfield, Truxtun Avenue and California Avenue run parallel through downtown. State Route 99 runs south toward Los Angeles and north to Fresno. It connects with Interstate 5 a few miles outside of the city. It's a short drive from Sequoia National Park. Amtrak also offers train service through Bakersfield.
Fresno Auto Insurance
Fresno is considered the raisin capital of the world, and is one of the nation's top farming communities. Situated in the San Joaquin Valley, Fresno is the fifth-largest city in California with a population of about 520,000 people.
In Fresno, State Route 99 travels north to Sacramento and south toward Bakersfield. Yosemite National Park is a three-hour drive north on State Route 41. Interstate 5 passes around the city.
Sacramento Auto Insurance
Sacramento is the state capital of California. The Big Tomato, as it's known to some people, is also famous for cheeseburgers, almonds and trees. It is the sixth-largest city in the Golden State with a population of nearly 500,000 people.
In Sacramento, Interstate 80 connects drivers with San Francisco to the west and Reno, Nevada to the east. Amtrak also provides 2-and-a-half-hour train service to the San Francisco Bay Area. Sacramento is also considered a bicycle-friendly city.
Palm Springs Auto Insurance
Palm Springs has a population of more than 44,000 people. Situated in the middle of a desert, Palm Springs is a resort town. Popular activities include golfing, tennis, swimming, and horseback riding.
Joshua Tree National Park is less than an hour away to the east on Interstate 10, which also travels west into Los Angeles. Amtrak offers train service through the city.
Fremont Auto Insurance
Fremont is the largest suburb of San Francisco with a population of about 230,000 people. The city has a thriving Afghan-American community.
In Fremont, Interstate 880 connects drivers with San Jose to the south, and Oakland to the north. Fremont Boulevard runs through the central district. The BART, the Bay Area's metro rail system, also connects Fremont with San Francisco and Oakland.
Finding Auto Insurance Resources in California
Residents of California have many resources available at their fingertips for finding information on
insurance requirements and help with auto insurance coverage. The California DMV is a good resource to start with when learning about the requirements and regulations surrounding automobile coverage.
If you need financial assistance with obtaining auto insurance, you can fill out an auto insurance application and submit it to the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program. This program, which is state sponsored, was created to help uninsured low-income drivers.
Eligibility requirements to enter this program include evaluation of household income, driving record, and the vehicle value at time of purchase.
If you’re having a hard time getting any insurance company to insure you, you can seek assistance from the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP). This plan allows those marked as "assigned risk" by insurance companies because of their poor driving rating to obtain automobile insurance with the help of the CAARP. The CAARP puts drivers in touch with an insurance company that will offer insurance to them even though they are a risk.
The state of California also provides a mediation service to drivers that need help resolving a claim with their insurance company. The California Department of Insurance offers this low cost service to any auto policyholder that has comprehensive and collision coverage and needs a mediator to help negotiate a disputed claim.
Tips to Know About California Auto Insurance
If you’re a driver in California, you have a few ways you can save on auto insurance premiums. These include:
● Obtain different auto premium quotes to find the best price and coverage.
● Inquire about discounts for multi-car, airbags, and anti-theft devices.
● Make sure the insurance provider applies the "good driver" discount, which is regulated by Proposition 103. This discount is typically around 20 percent off normal premiums. In order to qualify for the "good driver" discount, you must be licensed for at least three years, have less than one point on your record in a three-year span, and have not been at fault in an accident with s claim of over $1,000.
One of the biggest things drivers in California should be aware of is the legal requirement to carry proof of insurance in the vehicle they are driving at all times. Local and state police officers enforce this law and you can be ticketed and assessed fines for failing to carry proof of insurance. If you have insurance, you may be able to have the fines reduced or dropped by showing proof of insurance in court.
Moving to California: Important Information
If you’re moving to California, you’re required by the DMV to obtain a California driver's license within 10 days of moving. To obtain a license, an appointment must be made with the local DMV office. You will be required to fill out an application, be fingerprinted, show proof of identity (out-of-state license and social security card), take a vision exam, take a written road and sign test, have your photograph taken, and pay a fee.
Out-of-state vehicles must be registered in California within 20 days. To register a vehicle, the following are required:
● All registered owners appearing on the out-of-state registration must fill out and sign an Application for Title or Registration (REG 343).
● Last issued out-of-state title if there is a change in the registered owner.
● Registration certificate or renewal notice for the current year.
● Inspection of the vehicle by an authorized employee of the DMV or a licensed vehicle inspection facility.
● Smog certification and weight certificate, depending on the vehicle.
● Payment of fees and any taxes must be made.
Understand the Driving Laws in California
California has many driving laws that are unique, and may confuse out-of-state drivers and new residents.
One law that is enforced swiftly is the use of a cellphone while driving. Drivers in California are required to use hands-free devices, such as a built-in Bluetooth through the car audio or a Bluetooth earpiece. Texting while driving is also a big no-no. If you’re caught talking directly on a cell phone or texting while driving, you’ll face hefty fines by law enforcement.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI) is unlawful in California and the penalties enforced by California law are some of the strictest in the United States. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you risk jail time, fines, and a suspension of your license. Police will conduct field sobriety tests and request a breathalyzer if they suspect a DUI. While a driver is allowed to refuse the breathalyzer in California, anyone previously convicted of a DUI will be issued jail time for refusal.
How to Get Great Rates on California Auto Insurance
Finding an auto insurance quote can seem overwhelming – but insuranceQuotes.com helps you find the best car insurance policy at the best price. Every year, we match 15 million consumers to the nation’s biggest auto insurance companies, including State Farm, Allstate and Liberty Mutual.
insuranceQuotes.com connects you with local and national insurance companies that give you free car insurance estimates by phone or email within minutes. By comparing multiple quotes, you can be sure that you’re getting the best price for car insurance.
insuranceQuotes.com Auto Rate Methodology
Rates are based on one vehicle and one driver who has state minimum coverage with $500 deductibles. The hypothetical driver is 35 years old, female or male, employed, a college graduate, and has good credit. She has no traffic violations, claims, or lapse in coverage. The vehicle is assumed to be a sedan that is garaged on premises, used primarily for commuting, and driven 16,000 miles per year. Rates include commonly available carrier discounts and are estimates and not guaranteed.