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Getting auto insurance in California isn’t just a safeguard, but a requirement as well. While there are many insurance providers to choose from both online or offline, you must be aware of your rights, limitations, liabilities, and responsibilities as you drive the streets within California. Unaware drivers are the most apt to endure penalties of one form or another, and you don’t want that to be you! 4dmv.com will ensure that you are well aware of California’s insurance regulations, limitations, and responsibilities for all drivers—as well as where you can get your auto insurance for a low cost today.

California Insurance Facts

  • As of 1/1/2006, all private use vehicle insurance policy status must be reported to the DMV by the insurance provider promptly for use within DMV procedures.
  • As of 1/1/2006, all private use vehicle insurance policy status and information is available for viewing by law enforcement and court personnel for the purposes of identifying and verifying insurance status of drivers in civil and criminal, as well as all other DMV related matters.
  • As of 10/1/2006, all private use vehicle insurance liability policies cancelled will result in registration suspension of vehicle until required California liability insurance policy is reinstated or renewed. If any false information is provided, registration is also subject to suspension.
  • A verifiable and qualified proof of California required liability insurance is required to be held at all times.

California Driver Insurance Requirements

California drivers are bound by insurance requirements within the state before they can lawfully drive on the streets. While this typically includes liability insurance policy requirements, this can also include proof of financial responsibility instead, which could pertain to a variety of methods.

Proving Financial Responsibility in California

California drivers with a vehicle that is operated or parked within California state streets must at all times have proof of financial responsibility at the following times:

  • When requested by California state law enforcement officers
  • During renewal of vehicle registration process
  • If your vehicle is at any time involved in a traffic collision of any severity

There are several ways to proof financial responsibility that are accepted within California streets:

  • Document or identification card issued from insurance company certifying that you hold current liability insurance that meets California standards
  • DMV authorization letter of cash deposit, which should be a minimum of $35,000, or self-insured policy
  • (SR-22) Proof of insurance certification of broad coverage or an owner’s policy
  • Evidence of California Government Code 811.2 qualified owned or leased public entity vehicle
  • Notification of Alternative Forms of Financial Responsibility, REG 5085, for commercial or business insurance policies during registration for the first time, found online. After you have completed the form, you must attach a valid copy of current coverage to:

DMV—Vehicle Insurance Program Unit (VIP Unit)
Mail Station N305
P.O. Box 997408
Sacramento, CA 95899-7408

  • Evidence of vehicle insurance on file with the California Public Utilities Commission or with DMV CVC34630 through Statement of Facts, REG 256, found online.
  • Surety bond with licensed California bonding company to verify financial responsibility in the state.

For any help with purchasing or finding the appropriate auto insurance within California, there is a toll-free consumer help line that is available at all times at 1-800-927-4357. If you aren’t sure what constitutes as proof of financial responsibility and what does not, you can call this number for instant information and help regarding your insurance matters.

Private Passenger Vehicle Liability Insurance Requirements for California Drivers

While the above mentioned options for proving financial responsibility can prove to be a way out of auto insurance policies, there are many drivers that just find liability insurance more logical for their means. In the state of California, you will find that there are specific requirements for liability insurance policies held on private use vehicles for drivers in the state. These requirements are the bare minimal auto insurance that should be maintained for the better safety of other drivers on the road, in case of any type of collisions that may occur.

  • Injury or Death of One Person minimum liability $15,000
  • Injury or Death of More than One Person minimum liability $30,000
  • Property Damage minimum liability $5,000

This compensation is provided to the other drivers of any collisions you are involved in, and will not cover your damages or injury. It is important to note that the state of California does not accept collision insurance for meeting California state insurance requirements.

Evidence of a current liability insurance policy is not required for the following vehicles:

  • Government or public utility registered vehicles
  • Vehicles that have been registered under PNO status (Planned Non-Operation)
  • Off Road Vehicles
  • Special Equipment Based Vehicles
  • Utility and Haul Trailers

Shopping around and obtaining quote comparisons for free is the consumer’s secret to finding a reliable and adequate auto insurance policy, which should be done with the California requirements in mind. While there is only a requirement established for liability insurance coverage, there are many other types of policies you may decide to choose from several various providers.

If you aren’t aware of your coverage options, you can use www.insurance.ca.gov as a guide for determining your needs and the companies that can meet these needs. You can get the needed consumer information on how and where to obtain the right insurance policy for you and why you need such insurance policies.

Reporting of Insurance Status Electronically

Once you have obtained the required liability coverage for your private-use vehicle, your insurance provider will instantly and electronically transmit the status of your policy to the California DMV. While this is not your responsibility, it is your responsibility to ensure that the policy is maintained properly to ensure that you don’t face possible registration suspension in the event that your policy is cancelled.

Penalties in the Event that Your Liability Coverage is Cancelled

One of your biggest responsibilities with auto insurance coverage on your private-use vehicle is to ensure that the policy you hold is maintained at all times. Failure to do so can carry penalties that will affect your ability to drive legally within the state of California.

Registration suspension is possible for a variety of reasons; all which you must ensure don’t happen to you.

  • Lapse in minimum required liability auto coverage for more than 45 days
  • Failure of insurance company to report liability coverage of first-time registered personal-use vehicle within 30 days
  • Submission of false insurance coverage information

If you don’t carry your proof of financial responsibility at all times, you could end up with a traffic ticket that holds a $1,000 or higher fine. If officers request this information, it should be available at all times. In the event that you do receive a traffic ticket, you will have to report to court in order to adequately rectify the issue, whether you have financial responsibility evidence or not.

  • Any financial damage that is incurred during an automotive accident you are determined to have caused or had a part in causing can become your financial responsibility if you aren’t carrying the evidence of financial responsibility with you, or if you haven’t obtained the appropriate evidence.
  • The California DMV does not provide any type of vehicular financial responsibility services, which are directed instead to the Vehicle Registration Financial Responsibility Program, which you can reach at the toll free number: 1-866-664-4545 to obtain the information, forms, and services that you require.


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