What is Liability Car Insurance in California?
Liability insurance is designed to help pay for injuries and damages caused by a car wreck. It is composed of two parts: bodily injury/death and property damage. Almost every state requires its drivers to carry a state minimum amount of liability car insurance in order to help pay for the tremendous cost of car accidents, and California auto insurance rules are no exception. Liability insurance is considered one of the six most common types of auto insurance.
California drivers must have auto insurance and carry proof of coverage. Law enforcement will request proof of insurance if you are in an accident, stopped for any reason or when renewing your vehicle registration. You’ll also be asked to show it when you have your car inspection every two years. It’s best to keep a copy of your coverage with you at all times.
How Much Does Liability Insurance Coverage in California Cost?
The average annual cost for the state-required minimum liability auto insurance in California is $575. This is about the same as the national average for minimum coverage, which is $565. To find the cheapest liability car insurance in California, you can start with that base rate and add in some car insurance discounts to get a lower premium.
Insurance premiums are decided by underwriters. They take into account many individual factors such as: age and driving history. Younger drivers and drivers who have been convicted of DUI in California or other egregious behaviors are considered risky bets and so will pay for high-risk car insurance, which is considerably more expensive.
At Freeway Insurance, we are experienced in finding affordable car insurance for everybody, regardless of your driving record.
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What Are the Minimum Liability Auto Insurance Requirements in California?
Liability coverage in the state of California is 15/30/5. This means that drivers must have coverage that meets or exceeds:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
- $5,000 for property damage
Drivers receive penalties for driving without insurance in California and other states across the country. For first-time offenders, penalties from $100-$200 will be applied, along with additional fees that could total $450. Second-time offenders may face fines from $200-$500, again with other possible penalties. If you do not prove you have insurance, your vehicle’s registration will be suspended.
California also requires drivers convicted of being involved in an accident while uninsured to file an SR-22 certificate in California. An SR-22 certificate is filed on your behalf by your insurance company and lets the state know you have at least the minimum required amount of car insurance. Being required to file an SR-22 raises red flags with insurance companies and they will often charge more for your insurance because you are now in a category of risky drivers. Some insurance companies will not handle SR-22 insurance.
Insurance companies are required to report in real time the status of all new, cancelled and lapsed policies to the California DMV.
At Freeway Insurance, we’ll help you find car insurance that won’t break the bank so you don’t run the risk of having to drive without insurance.
How Does Liability Insurance Pay Out in California?
California is an at-fault state. That simply means that if you cause a car accident, your liability insurance will help pay for the injuries and damages of other drivers and passengers. If someone else causes an accident, their liability insurance will help pay for your injuries and vehicle repairs.
Liability insurance is composed of two parts: bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability insurance. The first part will help pay for injuries and even death of other people if you are at fault. The second part will help pay for the necessary repairs to other vehicles, again if you are at fault. Let’s take a deeper look.
If you’ve caused an accident, you’ll pay your deductible and then your insurance will kick in. If you have the minimum amount of liability, your insurance company will pay $15,000 for one person’s injuries and $30,000 if two or more people are injured. The insurance company will also kick in $5,000 for property damage, minus your deductible.
Depending on the severity of the accident, hospital and repair bills may easily be more than your minimum liability. That means you’ll not only be responsible for your own injuries and damages, but anything over your liability limits for the other people’s costs. If your liability is not enough to cover someone’s injuries and damages, you can be sued and may lose your assets. You can increase your liability limits – some insurance companies set a cap at $300,000 or $500,000 for bodily injury/death liability.
Your liability insurance will not pay a penny for your own costs if you are determined to be at fault in a wreck.
Let Freeway agents work with you to find the cheapest auto insurance available – even if you have a problem driving record.
Is the Minimum Liability Car Insurance in California Enough Protection?
No. Even if you are absolutely sure that you will never be at fault for an accident, what happens if you get hit by a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your injuries and repairs – or worse yet, an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run driver? California is 10th on the list for the most uninsured drivers in the U.S.
So, on the one hand, if you cause an accident – with today’s hospital and repair shop costs, you may be left financially vulnerable with just the minimum limits.
On the other hand, if you are the victim of an accident, you can add valuable protections, such as uninsured motorist coverage, to your policy. With a relatively inexpensive price tag, this type of security is definitely worth it.
Many drivers choose to carry what is known as full coverage car insurance. This insurance consists of liability, collision car insurance and comprehensive auto insurance. Collision will help pay for your vehicle repairs after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive pays for vehicle damage from other sources than a car wreck.
Other coverages in California can help with medical costs associated with car wrecks, including MedPay. Medical Payment insurance is another fairly cheap insurance addition that can go a long way if you are injured in a crash.
Many California drivers struggle with the cost of insurance premiums. But the benefits far outweigh the consequences of driving uninsured.
How Much Auto Liability Coverage Do I Need in California?
As you can see from reading the above, you should seriously consider getting more than the minimum car insurance in California.
To determine how much car insurance coverage you need, consider the following:
- What are the associated costs if you’re held liable for the other driver’s car repairs or property damages and your liability is not enough? What are your assets worth, such as your house?
- If there are bodily injuries or even death, will you have enough coverage?
- What would it cost to repair or replace your car?
- Will you be able to cover your medical bills? Does your health insurance cover car accident injuries?
- If you have to be out of work, how much will you lose in the way of salary?
The decision of how much car insurance you need in California is a personal one. Be sure to ask for the advice of professionals when considering car insurance options.
Get an Online Custom Liability Auto Insurance Quote in California Today!
Insurance is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and other drivers while on the road. More than just a legal requirement, great coverage from Freeway will keep you from being held responsible for costly medical and car repair expenses should you be involved in an accident. Get started with a car insurance quote online, visit us at a California office near you, or call us at 800-777-5620 for a quote.