California Car Insurance Requirements, Law, and Quotes

A hand at the wheel, driving
Reading Time: 3 minutes

There is no debate: all California drivers must carry auto insurance if they get behind the wheel.  Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and, if you’re caught driving without insurance multiple times, your license can even be suspended.

Make sure you know the minimum coverage requirements for California drivers, and always have proof of insurance on hand. Fortunately, it’s easy to compare rates and shop around online to get the best coverage at an affordable price.

The CA auto insurance requirement is dictated by California Vehicle Code Section 16020–16033, stating:

“All drivers and all owners of a motor vehicle shall at all times be able to establish financial responsibility pursuant to Section 16021, and shall at all times carry in the vehicle evidence of the form of financial responsibility in effect for the vehicle.”

This article shares what insurance minimums you must carry.

The article also covers the repercussions of not having it and provides CA insurance quotes if you’re currently shopping for coverage in California.

The California Car Insurance Requirements and Minimums

California requires the following minimum auto insurance coverage:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability Coverage: $5,000
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage: $3,500

Your final insurance needs will depend on your driving history and needs.

What is the Penalty for Driving without Car Insurance in California?

Driving without insurance is a serious offense in the state of California.

The fines and penalties depend on your actions when behind the wheel. This includes minor fines for the first offense to serious repercussions like if you cause a major accident.

For example:

  • Driving without Insurance: You may face a $100 – $200 fine for the 1st offense, gradually increasing to $200 – $500 for the 2nd. Your vehicle may get impounded, too, causing additional costs and troubles.
  • Accidents (Not at Fault): If you cause an accident and don’t have insurance, you can expect your license to get suspended or revoked, regardless of who caused it. Reinstating a suspended license is a tiresome and costly process. Your vehicle may be impounded, too, causing more fees.
  • Accidents (At Fault): Those causing an accident will see the same repercussions noted in the ‘not at fault bullet point plus costs the person’s medical bills and vehicle costs. You may also be at fault for property damage (private and public).

Fines and penalties can go as far as causing jail time and losing your home.

Get and Compare Car Insurance California Quotes and Rates

Whether you just moved to California or you’re a resident, you need auto insurance if you’re getting behind the wheel and on state roads and highways.

The insurance helps protect you from uninsured motorists while providing if you’re the one at fault. Your intent may be finding cheap California auto insurance to cover the state’s minimums. You may decide to upgrade your insurance policy once you’re driving.

Many CA car insurance companies offer good driver discounts lowering their premiums – this also applies to good California students.

Below, you’ll find a list of auto insurance companies in California. Browse the quotes and check the rates to find the best coverage for your budget.


Getting auto insurance is just part of being a responsible driver. Make sure you have the right coverage and save money in California with competitive rates. You can easily find affordable car insurance that meets your needs and fits your budget by using as your go-to source for information about getting insured in California. With our comparison tool, you can quickly compare quotes and get the coverage you need in just a few clicks!