California Auto Insurance Basics

Whether you’re driving down the breathtaking Highway 1 or “getting your kicks” on Route 66, driving in California is a wonderful privilege. Yet, each state carries its own unique set of auto insurance requirements, rules and guidelines. Here is everything you need to know about California auto insurance.

Minimum Requirements

According to the California Department of Insurance, you must meet the following minimum auto insurance levels:

  • $15,000 per person for Bodily Injury Liability
  • $30,000 per accident for Bodily Injury Liability
  • $5,000 per accident for Property Damage Liability

If you do not want to pay California auto insurance premiums to buy this much coverage, you have two other options:

1. Visit your local California DMV and leave a cash deposit of $35,000.

2. Visit a California insurance company and obtain a $35,000 insurance company bond.

Teen Drivers

California has a graduated driver’s license program for teen drivers meaning that:

  • A teens may apply for an instructional permit at age 15.5, which says he or she may drive if at least one licensed driver over age 25 is present.
  • Six months later, the teen may apply for a provisional license, which allows driving between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am and transporting passengers only when a parent or guardian is present.
  • By age 18, the teen can then receive a full license without restrictions.

California DUIs

There are stiff penalties for drinking and driving in California.

  • The legal B.A.C. level for California motorists is 0.08 percent (or 0.01 for drivers under age 21).
  • Penalties may include: jail time of 96 hours – 6 months and fines from $1,000 – $1,600.
  • One’s license is typically suspended for 6 months and one must carry an SR-22 license for 3 years.
  • Drivers are required to attend a DUI program and may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device.
  • Second offenses can result in a 2-year license revocation.

 For more information on California auto insurance, you can visit the California Department of Insurance website.

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