California has passed financial responsibility legislation for drivers in that state. You need to be able to show that you have the means to pay for damage caused by your vehicle, whether you or someone else is driving it.
One way you can meet the requirements set out under the law is to buy an auto insurance policy. If you have limited financial means, ask for car insurance quotes for the minimum level of coverage only. In CA, drivers need to have at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single injured person and $30,000 to pay for all injuries and expenses incurred by all accident victims.
The other options available to drivers in CA to prove financial responsibility are to pay a $35,000 deposit to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or to buy a $35,000 surety bond from an insurance company. In a situation where you own a fleet of 25 vehicles or more, you can get a certificate of self-insurance from the DMV.
Most people would find it difficult, if not impossible, to come up with $35,000 to pay to the DMV or to buy a bond. Car insurance in CA is a good buy when you look consider the other options available to show that you have the means to pay for damages after a motor vehicle accident.