Is California Auto Insurance Liability Coverage a Legal Requirement?

For California drivers, having auto insurance liability coverage in force is a legal requirement. The state has determined that bodily injury and property damage liability protection must be purchased for all registered vehicles. Drivers have the option of buying a policy with a higher level of protection than the minimum level required by law if they wish, and this is a good strategy since California is a tort state for car insurance. People who have been injured in an accident have the right to sue to collect damages from the at-fault driver.

The minimum level of bodily injury protection required under state law is $15,000 to pay for injuries suffered by a single accident victim and $30,000 to pay for injuries and damages sustained by two or more people injured in the same accident. The bodily injury portion of the insurance policy also pays a set amount as a funeral benefit if the accident results in one or more fatalities.

Property damage liability insurance coverage of at least $5,000 is also required under state law. This is the part of the policy which pays for the cost of repairing public property damaged in the accident, including fences, sheds, buildings, guard rails and sign posts. It also covers repairs to the other driver’s vehicle following the accident.

Limiting coverage to the minimum level of protection required by law is not the best choice for people on the road in CA. If the damages caused in the accident exceed the level of available protection, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the difference personally.


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