You probably already know that auto liability insurance is required by California state law. But how much insurance are you required to carry? And how exactly do you comply with the law? These are important questions to ask, so that you can be sure that you are completely legal on California roadways.
Liability insurance is intended to compensate someone other than the driver, in the event of a collision. In other words, you must carry liability insurance so that you can pay for medical bills or damages to another vehicle in the event that you cause an accident. The state of California requires all drivers to carry at least the following minimum coverage:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
- $5,000 for damage to property
But what else do you need to know about auto liability insurance? First of all, understand that you must provide proof of insurance coverage during the following events:
- you renew your vehicle registration
- your vehicle is involved in a collision, regardless of whom is at fault
- any other time law enforcement officials request it (such as during routine traffic stops)
Since your proof of auto liability insurance coverage can be requested at any time, always keep the card provided by your insurance company in your vehicle.
Auto insurance companies in California are required by law to report coverage information to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This allows the DMV to monitor coverage rates, and take appropriate action whenever drivers lack liability coverage. For this reason, it isn’t a good idea to cancel your auto liability insurance policy without purchasing a new one. A lack of proper coverage can result in the suspension of your drivers license! If caught driving with a suspended license, you could face even more serious charges.
Also, it isn’t a good idea to count on that proof of insurance card to prevent legal problems. Law enforcement officers have access to the DMV’s records, so the card won’t help you if you’ve since canceled the policy. In other words, a piece of paper isn’t enough; you really do need to maintain auto liability insurance coverage, or face a pretty stiff penalty from the state of California.