How Does Car Insurance Work in California?


Whenever you move to a new state, it’s important to familiarize yourself with any rules, restrictions, laws, and regulations governing your new home. In America, many laws can differ across state lines. Something legal where you came from could land you in big trouble in California, and vice versa. It’s not all about what may land you in jail and what is now legally acceptable. 

There are also simple rules of the road to follow, including what insurance is now required for driving. In this blog, we will guide you through how car insurance works and the insurance policies required in California.

How California Car Insurance Laws Work?

car insurance laws

In California, like most other states, a basic form of liability auto insurance is mandatory for anyone that wishes to drive on public roads. You must have this minimum insurance level to operate your vehicle legally and safely. As long as you meet the minimum requirements, you are allowed to drive in California.

To have insurance on your vehicle and comply with state law, you must purchase liability insurance from an approved insurance company. Liability auto insurance covers medical expenses, property damage, and costs associated with any personal injury you may cause during an accident. The minimum coverage is $15,000 per person, $30,000 for all persons injured in a single accident, and $5,000 for property damage.

Your new insurance needs may be different from the state you just left. Virtually every state requires drivers to have some form of car insurance and also sets minimum amounts. They’re not all the same, though. California requires drivers to carry at least the following auto insurance coverages:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
  • Property damage liability coverage: $5,000 minimum
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
  • Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: $3,500 minimum

Car Insurance Policies Required in California

car insurance

In California, all drivers are legally required to carry the minimum liability insurance coverage listed above. This includes bodily injury and property damage coverage and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP is a type of no-fault insurance that pays for medical expenses and lost wages if you are injured in an accident, regardless of who was at fault.

In addition to the standard liability car insurance, California also mandates uninsured motorist coverage (UM). This type of insurance covers you if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. You can purchase higher levels of UM coverage if you want more protection.

Lastly, all drivers in California are required to carry collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for damages resulting from an accident with another vehicle, while comprehensive coverage pays for damage caused by anything other than a collision, such as theft or vandalism.

Does Insurance Follow the Car or Driver in California?


In California, it is generally accepted that insurance follows the car. However, there are exceptions to this rule; thus, if you plan on temporarily transferring your vehicle or borrowing one from a family member or friend, reviewing your respective policies in advance is highly recommended.

It can be difficult to ascertain whether insurance follows the car or the driver; however, there is a universal answer. If you have permission to operate the vehicle from its owner, their policy will cover damages and injuries regardless of who is driving it. So no matter your situation, you can get comprehensive coverage with just one policy!

Get Your Car Insurance with Pronto


In California, car insurance is a must. All drivers need liability coverage and some form of uninsured motorist protection to legally drive on the roads. Additionally, collision and comprehensive coverages are also required for most vehicles.

When you’re shopping for car insurance, be sure to get a quote from Pronto Insurance. We’re confident you will see that our coverage is affordable and offers you the protection you need. Get in touch with our team today!

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