Car Insurance Requirements in California | Ellis Injury Law

California Car Accident Insurance: What to Know After a Crash

March 19, 2021

Ellis Law Corporation

Auto Accident

California adheres to at-fault negligence laws, which means the person or parties responsible for causing a car accident are on the hook for covering property damage repairs, medical costs, and other losses. As such, all vehicle owners are required by law to purchase liability coverage that compensates other motorists, occupants, or pedestrians in the event of a collision.

In the aftermath of a car accident in California, injured parties have three options for seeking restitution:

  • An insurance claim on your personal auto insurance policy (if you purchased personal injury protection, or PIP, or MedPay)
  • An insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party

California’s Liability Insurance Requirements

Under California law, vehicle owners must purchase a minimum liability insurance plan that covers:

  • $15,000 for the injury or death of a person in the accident
  • $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one individual
  • $5,000 for costs to repair property damage caused by the accident

This liability coverage takes effect in accidents where your vehicle was driven by a licensed family member or friend. The majority of plans will also cover accident-related costs up to policy limits if you are driving a rental car in state. If you plan on traveling, it’s best to confirm your out-of-state coverage first, as some states have higher financial responsibility requirements.

The Value of Purchasing Higher Liability Limits

While the minimum requirements for auto insurance may function for minor accidents, higher liability limits can help cover major expenses in the event of a serious car accident. In other words, purchase the best car accident plan that fits within your budget.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in California, but another smart add-on in case you’re in a collision with an uninsured driver or someone whose insurance coverage isn’t sufficient.

Financial Responsibility Law

California wants to ensure that drivers and vehicle owners who cause a traffic accident are held financially responsible for any ensuing losses. The easiest way is by purchasing the minimum liability car auto insurance coverage, but drivers can also fulfill this requirement with a $35,000 surety bond or cash deposit with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or a certificate of self-insurance from the DMV.

Car Accident Lawyers California Trusts

Vehicle accidents can get complicated quickly, particularly when serious injuries are involved and fault is disputed. Ellis Injury Law provides the critical guidance you need after an accident. As an award-winning law firm, we have the experience and resources to protect your rights, establish liability, and pursue the best strategies for financial recovery. To explore your legal options with our Los Angeles car accident lawyers, reach out for a free consultation today.