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Don’t settle for minimum: Car insurance coverage in California

May 1, 2024 | Auto Insurance

California, the land of sunshine and road trips, requires all drivers to carry car insurance. But with so many options and confusing terms, navigating the world of auto insurance can be overwhelming.

This is why it can help to have a breakdown of the minimum coverage required by the state. It can also help to explore what’s actually recommended for drivers to feel truly secure on the road.

The bare minimum: California’s required coverage

The state mandates a baseline level of coverage known as 15/30/5 liability. This translates to:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person: This covers medical expenses for someone injured in an accident you cause, up to $15,000 per person.
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident: This covers total medical expenses for all people injured in an accident you cause, up to a maximum of $30,000.
  • $5,000 property damage liability: This covers repairs to property damaged in an accident you cause, up to $5,000.

While this meets the legal requirement, it’s important to understand that these are minimums, and they may leave you financially exposed in many situations.

Minimum coverage might not be enough

The Golden State’s bustling streets and highways can be unpredictable. For this reason, the state minimum might not be enough protection. Therefore, for comprehensive protection, going beyond the minimum is crucial.

  • Higher liability limits: Consider increasing your bodily injury liability coverage to at least 50/100/25,000. This provides significantly more financial protection in case of a serious accident.
  • Collision coverage: This covers repairs to your own vehicle, regardless of fault. While not mandatory, it’s essential if your car has a loan or lease.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM): This protects you if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance (UM) or not enough insurance (UIM) to cover your damages. The Golden State recommends UM/UIM coverage of at least 15/30/25,000.

The higher your coverage limits, the more financial protection you have.

While the state minimum gets you on the road legally, it might not be enough to safeguard your finances in the event of an accident. By understanding the limitations of minimum coverage and opting for recommended levels of liability, collision and UM/UIM coverage, you can navigate the roads with greater peace of mind. Remember, car insurance is an investment in your financial security – don’t settle for the bare minimum.