Proving Your Financial Responsibility as a California Driver
Drivers in the state of California are required to prove their financial responsibility for any vehicular accident, damages and injuries they might be involved in—regardless of fault. The most common proof of financial responsibility is simply carrying the state minimum (or higher) level of motor vehicle liability insurance. Other forms of financial responsibility proof include:
- A surety bond of $35,000 issued from a company licensed for business in the state of California
- A cash deposit of $35,000 with the DMV
- A DMV-issued certificate of self-insurance
Assuming you’re like the vast majority of drivers in the state and plan on proving your financial responsibility by taking out a liability insurance policy, you’ll want to know the minimum amounts of coverage the state requires. These are:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
- $5,000 for damage to property.
Note: You’ll want to be sure to purchase enough liability coverage beyond the state minimum amounts in order to ensure your personal assets are well-protected. Also: Comprehensive and collision coverages don’t constitute proof of financial responsibility, though for many drivers those coverages are essential as well.
When Will You Be Required to Demonstrate Proof?
The state requires you to carry evidence of your financial responsibility in your vehicle at all times. You’ll also need to prove your financial responsibility in these situations:
- If requested to do so by a police officer
- Upon renewal of your vehicle’s registration (if requested)
- In the event the vehicle is involved in a traffic accident
- Within no more than 30 days of obtaining a registration card for a newly acquired vehicle
- Within no more than 45 days of a cancellation of your vehicle’s current liability policy
Consequences of Failing to Acquire Proof
The state enforces harsh penalties on drivers with no evidence of their financial responsibility. We’ve outlined the consequences below.
- You could have your driving privileges suspended: If you get involved in an accident and fail to show proof, you’ll most likely have your license taken away for a year.
- Your registration could get suspended: As of 2006, the DMV has the right to revoke your auto’s registration if no proof of financial responsibility has been properly demonstrated.
- You could get a hefty ticket: If a police officer determines you have no evidence of financial responsibility, you could be fined more than $1000.
- Your car could be towed and impounded: You’ll have to pay hefty fee to regain possession of your car—in addition to any additional fees you’re sure to incur.
- You could be held personally liable for damages:If you even partially contribute to the cause of an accident and fail to provide proof of financial responsibility, you may be forced to compensate the other party for injuries or damages.
Need to purchase liability insurance to comply with the financial responsibility laws? Give us a call now (800) 800-3828.