California Vehicle Code § 16056 VC requires motor vehicles registered in the state to carry liability insurance for minimum coverage of:
- $15,000 for bodily injury of one person,
- $30,000 for bodily injury or more than two people, and
- $5,000 for property damage to others.
The full language of the statute reads:
16056. (a) No policy or bond shall be effective under Section 16054 unless issued by an insurance company or surety company admitted to do business in this state by the Insurance Commissioner, except as provided in subdivision (b) of this section, nor unless the policy or bond is subject, if the accident has resulted in bodily injury or death, to a limit, exclusive of interest and costs, of not less than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to that limit for one person, to a limit of not less than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and, if the accident has resulted in injury to, or destruction of property, to a limit of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
(b) No policy or bond shall be effective under Section 16054 with respect to any vehicle which was not registered in this state or was a vehicle which was registered elsewhere than in this state at the effective date of the policy or bond or the most recent renewal thereof, unless the insurance company or surety company issuing the policy or bond is admitted to do business in this state, or if the company is not admitted to do business in this state, unless it executes a power of attorney authorizing the department to accept service on its behalf of notice or process in any action upon the policy or bond arising out of an accident mentioned in subdivision (a).
(c) Any nonresident driver whose driving privilege has been suspended or revoked based upon an action that requires proof of financial responsibility may, in lieu of providing a certificate of insurance from a company admitted to do business in California, provide a written certificate of proof of financial responsibility that is satisfactory to the department, covers the operation of a vehicle in this state, meets the liability requirements of this section, and is from a company that is admitted to do business in that person’s state of residence.
(d) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.
California Vehicle Code 16056 VC sets the minimum required car insurance coverage at:
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident;
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people in an accident; and
- $5,000 for injury of or destruction to other people’s property in an accident.1
If your vehicle is registered in another state, you may still drive in California as long as it is insured by a company admitted to do business in California (which most reputable insurance companies are).
Example: Ned’s car is registered and insured in Nevada through State Farm. He is allowed to drive in California since State Farm can do business there as well.
Driving without insurance in California is an infraction carrying a $900 fine. A subsequent violation in three years carries about $1,200 in fines.
The court will usually dismiss the case and impose only a $25 fee if you can show you had insurance at the time you were pulled over. Alternatively, prosecutors may be willing to lower the fine if you get insurance shortly after the incident.2
- California Vehicle Code 16056 VC – Requirements of policy or bond. See also Barickman v. Mercury Casualty Co. (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 2016) 2 Cal. App. 5th 508; Dominguez v. Financial Indemnity Co. (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 2010), 183 Cal. App. 4th 388.
- Vehicle Code 16028 VC.