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California Auto Insurance

Auto insurance does more than keep you legal while you’re on the road. It can also protect you against tens of thousands of dollars in damages. Like many other states, California requires every car owner to have a certain amount of insurance to protect drivers when accidents do happen.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the idea behind auto insurance is that every driver should be financially responsible for any damages they inflict on others—it’s a responsibility that goes along with the privilege of owning and operating a vehicle.

Minimum Insurance Requirements

Liability, the basic required type of insurance in most states, protects you in case you cause damage to someone else’s property or personal injury while driving. Depending on the policy you choose, liability will pay for damages you inflict up to a certain amount.

California law requires drivers to have a certain amount of liability insurance for different situations:

  • at least $15,000 per person in protection against bodily injury
  • at least $30,000 in protection against bodily injury per accident
  • at least $5,000 in protection against property damage

Other Types of Insurance

Many drivers opt to purchase more insurance than the minimum legal requirement; the most common types are collision and comprehensive.

  • Collision insurance: pays for damage done to your own vehicle in case of a collision with another car.  
  • Comprehensive insurance: pays for damages caused by something other than accidents or neglect. Comprehensive coverage generally includes damages caused by weather, vandalism, or theft.
  • Medical coverage: pays for your medical costs, regardless of fault, whenever you’re in an accident.
  • Personal injury protection: pays medical expenses for the insured driver, no matter whose fault the accident was. It is required in some states, but not in California.
  • Uninsured motorist: pays for your expenses when an uninsured driver causes damage to your vehicle.

Choosing the Right Policy

When you’re trying to decide on a policy, it’s important to know what you’re looking for and to compare your options. Talking to an agent about the different types of coverage offered and available policies is probably the best way to figure out what kind of coverage you should have to meet your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The agent is there to help you, so take advantage of their knowledge to find the policy that’s right for you.

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