Do I Need Insurance to Register a Car in California?
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Does California Vehicle Registration Require Insurance?

By 8  am on


Car insurance is a resource that helps you maintain financial responsibility in case you get into an accident. In California, being able to prove you have auto insurance is a requirement for vehicle registration, but there are a few things to know about how this works. Although the insurance requirements vary for private vehicles versus commercial ones, you’ll find that knowing what you need to demonstrate financial responsibility makes it easier to meet this requirement for driving legally on public roads.

Be Prepared to Show Proof of Insurance during Certain Events

The state of California allows for a grace period of up to 30 days to show proof of insurance during the registration process for a new vehicle, yet you might need to demonstrate you have coverage long before that date. Most car dealers require you to show them you have insurance before they’ll let you leave the lot with a car you’ve purchased. You might also need to show proof of car insurance if you’re pulled over by a law enforcement officer or are involved in an accident. By the time your car is up for registration renewal, it’s expected that it will already be covered. Showing proof of insurance is a requirement before you can get a renewal approval.

Know the Liability Requirements for Private Passenger Vehicles

The average owner of a private passenger vehicle will need to carry liability insurance as a minimum requirement. This type of insurance is meant to compensate the other party/parties for vehicle damage and injuries they sustain if you’re responsible for an accident. The minimum requirements for liability insurance in California include at least $5,000 for property damage and $15,000 for injury/death to one person. Keep in mind that carrying more than just liability coverage is beneficial if you’re involved in a major accident.

Understand the Consequences of Allowing Auto Insurance to Lapse

If you fail to produce proof of insurance within the specified time for a new vehicle registration or don’t have it during a renewal, you could receive a registration suspension. This means you cannot operate or park your car on public roads until the issue is resolved. Registration reinstatement is possible once you can produce proof of insurance and go through the process of paying the fee and processing your new information.

Find Ways to Keep Auto Insurance Affordable

After allowing insurance to lapse on a vehicle, you could face rising premium costs. Making sure to continuously keep your vehicle covered is one of the best ways to keep future insurance costs low. You can also maintain affordable insurance by engaging in safe driving practices. Following the law by both keeping insurance and driving within the guidelines helps you demonstrate responsibility as a driver and avoid costly accidents and traffic violations. 

California drivers who are looking for reliable, affordable auto insurance should reach out to the experienced professionals at Altra Insurance Services. In addition to car insurance, we offer a variety of coverage types, including motorcycle, homeowners, and renters insurance. San Diego residents can call one of our friendly agents today at (619) 404-6311 for a free quote.

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