Can You Go to Jail for Driving without Insurance in California?
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Legal Consequences of Driving in California without Insurance

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Driving without car insurance is against the law in California. Anyone caught doing so can face serious penalties. But can you go to jail for driving without insurance in the Golden State? The insurance experts from Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of auto insurance Chula Vista drivers rely on for high-quality service and affordable coverage, take a look at the legal consequences for California drivers who don’t have insurance.

California Car Insurance Laws

Driving without car insurance is against the law in most states, including California. However, you can’t just choose any policy. You must make sure your insurance policy meets the state’s 15/30/5 rules. This means you must have at least $15,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage per person, $30,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $5,000 worth of property damage liability coverage. If you don’t have this type of coverage, you could get into serious trouble and cause yourself a great deal of financial harm.

Penalties for Driving without Car Insurance in California

If you drive in California without car insurance, you won’t go to jail, but you could face heavy fines and penalties. The first time a police officer catches you, you’ll likely pay a fine up to $200 plus penalty assessment fees. The second time, you’ll likely pay a fine up to $500 plus even higher assessment fees. Anytime a police officer catches you driving without insurance, you also run the risk of getting your car impounded and losing your driver’s license.

Getting into a Car Accident without Insurance

If you cause a car accident while driving in California without car insurance, you do run the risk of spending time in jail. You’ll also pay fines, and your car can be impounded for a month or longer. You may even have your driver’s license suspended for a year after your first accident. Even if you’re simply involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, if you don’t have car insurance, you could face fines and other penalties.

Proving You Have Car Insurance

Simply having car insurance isn’t enough while driving in California. You must be able to prove you have it anytime a police officer asks you to do so. Your car insurance agency should provide you with a card with the appropriate information that you can keep in your car so it’s available when you’re pulled over or have an accident. Some agencies also offer digital versions through their websites or mobile apps.

Other Reasons to Have Car Insurance

Making sure you follow California’s state car insurance laws is important, but that’s not the only reason you should have car insurance. By purchasing a policy, you’re not just keeping yourself out of legal trouble, but you’re also protecting yourself from financial ruin. If you do cause a car accident that leads to injury, death, or over $750 of property damage, you must report it to law enforcement. If you aren’t insured, you’re responsible for paying for property damage, medical bills, and more out of pocket, and those costs can add up quickly.

Drivers who are searching for reliable, affordable auto insurance should reach out to the experienced professionals at Altra Insurance Services. In addition to auto coverage, we offer a variety of insurance products, including motorcycle, business, and homeowners insurance. Call one of our friendly agents today at (619) 404-6311 for a free quote.

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