Does California Law Require Comprehensive Car Insurance?

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Comprehensive Car Insurance According to California Law in San Diego, CA

When shopping for auto insurance, San Diego drivers might easily get confused by all the different names and financial terms. A lot of people hear the term “comprehensive coverage” and assume this is a type of insurance that will cover any situation and meet all of California’s insurance requirements. However, the reality is a little more complex. Here’s what you need to know about California’s laws surrounding comprehensive car insurance.

How Does Comprehensive Coverage Work?

Before getting further into the details of California’s insurance laws, it’s helpful to understand exactly how comprehensive coverage protects your car. This type of insurance is sometimes referred to as “other than collision” insurance. Basically, it covers any damage that happens in situations besides accidents. Usually, this includes theft, vandalism, fire, weather damage, falling trees, animals running into your car, and roadside debris getting kicked up and damaging your car.

What Are California’s Minimum Insurance Coverage Options?

There are four main types of automobile insurance California needs drivers to purchase. First is bodily injury liability coverage, which pays the cost of damages if you harm someone in a wreck. You need $15,000 of coverage per person for both basic bodily injury and uninsured motorist bodily injury liability and $30,000 in liability coverage for accidents with multiple people. You also need property damage insurance that covers the cost of you harming someone’s vehicle or other property. You need at least $5,000 in basic property damage liability insurance and $3,500 in coverage for uninsured motorist property damage. California also gives drivers the opportunity to waive insurance and instead make a deposit of $35,000 with the state DMV to get a self-insurance certificate.

Are You Required to Have Comprehensive Coverage?

All of California’s requirements for car insurance deal with insurance that covers the costs of any harm or damage faced by the other party in an accident. The state doesn’t legislate anything about insurance that’s for your own safety. Therefore, you’re not legally required to get comprehensive coverage for your vehicle if your car is registered in California. The only reason you’d be required to have the coverage is if your lender included the requirement for comprehensive coverage in your car loan.

Can You Satisfy California’s Laws by Getting Comprehensive Coverage?

As you can see, you don’t have to get comprehensive coverage, but you might be wondering if you can just go ahead and get comprehensive coverage and fulfill all your legal requirements for car insurance in California. It turns out this isn’t true. If the only thing you have is comprehensive coverage, you’re not legally allowed to be driving in California. Since comprehensive coverage is only for personal damage you face while not in an accident, it’s not useful for covering damage someone else faces in an accident.

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 619-474-6666 for a free quote.

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