California Car Insurance

Auto Insurance Coverage in California

Cars on a California highwayIf you just moved to California and need auto insurance coverage, or you've been here for a while and are looking for cheap car insurance that doesn't cut corners, you'll be glad you got a quote with GEICO. So, how much is car insurance in California for your ride? You can get a free car insurance quote with GEICO online to find out. California also has some unique car insurance laws that make insuring a vehicle here different than other states, so read on to stay up to speed.

Minimum California Car Insurance Coverage

California requires drivers to carry at least the following auto insurance coverages:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
  • Property damage liability coverage: $5,000 minimum
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage¹: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
  • Uninsured motorist property damage coverage¹: $3,500 minimum

While these are the minimum coverages California requires you to have, everyone's insurance needs are unique. Visit our Coverage Calculator to get a personalized recommendation.

California Car Insurance Laws for New Residents

If you're moving to the state, the California Driver Handbook is a good resource. It's published by the Department of Motor Vehicles. It can provide you with guidance on registering your car, obtaining a California driver's license and important state rules of the road.

Learn more about California auto insurance requirements.

What is the California Deductible Waiver?

  • If you carry collision coverage on your car, then you may be eligible for the California Deductible Waiver. With this waiver, your insurance company will pay the collision deductible on your car if an uninsured driver causes an accident.

California Registration Information

Your vehicle may be subject to California registration from the date of entry. Fees must be paid within 20 days from the date the vehicle entered California to avoid penalties.

You will need to:

  • Complete an Application for Title or Registration (REG 343)
  • Submit your out-of-state registration certificate
  • Submit your out-of-state title (If you have it)
  • Provide evidence of the California Smog Certification
  • Provide an odometer mileage certification (If your vehicle is less than 10 years old)
  • Bring your vehicle to a DMV office for verification of the vehicle's identification number. (For your convenience, we recommend that you schedule an appointment by calling your local DMV.)
  • Pay the fees
  • Commercial vehicles, including pickup trucks, may also require a weight certificate

Existing law imposes a use tax on a vehicle purchased outside of California and brought into California within 12 months of purchase. New legislation effective October 1, 2004 through July 1, 2006 requires payment of use tax on a vehicle purchased outside California and brought into California within 365 days of the purchase date.

What do I do if I get a California Intent to Suspend Registration letter?

  • If the state of California cannot confirm that you have insurance on your vehicle, you may receive a letter stating that they plan to cancel your car's registration. This can happen if the state doesn't have the correct VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on file, if your California (or out of state) insurance coverage has lapsed, or if there's an error in the information that the state of California received.
  • If you are a current GEICO policyholder and the California DMV has informed you that providing proof of insurance is enough, you can easily obtain the documents through our GEICO Mobile app.
  • If you are not a GEICO policyholder and would like to know how much it would be to obtain California car insurance, you can get a quote today.

Car Insurance Discounts in California

CA Good Driver Discount

Couple drivinga car in CaliforniaGood drivers deserve a break, and in California, those who meet certain criteria could receive at least a 20% discount on their auto insurance premium. In California, a Good Driver is one who²:

  1. Has verifiable license experience for at least the previous three years; or
  2. Has been licensed in the United States or Canada for the most recent 18 months, which experience must be verifiable, and certifies the previous 18 months of license experience in any jurisdiction outside of the United States or Canada; and
  3. Has not accrued more than one Department of Motor Vehicles point in the last three years. A point is usually assigned for a vehicle code violation or a "principally at-fault" accident³; and, if the driver was involved in a "principally at-fault" accident, it must not have resulted in injury or death; and
  4. Has not had a conviction during the past ten years for specific driving under the influence (drug or alcohol) related driving offenses or specific felony convictions4.

Speak to one of GEICO's auto insurance agents, if you have any questions.

California Good Student Discount

Teen or young adult drivers in California can qualify for a Good Student Discount, if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have eight years or less of driving experience
  • Are enrolled in a full-time academic home study program, high school, college, or university.
  • Have at least a B average or its equivalent.

Get a quote today to see how much you could save with a Good Student Discount.

California Teen Driving Laws

California teen driverIf you're the parent of a teen who is getting close to the driving age, you and your teen should know that:

  • Before becoming fully licensed, California teen drivers must complete driver training and get a provisional permit, which they must be at least 15½ years of age to obtain.
  • Before applying for a license, drivers in California must be 16 years of age and have had a provisional permit for at least six months.
  • Applicants must then pass the DMV administered driving test before receiving a provisional driver's license.
  • During the first 12 months of the provisional license, they may drive between 5:01 am and 10:59 pm and only transport passengers over age 21. After that provisional period ends they're granted full driving privileges.

Check with your local California DMV for more info on California teen driver rules and laws.

California Driving Resources

Check out how we're making insurance easier in the app with 1 click bill pay, digital ID cards, access to roadside assistance, and more. Download GEICO Mobile today. We make insurance easy.

  1. Uninsured Motorist coverages can be waived.
  2. As defined by CIC § 1861.025
  3. As defined by California Code of Regulations Title 10 § 2632.13
  4. California Vehicle Code, per CIC § 1861.025