Driving without auto insurance in California

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Driving without auto insurance in California

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Driving without auto insurance in California can cause many personal and financial problems, depending on the circumstances. At the least, you’ll incur fines. More serious penalties include losing your license and having to carry SR22 insurance for several years. Causing an accident when you’re uninsured can lead to serious financial consequences if the other parties involved sue you.

Driving without auto insurance in California is risky and illegal. You can end up losing your driver’s license if an officer pulls you over and you can’t provide proof of insurance. If you drive uninsured and are at fault in an accident, the state will suspend your license.

The minimum coverage requirement is 15/30/5 in California, which applies whether you own a vehicle or not.

  • $15,000 bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 property damage

Penalties for uninsured driving

Penalties for driving without insurance in California can result in a chain of events.

  • Depending on the situation, the state may impound your vehicle. Getting your car back requires that you show proof of insurance and pay towing and storage charges. The daily storage charges can get very expensive the longer your vehicle remains impounded.
  • You’ll have to pay a fine between $100-$200 for a first offense and $200-$500 for subsequent violations, on top of impound fees.
  • If the violation results in the loss of your driver’s license, you’ll need to buy SR22 insurance. You’ll have to for this high-risk insurance for 1-3 years or longer.
  • Even if you’re not at fault in an accident, you can lose your driving privileges if you can’t show proof of insurance.
  • If you’re uninsured and cause an accident, all injuries and damage to other vehicles and public property are your responsibility. When you don’t carry liability insurance, the other party or parties involved can sue you to recover their medical costs and financial loss. As a result of legal action, you can lose any assets you own.

Q&A: Driving without auto insurance in California

Below are a few common questions our customers ask about uninsured driving.

Q: If an uninsured driver hits an insured driver, can the insured driver file a claim?
A: You can file a claim if you have either full coverage OR liability insurance with an endorsement for uninsured motorist property damage. However, your insurance rate may go up. If you have liability-only coverage, you cannot file a claim. Instead, you will have to take legal action to recover your loss.

Q: What happens if I drive an uninsured borrowed car, and another driver hits me?
A: Unfortunately, the accident will go against your record, even if you’re not at fault. This scenario is one of the most common reasons for driver’s license suspensions. It’s your responsibility to determine that the vehicle owner carries insurance on their vehicle. Current proof of insurance and vehicle registration should be in the glove compartment to present to an officer.

Q: Can you go to jail for not having car insurance in California?
A: No, unless other circumstances such as California DUI, DWI, or reckless driving are involved.

How to get started

If you need advice or assistance after driving without auto insurance in California, count on the specialists at UltraCar Insurance. We specialize in California SR22 insurance for vehicle owners and California non-owner SR22 insurance if you don’t own a car. Get in touch with us today!

This article was last updated on May 6th, 2023 by