Insurance Requirements

Car

Insurance (also referred to as financial responsibility) is required on all vehicles operated or parked on California roads.

You must carry evidence of insurance in your vehicle at all times and it must be provided when:

  • Requested by law enforcement.
  • You are renewing the vehicle registration.
  • The vehicle is involved in a traffic collision.

Types of Insurance

Here are the types of acceptable insurance:

  • Motor vehicle liability insurance policy.
  • Cash deposit of $35,000 with DMV.
  • DMV-issued self-insurance certificate.
  • Surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California.

For information regarding cash deposits or self-insurance, contact DMV Financial Responsibility Unit at (916) 657-6520.

To locate a company that issues surety bonds, contact the Department of Insurance at insurance.ca.gov or by calling 1-800-927-4357.

Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements for Private Passenger Vehicles

Here are the minimum liability insurance requirements (per California Insurance Code §11580.1b):

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

Liability insurance compensates a person other than the policy holder for personal injury or property damage.

Comprehensive or collision insurance does not meet vehicle financial responsibility requirements.

Insurance Companies that Electronically Report to DMV

Insurance companies in California are required by law (California Vehicle Code [CVC] §16058) to electronically report private-use vehicle insurance information to DMV. Insurance companies are exempt from electronically reporting insurance information for vehicles covered by commercial or business insurance policies.

Vehicle Registration Suspensions

If DMV does not receive proof of insurance for a vehicle, we will suspend the vehicle’s registration and the vehicle may not be operated or parked on public roadways until proof of insurance is submitted. 

Learn more about vehicle registration suspensions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you cannot afford liability insurance, you may be eligible for the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program. Additional information is available at mylowcostauto.com or by calling 1-866-602-8861.

DMV may ask you to submit additional insurance information, such as:

  • A document or identification card from your insurance company.
  • A DMV authorization letter, if you are a cash depositor or are self-insured.
  • California Proof of Insurance Certificate (SR 22) form for broad coverage or owner’s policy.
  • Evidence that the vehicle is owned or leased by a public entity defined in California Government Code §811.2.
  • A Notification of Alternative Forms of Financial Responsibility (REG 5085) for a vehicle covered by commercial or business policies and being registered for the first time.
  • A Statement of Facts (REG 256) certifying the motor carrier has evidence of insurance on file with the Public Utilities Commission or DMV pursuant to CVC §34630.

Yes. To prevent a vehicle registration suspension, you must notify DMV before you cancel your insurance. If you are not operating your currently registered vehicle, and it is not parked on a California roadway, you may submit an Affidavit of Non-Use (ANU) (REG 5090) to DMV.

After filing the ANU, the vehicle’s insurance may be cancelled. However, if the vehicle is still not in use when registration renewal fees are due, you must pay renewal fees or request the vehicle be placed on planned non-operation (PNO) status. You are not eligible to file an ANU once the registration expires.