Uninsured drivers in California
According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), 15 percent of California drivers were uninsured in 2009. Though it's not required coverage, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage can come in handy after an accident with an uninsured driver, or in the event of a hit-and-run accident.
Documents verifying proof of insurance
You can use your insurance ID card or your electronic insurance ID card to prove that you carry the mandatory minimums.
Carrying your proof of insurance at all times is legally required. If you're caught driving without proof of car insurance in California, you may be fined $100 to $200 for a first offense. Fines of $200 to $500 may be applied for a second offense occurring within 3 years of the first violation.
Alternative car insurance options
Drivers who can't afford a typical car insurance policy can apply for a state-sponsored policy.
- The California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program for low-income drivers: This program is restricted to California residents with good driving records who meet the program's income restrictions.
- The California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP) for high-risk drivers: If you're having difficulty getting insurance from non-standard insurance companies, this program may be an option. CAARP is specifically designed for high-risk drivers who have been convicted of DUIs or multiple traffic violations.
You can find more info on either type of policy on the California Department of Insurance's site.
The state offers a mediation service to help drivers resolve accident claims with their insurers. A qualified mediator can help you and your insurer resolve any disputes over the specifics of a claim. If you're interested in state-sponsored mediation, visit the California Insurance Claims Mediation Program online.